In 2011 Konstantin Chakyin released the original Lunokhod watch, and for me it was the most important watch ever from the Russian brand. Not only did the Lunokhod represent a totally original design, (using an ancient form of metal called wootz steel), but it also showed what the brand was capable of while asserting a distinct sense of Russian pride in one fell swoop. We went hands-on with the original Lunokhod watch here. When I think of Konstantin Chakyin, I think of this strange yet cool watch inspired by the Russian Lunokhod rover that traveled to the moon in the 1970s.
In 2012 Konstantin Chaykin followed up with a revision on the original Lunokhod watch called the Lunokhod Prime that you see here. We debuted the Lunokhod Prime in this prior post. I am not discussing intimate details of the design or theme because we’ve already written three previous articles about the Lunokhod collection that you can reference. What is important to discuss is how this watch feels in person, and as time goes on what it means for the brand. Compared to the original Lunokhod, the Prime is offered in 18k gold versus wootz steel. Note that the model we photographed is the prototype and may have a plated versus all-gold case. Though the retail versions are full 18k rose gold.
The purpose of the Lunokhod Prime was to open up the movement and give the piece a more high-end feel. The caliber KL1 04-1 movement was actually altered a bit for this version. The in-house made movement was slightly altered to display the minutes dial using a retrograde hand versus a simple dial. Hours are still told using a large disc and scale at the top of the watch. A sun represents that the time is AM, while a moon is used as the hour indicator when it is PM. In the middle of the dial is the main attraction – a large three-dimensional moon phase indicator.
The Prime uses a half pearl as the moon. A hood covers or retracts from the pearl to show how the phases of the moon change. It is a lovely system and makes for a very appealing moon phase indicator. The movement in the watch is manually wound with 48 hours of power reserve and made up of 346 parts. A sapphire crystal over the dial offers a full view into the movement. Made in-house at Constantin Chaykin’s Moscow facility, the movement has a unique flavor compared to Swiss mechanical movements. There is certainly harmony in the design, and clever mechanics, though it feels less refined than many Swiss movements that are produced using different techniques. This, like many Russian machines, is about appreciating the industrial, versus decorative nature of the machine. In a way, there is a sense of rawness to the movement that the overall Lunokhod theme and case design seem to complement.
Large on the wrist, the Lunokhod Prime is 50mm wide and rather tall. Though the relatively thin case curves and sits nicely on the wrist. It is much more wearable than it looks, and the overall wrist presence is impressive. It is a proud watch made by proud Russian people asserting themselves as a watchmaker during a time of their own personal development. Konstantin Chaykin has the will, and if Moscow will continue to give him the way, the brand could conceivably continue to offer amazingly weird watches for years to come.
The Konstantin Chaykin Lunkhod Prime is reference K501RG0601SC and is a rare thing indeed. There are even less pieces of the Prime than the original Lunokhod watch. The combination of design, story of modern Russian watch making, and avant garde sense of luxury makes it a very telling high-end watch for our era. Konstantin Chaykin will produce only 10 pieces total, each with a price of 110,000 Euros. konstantin-chaykin.com