August 28, 2020
While the world of haute horlogerie is filled with unique and dramatic designs, few brands are as creative or playful as Konstantin Chaykin. Most famous for its series of pareidolia-focused watches with literal faces such as the Joker, the brand consistently maintains a lighthearted tone to its exploration of ultra-luxury boutique watchmaking. For its latest limited edition release, Konstantin Chaykin takes this train of thought even further, offering a unique timepiece with not just a face, but ears as well, and a bejeweled gold royal crown at 12 o’clock to complete the look. Inspired by the villainous character from the classic Tchaikovsky ballet “The Nutcracker,” the limited edition Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King might be an unusual release outside of the Christmas season, but the creativity and craftsmanship on display is undeniably impressive.
The 42mm case of the Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King is made of brushed titanium, chosen both for its durability and for the metal’s darker tone which resembles mouse fur. While the overall case profile is simple, there are a handful of details that give this design miles of unique character. First among these is the narrow engraved bezel, which spells out the letters of “Mouse King” around its circumference. The more dramatic pieces, however, come at the 12 o’clock side of the case. While the lugs on the 6 o’clock side are relatively simple tapering forms, on the 12 o’clock side the flattened, rounded stubby shapes take on the form of mouse ears to complete the face on the dial. Of course, no watch would be complete without its crown, and this being the Mouse King it’s a suitably regal one. Situated at the top of the mouse’s head at 12 o’clock, this flared and wide toothed crown is made of 18k gold and capped with a round polished ruby. It’s playfully clever wordplay made into fine jewelry, and this sort of creativity is charming even if it may not be versatile. The case is finished off with a sapphire display back.
Like many of Konstantin Chaykin’s previous releases, the regulator dial of the Mouse King forms a fanciful smiling face. The subdials at 10 o’clock and 2 0’clock track hours and minutes, respectively, while the wide smiling mouth at 6 o’clock with its mouse-like buck teeth forms a moonphase display. What sets the Mouse King apart from prior iterations here, however, is the sheer variety of finishing. The segment running between the hours and minutes subdials is finished with a dynamic triangular relief guilloché pattern simulating fur, tapering down to a small applied black nose at the center of the dial. A set of horizontal ridged whiskers radiates out from each side of this, while the base dial pattern is the same wavy circular guilloché seen in the Konstantin Chaykin Joker series. The dial surface may read as simply shades of gray, but hundreds of layers of lacquer have been applied to achieve the perfect finish.
Inside the Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King beats the K18-10 automatic moonphase regulator movement, based on the Vaucher 3002. The brand heavily modifies and decorates the movement for this unique application, abandoning the second crown usually implemented to adjust the moonphase indicator in favor of a recessed corrector at 6 o’clock for a cleaner look. Nearly every surface of the movement has been decorated with perlage, horizontal and circular striping, polished chamfers, and sand blasted matte finishing on certain components. The skeletonized rotor is also heavily customized, with a unique seven-pointed crown shape. In terms of performance, the K18-10 offers 50 hours of power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate.
To solve the problem of creating a wearable strap that continues the faciful theme of the Mouse King, Konstantin Chaykin pairs the watch with a unique two part strap option. The base strap is clean and luxurious, made of thick supple black alligator leather lined with calfskin and finished with gold contrast stitching. For the full effect, the brand also includes a replacement element for the 6 o’clock half of the strap, with a complex hand finished ermine pattern in white, black, and red evoking a kingly robe. It’s far from subtle, but it’s a fun addition to an already fanciful design.
Of course, it’s impossible to say that the Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King is subtle, or adaptable, or easy to wear in most situations. With that in mind, though, it’s a fantastically fun bit of haute horlogerie that challenges notions of what a luxury timepiece is supposed to express. It’s the sort of thing one could imagine an oligarch wearing to an ugly sweater Christmas party as a power move, and there’s no doubt about the incredible quality and attention to detail Konstantin Chaykin has put on display with this model. Only seven examples of the Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King will be made, available to order now from authorized dealers. Pricing for the Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King is available upon request. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.