Ultimate Cars, Watches & Hi Fi S04 ep13 : Konstantin Chaykin [Moscow]

Interview with Konstantin Chaykin

About 10 years ago a young inventor in St. Petersburg discovered a passion for watch movements. Konstantin Chaykin began repairing and restoring clocks and watches, and mastered the intricacies of creating watch movements. Naturally, Konstantin began to implement his own ideas. Soon he was driven passionately creating new and unique movements and watches. Today Konstantin Chaykin runs his own manufacture and has registered over 10 patents for his innovative movements and inventions in general mechanics: a unique achievement for many century old manufacturers, not to speak of a young watchmaker. Konstantin Chaykin is famous for the complex movements he has developed, especially for his astronomical clock ‘Resurrection’ with Easter calendar and Lunokhod watch. Konstantin won recognitions among aficionados of fine watches and clocks around the world. He is also the only Russian watchmaker who has become a member of the Academie Horlogere Des Createurs Independants


First of all, I would say that there is a lot of the essence in it. Also I would like to say that I
am an inventor and already the executive of a small company.

The fact is that it is possible that at some point in time I would… And there came a moment
when it was necessary to choose a profession, what to do in life, and as usual,neither haveI
hadhereditary watchmakers, nor were my parents watchmakers. Actually, everything
happened quite by accident.


Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Traditionally Russia also has it’s own watchmaking roots. Before the revolution of 1917
there were lots of watchmaker, who were producing fine watches.

In the Soviet era, Russia was sharing the second place with Japan after Switzerland by the
number of watches production. There were 15 watches factories, which were producing
tens of millions of watches. But it happened that when I already started to work all watch
factories and schools were closed. That is why I had to learn this craft by myself, even
without resorting to the help of some watchmakers.


Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Before the revolution there were such famous watchmakers as Voloscov, Nichaev, Kulibin,
Tolstoy, Nosov; who were making fine watches, but not in such amounts as Breguet of
course. But anyway there were traditional hereditary schools, e.g. Bronnicov masters, who
were making wooden watches.

There is a nice book – “Watch Making” by George Daniels. I got it in French language, so
among all text I could understand only pictures. That is why the manual skills were coming
only through experience by trial and error. But I can say that later in the Soviet era very
good literature about mass watches manufacturing was published. I think that literature
was not worse even than that one that Switzerland publishes nowadays. That is because of
a fundamental school in Russia. And now I have more than 100 books in Russian language
about watch making.


Jewellery Theatre Elements

I can say that traditionally… for example: in the end of 19th… sorry, in the end of 18th –
beginning of 19th century, when it was a transitional period, and when British were making
watches and Swiss were moving towards Breguet level. At that time, for example, Kulibin
was studying Arnold’s works and designing balance node, which was superior to Swiss
analogs… sorry… British analogs. It was superior by quality and characteristics.

As I already said, I am not only a watchmaker I am also an inventor. And if some ideas are
coming to my mind, my first wish from the heart is to implement them. I am not confined to
different complications.I'm currently working in the field of watch mechanism, and it is
possible that later you will see that there will be watches with one or two hands from
Chaykin, but still they will be different.


Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

Lets say, development path, evolution path (also in watches) in my case carries a higher
purpose. It is revival of watchmaking in Russia.

Then it was easier, but now it is more interesting. It’s not just business. Actually it is about
the issue of transition to another level. That is why we are the only one in Russia, who…
Our task is more global – to turn people’s mentality; to produce better watches; to produce
interesting watches; maybe to make some brand segmentation, I mean to introduce
another brand in inexpensive segment. But it’s not just business; it’s some sort of
responsibility. It is responsibility because nowadays there is not much ofgood production
in Russia except oil and gas.

And the mechanisms production, and mechanisms assembly, manufacturing, final
processing–we do everything. Out of 15 watches factories, there are only 2 are left, and
they produce less than 1% of the amount that was produced in the Soviet era. Therefore, it
is extremely difficult, and now we're trying to do the maximum because it is maybe longer,
more complicated, but more beneficial way. Even such complicated items as electroplating
are also produced at our place. Almost all our employees are young inexperienced
specialists. And of course they have to be taught. This is long path, it is full of mistakes,
difficulties, but I hope it will bear fruit.

Well, out of our last watches, these ones don’t leave anyone without a smile; this is our new
watch called “Cinema”. Some thought was already long time ago, around 5 years ago, but
on Muybridge birthday last year I accidentally read the story about this man on the
Internet. After that I came up with an idea to implement that mechanism in watches. It
became clear how to do it. It took a year to do it.


OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Konstantin Chaykin