With it’s almost foolish face, complete with wandering eyes and a wide manic grin, Konstantin Chaykin’s Joker watch may have started life as an amusing novelty back in 2017, but a few years on, and with the Joker ‘Wristmons’ family having seen several limited edition siblings in that time, while still raising a smile, it has become a piece which has a very serious following, and a collectability to match, among even the most discerning of collectors around the world.
An unlikely icon of contemporary independent watchmaking, Joker has taken on a life of its own and become a phenomenon which has diverted the spotlight of awareness keenly onto this exceptional Russian master and inventor of watchmaking innovation.
With a special added feature which only reveals itself in the dead of night, the latest interpretation of the Joker takes on the blood thirsty persona of Bram Stoker’s mysterious Count de Ville, or Dracula as he would be better known in his infamy and notoriety.
Featuring a predominantly black dial with a radiating guillochage decoration, and draped in a brooding black PVD cloak, and the word Dracula is spelled out in blood red lettering, spaced out around the bezel, the new Night Dracula is presented in a 42mm stainless steel case, on a black leather strap with red stitching, giving Joker a menacing, but hardly threatening demeanour.
Sometimes you need to remind yourself that Chaykin’s creation is in fact a fully functional and actually quite practical wristwatch, and indeed is a very clever one at that too. Instead of subdials for the regulateur-style hour and minute displays, Chaykin has replaced the conventional norm of indicating the time with hands, and instead replaced them with what are essentially a pair of eyes which rotate in a twelve-hour and sixty-minute cycle respectively. A rim of Super LumiNova circles each of the single black dots on each disc so especially in darkness the time is quite clearly legible. Below the eyes, the lips of the wide grinning mouth also glow in the dark, and as that large crescent aperture is a perfect setting for a moonphase display, the big red tongue on a black background passes from right to left, showing the lunar cycle in its own unique and highly effective way.
Compared to the original Joker however, the Night Dracula has another trick up the sleeve of its cape, in the form of an ingenious day/night indicator, as between the nocturnal hours of 22:00 and daybreak, a pair luminous fangs appear and descend to their full length at midnight, before retracting again completely out of sight for the daylight hours.
Behind the Joker family’s amusing exterior, the technical aspects of the calibre are complex, and for the Night Dracula a further evolution of Chaykin’s already modified К.18-7 Dracula self-winding movement requires an additional in-house module and 77 new components for the fangs. Beating at 28’800 vib/h the mechanism has a 38 hour power reserve. A sapphire caseback reveals the impeccable engine-turned perlage finishing on the surfaces of the plates and bridges within.
A strictly limited production of fifty pieces only, the Night Dracula takes the enormously popular Joker into another dimension and with its glow in the dark visage, it is destined to become yet another classic and exclusive, if somewhat quirky collectable from Konstantin Chaykin, one of the most creative and talented innovators of our time.