Most expensive watch ever created in Russia sold at Only Watch auction, Geneva
November 6th 2021, Geneva. At the Only Watch charity auction, held by Christie’s, Konstantin Chaykin’s uniquely complicated mechanical watch Martian Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 Piece Unique sold for a record-breaking price, not only for Konstantin Chaykin, but for any watch ever made in Russia. After a dramatic bidding process lasting just a few minutes, the anonymous winning bidder paid 200,000 Swiss Francs, or about 15,000,000 rubles at the current exchange rate.
Konstantin Chaykin created the Martian Tourbillon watch especially for the Only Watch charity auction, proceeds from which go to supporting research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
The Martian Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 Piece Unique by Konstantin Chaykin is part of his Mars Time Program. The watch is made to work synchronously with the rotations of Mars – the hour and minute hands operate according to Mars time, and even the tourbillon rotates to the rhythms of the red planet, making one rotation every Mars minute, which is approximately 61.65 Earth seconds. It is the world’s first Martian tourbillon.
Implemented in the watch is the Martian calendar system of the American engineer Thomas Gangale, with 24 months mostly made up of 28 sols (Martian days). Each month begins with a Martian Sunday, which gave Konstantin Chaykin the idea of creating a unique calendar indicator, where the dates and days of the week are shown using only one hand on a 14-day sector scale. It is the world’s first such indicator in a mechanical watch, not to mention the first with a Martian calendar. In the design of the calendar, Konstantin Chaykin used his own signature Joker-indication, significantly reworked for the Martian watch. The two discs indicating the hours and minutes are the Martian’s eyes, while the sectored Martian date indicator is watchmaking’s first Martian smile in history. This is how the first Martian Wristmon was born, the product of the fusion of the Mars Time Program and Konstantin Chaykin’s Wristmon design.
In addition, Konstantin Chaykin demonstrated his artistic imagination in the design of the watch, inspired by his favourite sci-fi literature. Picturing himself as a Martian, he came up with an imagined Martian decimal notation system, in order to create authentic markers for the Martian calendar, and hour and minute hands. This idea had a direct influence on the design of the watch. The shape of the hands, close to the style of Breguet, can also be called ‘Martian’, as the hour and minute hands are made in the shape of a Martian number ‘1’. Martian symbols can also be found in the watch movement – the rocking lever of the winding gear is shaped like a Martian number ‘3’.
It’s incredible! This time ‘Only Watch’ exceeded all my expectations! To be honest, I worked so hard on this project and I’m so proud and glad that everything ended on such a positive note, that I’m contributing to research into such a serious disease, from which those affected suffer greatly. Work on this timepiece, my first tourbillon wristwatch and the first watch in the world featuring a tourbillon set to function to the rhythms of Mars time, was for me an enlightening experience. I felt as though I was in the 17th or 18th century, when watches were entirely created and assembled by the master who envisioned them. The key difference is that at that time, masters used blanks manually cut on metal-cutting benches, while I used modern equipment. But apart from that, just as for the watchmakers in those legendary times, it required all my skills and experience, as well as the ability to painstakingly invent and reinvent throughout the process, step by step, manually combining to perfection each of the three hundred parts from which the mechanism is assembled. It’s an unbelievable feeling – that of being a 17th century master making a 21st century watch, a time when I honestly believe that, thanks to Elon Musk, humanity will soon begin to conquer Mars. I don’t develop space technology, but in any case, this whole project was a huge risk for me. At some point I even began to doubt whether I would complete it in time or not. Over the past six months I had to give my all, and not only me. I would like here to express my sincere gratitude to the employees of the manufacture, who supported their boss during this difficult period – thanks to all of you! I’m also grateful to the collectors, connoisseurs of haute horlogerie form around the world, and my Instagram followers, without whose sincere interest and support, which I feel constantly, I would never have dared launch this project
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