Le Régulateur Louis Erard X Konstantin Chaykin: The monster is Alive!8 May 2023
Not only aesthetics and high technical qualities but also fun and a story to tell: those are the ingredients that make a timepiece exciting in the eyes of enthusiasts and collectors. The Time-Eater certainly embodies these features. From the union of two leading players, such as Louis Erard and the independent watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin, only something unique could come up…
Konstantin Chaykin – the independent company founded in 2003 by the homonymous Russian watchmaker and inventor – certainly needs no introduction. The Maison is specialised in the creation of complicated timepieces for haute horlogerie collectors. Just consider that Konstantin Chaykin wasthe first watchmaker in Russia to make tourbillon timepieces (both clocks and wristwatches) and to design a complication indicating the Orthodox Easter dates.
Chaykin is areal record man: he has 94 registered patents, more than any other watchmaker in the world. Member of the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants) since 2010, Chaykin was nominated several times for the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève and, in 2018, was awarded the Audacity prize at the GPHG thanks to the Clown, a celebrated timepiece from the Wristmons collection (a term created by combining the words Wrist and monsters). His creations, true works of art, also represent an annual rendezvous at the renowned Only Watch auction.
Founded way back in 1929 near the Jura massif, Louis Erard embodies authentic Swiss watchmaking values and tradition: affordable haute horlogerie combined with outstanding creativity.
Combining luxury with timeless elegance, the independent brandlaid the foundations for its success by gaining wide recognition thanks to its ability to incorporate métiers d’art decoration techniques (guillochage, marquetry and enamel). And it is certainly also thanks to the iconic Régulateurs (from the Excellence Collection) that Louis Erard has built its reputation.
Today, under the direction of Manuel Emch, the company is continuing its founder’s work by honouring tradition and reinterpreting it in a modern key. This has led to numerous collaborations with creators (seconde/seconde, atelier oï, Label Noir, Massena Lab) and great independent watchmaking names (Alain Silberstein, Vianney Halter).
The union of Konstantin Chaykin and Louis Erard could only result in something unique, fun and, indeed, with a story to tell. This is why Louis Erard ‘sacrificed’ his Régulateur to a strange creature, leaving carte blanche to the Russian watchmaker with the sole ‘constraint’ of respecting the watch architecture characterised by the hour display at noon, and the central minutes and the small seconds at six o’clock.
Thanks to the skillful creativity of master watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin, theresult is a grotesque saw-mouthed Cyclops, a modern reinterpretation of the well-known mythological figure. To do so, Chaykin got inspiration from the celebrated Wristmons Collection, born in 2017 and steadily growing like a big family of happy villains.
The movement (a Sellita SW266-1 automatic calibre with 38 hours of power reserve) brings this strange creature to life with an amusing role reversal: it is no longer the spectator who looks at the time but the time that stares at the spectator!
Following the vertical reading distinctive of the Régulateur, the indication of the time is then entrusted to the Cyclops’s eye, which takes up the stylistic features of the first watch made by Chaykin for the Wristmons Collection: the reference, indeed, is to the Joker whose eyes (respectively indicating the hours and minutes) were made up of white discs marked with a dot, both pupil and indicator.
The figure of the Cyclops this time, however, is not drawn from Greek tradition but comes from the Balkans: it is Likho, the evil eye of Slavic tales, an amulet against evil spirits. Konstantin Chaykin himself recalls: ‘Every Halloween I created a new type of monster, i.e. wristwatches with a Halloween theme, such as the pumpkin head watch and the Dracula watch. Looking for ideas for this story, I turned to fairy tales and the one-eyed Likho character.’
Chaykin placed the small seconds at six o’clock in a disc with pointed teeth, like an ogre’s mouth. As the watchmaker himself says, the inspiration was transversal: ‘I remembered Francisco Goya and his Saturn devouring one of his sons. And I thought of a Stephen King short story, The Langoliers, time eaters.’
The monster was only missing its arms… This is why the central minute hand crossing the dial was made (the pattern ofwhich recalls that used in the Wristmons collection for the Joker). As Chaykin states, ‘It is up to each person to interpret the meaning’: there are those who see an arrow with an arrowhead at one end and feathers at the other, or those who, in a more playful vein, cannot help but see an elongated (middle) finger at one end and horns at the other.
The Time-Eater isrounded off with a black toadstool strap, green rabbit leather lining, and comes in two versions: one with a 39mm case and a purple touch around the dial, and one with a 42mm case for which green is used. Limited editions of 178 pieces for each version (price CHF 4000), plus an exclusive box set containing both models (named “Le Diptyque”), limited to just 28 pieces (price CHF 7900).
In the end, first impressions allow us to say that this is an undeniably fun and imaginative collaboration that will be talked about in the future. Indeed, when pre-orders opened on 25 April at 15:00 CEST, the websiteliterally went downdue to the large number of fans and collectors who simultaneously visited it. Needless to say, within hours of the sales opening, the available watches were immediately sold out, leaving only the possibility of joining the waiting list. What if this is only the beginning!?
By Alberto Moroso