In an industry as competitive as this one there is a clear and ever present need to be creative and innovative in order to survive, let alone prosper. No where is this more pronounced than amongst independent watchmakers who, although more or less free to create what they please, constantly feel the burden to produce something truly spectacular in order to stand out from their peers.
The winners out of all this of course are us. Spoiled with an embarrassment of riches (in this case high-end timepieces) to choose from it’s sometimes difficult to know where to focus our attention. Take for example the incredible new Cinema timepiece from Russian independent watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin, a mechanical marvel that pays homage to Eadweard Muybridge, the man credited with inventing the zoopraxiscope.
Now, you may not know it by name but you would definitely recognize a zoopraxiscope if you saw one. Generally speaking it’s thought to be the world’s first movie projector, utilizing a spinning wheel with pictures printed on it to create an animated image. It’s one of those game-changer inventions that even now with all our modern-day technology is still capable of eliciting a delighted ‘ahhh’ type response from audiences. And Konstantin Chaykin has just built one into his latest timepiece.
That’s right, the aptly named Cinema features a tiny zoopraxiscope that when activated displays the famous animation of a man riding a horse through a small window at 6 o’clock. It really is remarkable to behold and to be honest you just have to see the video below to truly appreciate just how insanely cool it looks:
To make this possible an animation mechanism featuring a small disc that has been engraved with 12 images of a man on a galloping horse, has been incorporated into the watch’s construction. This disc spins at a rate on one frame per 0.07 seconds and as you can see in the video it is set in motion by a pusher at 9 o’clock. A special shutter incorporated into the mechanism blocks off the first few seconds of the animation so that the image doesn’t appear blurred when the disc first begins to spin, thus all we see is the projection of the seamless animation.
Providing The Power
Behind the dial beats the caliber KCM 01-1 manually wound mechanical movement developed in-house by Chaykin. Two different barrels are responsible for providing power, one for the time and the other for the animation complication. Both are wound using the same crown, just turned in opposite directions; clockwise for the time and vice-versa for the animation. The animation will run for 20 seconds before needing to be wound again whilst the watch itself has a 48 hour power reserve. As you can see in the video and the photo the movement is made visible through an exhibition caseback and has been beautifully finished.
The rectangular shape case measures 32 mm wide by 42.5 mm long and is constructed mainly from steel with a mixture of brass and enamel thrown in for good measure. What I really like though is how it has been designed to look like an old movie camera. The style, like many things back in those days, is relatively simple with a strong focus on clean lines and polished finishes. The face has been decorated with a subtle black clos du Paris texture, which not only looks good but also really causes the animation to jump out at you when it is in motion.
Indicative pricing is around EUR50,000 (US$65,000), which I think is actually pretty reasonable all things considered.
The Final Word
I love the creativity of this timepiece. Sure the zoopraxiscope may have been invented over a century ago but I still think it’s just as awe-inspiring now as it was then, and the idea of incorporating it into a wrist watch is just brilliant. What appeals to me most though is just how personal this piece is. To anyone walking past in the street or sitting next to you in a meeting, it is just another watch. An extremely well made one no doubt but its lack of overt displays of complexity means that you can choose who you share its secret with and of course, who you don’t.
That being said the rather conspicuous dedication plaque to Eadweard Muybridge just below 6 o’clock might spoil the surprise a bit.