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Konstantin Chaykin, Watchmaker And President Of The AHCI, On Why You Should Choose The Independents

In our Insiders series, we invite our friends from the world of independent watchmaking to share their perspectives on the issues that matter most to them.

SKOLORR - Konstantin Chaykin

Konstantin Chaykin is the self-taught watchmaker behind his eponymous independent watchmaking brand and the president of the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants). Konstantin is the only Russian AHCI member and is known for his incredibly interesting, innovative designs.

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Most notable are his Joker watch; in which the eyes of his comical timepiece swivel to indicate both time and minutes, meaning throughout the day the face presents a variation of amusing expressions, and the Cinema piece, which uses the traditional cinema practice of rotoscoping to demonstrate a horse running around the dial. Although each and every one of his pieces is unique in style and theme, there is a distinct feeling of Konstantin having made them.

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SKOLORR - Konstantin Chaykin Joker WatchKONSTANTIN CHAYKIN: The AHCI is a Swiss organisation with the purpose to help Independent watchmakers by promoting the unique character of handmade timepieces and haute horlogerie, which is why we look for only the most innovative and creative makers.

Put in simple terms; the common thread running through independent watchmaking is that every maker strives for perfection. Most Independent makers, like myself, have a passion for creating rather than selling. Each element, or process, will be perfected to the highest quality, to ensure they are creating the most incredible piece that is possible. That’s from design to finishing, everything will be done to the best imaginable quality, and as a result of that distinctive passion and attention to detail, you have haute horlogerie.

As a result of that distinctive passion and attention to detail, you have haute horlogerie.

But in its actuality, there is more to it than that. Quality and production volume aside, the biggest difference between the big corporate brands and the Independents is that when you buy from a big-name brand, chances are the man behind that big name has been dead for hundreds of years. The product has no real connection to the maker, who is long gone, and his history or values. Alternatively, when you buy from an independent watchmaker, you are receiving a piece directly from that maker, and one that has been crafted to the highest standard. In choosing an independent watch, you are having a very direct impact upon the future of that maker, and the eco-system around him. SKOLORR, with the platform it has created, has the power to share this message with a new generation of consumers.

SKOLORR - Konstantin Chaykin

When you buy a watch from Konstantin Chaykin, you can meet Konstantin Chaykin.

I personally first applied to join the AHCI in 2008 and became a member in 2010. Now, I am the president. This presidency, though I am proud to have it, is no prize. It involves a lot of hard work in coordinating the exhibitions we hold, making financial decisions and dealing with paperwork. When the AHCI was originally created in 1985 its main purpose was to coordinate exhibitions for its members to demonstrate their talents, and to help them with the expenses of these exhibits. Now it’s a very different organisation and has its own philosophy. For me, the most important element of the AHCI is its ability to help young watchmakers.

SKOLORR - AHCI Members at Baselworld 2016

As there are no esteemed watchmakers in Russia and no schools teaching advanced techniques, there was no way for me to learn the craftsmanship behind the complications in independent watchmaking and had to teach myself, which took a lot of time and dedication. So, I understand the challenges in building a successful watchmaking brand, and we are able to make that journey a little easier for the future generation. However, at the AHCI we aren’t trying to create big companies, but talented, skilful makers that contribute to the integrity of the rising independent watchmaking industry.

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Image 1 via totaldesignreviews, Image 2 via ablogtowatch
Image 3 via the AHCI