This zany watch just fetched US$435,000 at a charity auction—breaking a record

this watch by Konstantin Chaykin breaks record at a charity auction

The Joker Encore Charity Piece Unique by Konstantin Chaykin just became the most expensive Russian watch ever sold

Those less-versed in the world of independent watchmaking may not be familiar with the work of Konstantin Chaykin. The first Russian watchmaker to be inducted into the Académie horlogère des créateurs indépendants—an international association of elite independent watchmakers—Konstantin Chaykin has quickly carved a reputation as a master craftsman of unconventional timepieces.

Among these, none appears zanier than the Joker. This series of timepieces—powered by the automatic K.07-0 calibre—was first introduced to the public in 2017. Any one of these face-shaped dials immediately strikes the eye, with its hour and minute display disks resembling a pair of expressive eyes—complete with moving pupils to indicate the time. The Joker’s face is completed by a moon phase indicator near the six o’clock, designed as a perpetually smiling mouth with a red-circle-applique tongue.

five watches from the joker series by Konstantin Chaykin
The Joker series has the zaniest dial. Photo by Konstantin Chaykin

Housed in a 42mm stainless steel case, the Joker Encore Charity Piece Unique features the same elements. Donated by Konstantin Chaykin as part of the Encore Charity’s auction, the watch was estimated to raise US$33,000 for the charity supporting children and young adults in need of medical attention. But as collectors got the chance to view the unique timepiece at the auction, bidding escalated—resulting in a record-breaking high of US$435,000.

the encore charity auction, where Konstantin Chaykin breaks record
Konstantin Chaykin breaks record at Encore Charity’s auction. Photo by Konstantin Chaykin

Collectors were charmed by its striking dial that had been further refined to create a true one-of-a-kind timepiece. Adorned with a blue outer ring that frames the face, the dial has been painstakingly hand-hammered by Konstantin Chaykin himself. The result is a chaotic guilloche that adds depth and character to the Joker’s face.

closeup of the Konstantin Chaykin Joker Encore Charity Piece Unique
The patterned dial was meticulously hand-hammered by the Russian watchmaker himself. Photo by Konstantin Chaykin

The finish resembles a Clous de Paris—only much less orderly and uniform. When hit by sunlight, the dial shimmers—its patterned surfaces dancing with light and reflecting the beams in different directions. Even without light, the patterned dial demands admiration. The faceted, pentagonal pyramid-shaped markings epitomise the meticulous and patient labour of Konstantin Chaykin, who had to craft a new unique set of tools to create the hand-hammered finish.

“I believe that a serious craftsman should always have the tools he feels most comfortable working with,” says Konstantin Chaykin. “Otherwise, it’s impossible to produce quality work.”

The open mouth and cartoonish eyes of the Joker Encore Charity Piece Unique seem to contradict the Russian’s self-anointment as a “serious craftsman”. But take a close and considered look at the watch, and there’s no denying that there’s some serious fine watchmaking behind this timepiece—one that has raised some serious money.

Konstantin Chaykin