Johnny McElherron

Konstantin Chaykin's Joker Returns

Johnny McElherron
Konstantin Chaykin's Joker Returns

In the world of fictional bad guys and cartoonish villains, we’ve seen and cheered on our heroes and champions of virtue as, against all odds, and of course for the good of all mankind, they take on all manner of nefarious foes, as through their audacious criminal plots they attempt to wrest power, wealth and world dominance from the hands of the civilised world.

Batman’s nemesis The Joker is a perfect case in point, and throughout his career our valiant Caped Crusader has got himself into many a life or death fix against this arch villain with his painted face, with little to no hope of overturning the odds, as the ordinary people of Gotham City cling on to life as they know it by a silken thread, as good locks in combat with the power of Joker’s evil, and peace and liberty for all hang precariously in the balance.

Joker, however, is a tricky and criminally inventive character and always manages to evade capture, but still, regardless of his ability to escape to return another day, there is one golden rule which is almost universally applied in the movies: the Good Guy and law and order tend to pervade and the Bad Guy’s plans are defeated. Even so, it’s just as well that this is fiction and not reality.

Imagine if Joker was real and beyond the control of his scriptwriters. Might he end up having the last laugh, and at last hold in his hands the grail of unchallengeable power and dominance? Well, we now have an answer to that question: Yes.

With his creation that is as outrageous as the Joker himself, Moscow based Master Konstantin Chaykin has breathed life into a watch with a comic-book character that no-one was expecting, that no-one thought they would ever need, yet which, in as much a surprise to its creator as to anyone, has incredibly found sane and practical collectors around the world clambering feverishly to get their hands on.

This Joker has played a winning hand, and at least for now holds the world transfixed in its crazed, goggle-eyed grin. Created as a pure novelty, and intended to demonstrate a playful side to the otherwise serious outward face of watchmaking, Chakin’s Joker has been a huge success, donning many guises from clown to halloween pumpkin along the way, as fans lap up this bizarre but endearing character, and its work among us is not yet done.

This time cloaked in brooding black PVD the Night Joker is the latest variation to slip out from the shadows in a fifty piece limited edition. Even with this dark persona, which would transform almost any other mild mannered watch into a sleek and stealthy Special Ops version, Chaykin’s Joker remains cheeky and comical as its manic face continues to stare out inanely with its rolling eyes and huge, gaping grin.

For the Night Joker, Chaykin has swapped out the dial colours to complement the black case. The reds and greens of the original model are replaced with a purple dial decorated with wavy bands in a lighter shade, and features two beige discs for its hours, minutes (and eyes) and a gold outline for the mouth, where a gold tongue passes across, doubling up as the moon phase display.

It’s after dark, when the lights have gone out, that the Night Joker assumes its alter ego, and where once the mouth and inner bezel ring were gold, and immediately around the black dots of the eyes, a vivid pale blue lume now beams out.

To power the Joker series, Chaykin uses the ETA 2824 self winding movement as base calibre, adding an in-house module to enable the unusual configuration, which is adjusted via the two crowns for the hours and minutes (right) and moon phase (left).

The Night Joker will be made in a limited production of fifty pieces.