To inaugurate its first-ever in-house automatic movement, Konstantin Chaykin created the Wristmon Zebra Piece Unique, a one-off based on the brand’s signature best-seller. Though it retains the familiar “rolling eye” time display, the Zebra is equipped with the K.33-3, a newly-developed automatic movement with a micro-rotor.
Ever since the launch of the Joker, Konstantin Chaykin has continued to iterate on the Wristmon with its amusing “rolling eye” display. While the Zebra might look like more of the same, it is notable for having an all-new, in-house movement, which replaces the ETA and Vaucher movements that powered past Wristmon models. Mr Chaykin has long hinted that a workhorse in-house movement was in the works, an endeavour that was probably accelerated by the difficulty of sourcing components from outside Russia due to the ongoing war and resulting sanctions.
With the launch of the K.33-3, Konstantin Chaykin becomes one of the few independent watchmakers with its own self-winding movement, let alone an automatic calibre with a micro-rotor. The K.33-3 is basic in terms of aesthetics and certain specifications, but it is a feat to be applauded, particularly for Mr Chaykin given the relatively scarcity of specialist suppliers close to him.
The Zebra is a one-off conceived to debut the new calibre, but we can expect more watches with the K.33-3 in the future. And if Mr Chaykin retains the same pricing for the new models with an in-house movement, then all the better.
A micro-rotor calibre made in Russia
The most important aspect of the Zebra is visible through the sapphire case back. According to Mr Chaykin, the K.33-3 is the first micro-rotor movement designed and made in Russia.
Having an in-house calibre in a relatively accessible and simple watch is a milestone for the brand, as all Wristmon models to date have been equipped with either ETA or Vaucher calibres, with the exception of the highly complicated unique pieces made for past Only Watch charity auctions, namely the Joker Selfie of 2019, Martian Tourbillon of 2021 and last year’s Stargazer.
According to Mr Chaykin, the K.33-3 was conceived to be a slim movement, hence the choice of a micro-rotor as opposed to a more common full rotor. The height is particularly relevant for Mr Chaykin, since he often uses modules for his unconventional time displays, as is the case for the Wristmon models.
Even with the addition of the “rolling eye” and calendar module, the movement in the Zebra stands 8.1 mm high. As a result, the Zebra is more compact than most other Wristmon models. The Zebra is 40 mm, whereas the standard size of past models was 42 mm. And in terms of thickness the Zebra is 13.3 mm high, which puts it in between the ETA -and Vaucher-powered models that are 13.7 mm and 13 mm respectively.
Besides the micro-rotor, another notable technical feature is the regulator index that appears to be of Mr Chaykin’s own design. The rest of the calibre is straightforward in both form and finish. The bridges have a simple frosted finish while the rotor is circular-grained tungsten. And specs-wise, the K.33-3 has a 42-hour power reserve and balance running at 3 Hz, or 21,600 beats per hour.
Over on the front, the Zebra is as expected. The dial is relatively complex and comprises 40 parts, including a stamped guilloche disc that mimics a zebra’s stripes. The zebra pattern continues on the case with ten carbon fibre inserts in the bezel and a black-and-white strap.
Hours are shown in the left eye, and minutes in the right. The two letters that indicate the day of the week in Russian are indicated in the nostrils via two discs. And the tongue visible just under the nostrils functions as a crown-position indicator: when the crown is pulled to set the time, the colour of the tongue changes from white to red.
Key facts and price
Konstantin Chaykin Zebra Piece Unique
Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 13.3 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 30 m
Functions: Hours, minutes, and day of the week
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Strap: Calf-skin leather
Limited edition: Piece Unique
Availability: Not for sale
Price: Not available
For more, visit chaykin.ru.
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