The novel timepiece by the only Russian high-end watchmaker, Konstantin Chaykin, is inspired by the Jewish tradition. This can be clearly seen even in the way the watch’s basic function works, since its hands move in the counter-clockwise direction. Moreover, it is visible in the choice of moon phase for its additional feature, due to its importance in the religion. Finally, the origin of the timekeeper is hinted in the numerous design motifs that Chaykin used. Even the name of the watch is a clear reference to Judaism. While the Decalogue (other term for Ten Commandments) refers to the collection for which the watch stems from, the name Luah Shana means “lunar year” is Hebrew. The Konstantin Chaykin’s novelty is placed inside a white gold housing and launched in a limited edition of 100 pieces. Its price is set at around $38,500.
Judaism is without any doubt the only inspiration for Luah Shana piece. It all starts with the manner in which the timekeeping feature of the watch operates. In Hebrew language, letters are written from right to left. This principle is used in the watch and thus the hands move in a direction which is opposite to the usual one. This is a trademarked complication by Konstantin Chaykin. It is called the reverse system of the minute pointer wheels and it is used throughout Decalogue collection (which is by the way entirely inspired by the astounding precision of the Jewish calendar, as the Russian watchmaker reveals).
However, the reverse direction in which the central hands move is not Chaykin’s invention. This sort of time representation is deeply rooted in the past. The most famous example of such display of time was the tower clock from the 16th century which stands atop the Old Town Hall and next to the Old New Synagogue in the Josefov quarter in the capital of the Czech Republic.
The direction of the hands is just the beginning of the story. Even the numerals on Luah Shana piece are based on the ancient Hebrew system. In fact, they are actually letters of the Hebrew alphabet which all have their assigned numerical value, according to the numerology system Gematria.
A Lunar Days Indication Enables the Calculation of Jewish Holidays
Beneath the slightly off-centered dial which is moved a bit upwards lays a lovely moon phase indication. Once again, this component has close ties to the Jewish tradition in both its functioning and appearance. Its main functional value is that it facilitates keeping track of lunar days and subsequently lunar months, which is of crucial importance since it allows the watch’s wearer to calculate the time of Jewish holidays. This is possible because, in Judaism, the calendar is based on lunar (Luah Shana) and not solar year. It is interesting to know that this precise lunar calendar is also the official calendar of Israel, in addition to its use for religious purposes. As for the appearance of the complication, it is designed in order to resemble the stone tablets on which the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments were presented to Moses.
More religious motifs can be seen on the dial, mainly in the lower half of the timekeeper’s face. By the way, no section of the dial has been left untreated, since all of its sections feature different ornaments and guilloched motifs. The reaming portion with the most prominent religious importance is positioned as the background to the off-centered time display and the moon phase indication. There we can see a stylized representation of the legendary 30 feet high columns from the Solomon’s Temple.
Konstantin Chaykin Luah Shana watch is placed inside a round case made of 18 K white gold with the reserved diameter of 42 mm and the height of 11.2 mm. Its crystal is made from sapphire, while the featured waterproofness measures to 30 meters. Fortunately, there is also a sapphire section of the rear side of the case that allows the view on the watch’s manually-wound mechanical caliber K 01-0. The movement’s balance works at the frequency of 4 Hz, while the supported power reserve lasts for 48 hours. As a proper high-end watch, the movement of the novelty from the Decalogue collection is embellished with haute horlogerie finishes. Its bridges are adorned with the Geneva striping, its jewels are supported by gold chatons, while the side of the barrel is mirror polished. In accordance with the general theme, the barrel wheel of the caliber boasts an engraving of the Star of David and an embellishment in the form of blue enamel coating.
As for the wristlet, the watch with the reference number K130WG300203 is paired with a black leather strap which locks with a pin buckle. The original newcomer from the Konstantin Chaykin is one of dozen watches which are on the shortlist for the Calendar award at the upcoming Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneva. If one is to look for its faults, the first that pops to one’s mind is the orientation of the watch toward a specific section of the watch aficionados. However, since the watch is not made in a numerous issue (100 pieces), this should not prove to be a problem. The second potential issue is that one might need some time to get used to the opposite direction in which the hands move, but this idiosyncrasy is clearly more of a strongpoint than a downside.