Konstantin Chaykin, the Russian inventor and founder of the Konstantin Chaykin Manufacture designed a watch that is more than a timepiece – but a piece of art. Konstantin named the watch Carpe Diem (Latin for Seize the Day) and included multiple allegoric representations of time in the mechanics and the design to create a harmonious reminder of how important the present is and how fleeting time really is for each and every one of us.
The main idea behind the Carpe Diem Watch is to embody the abstract idea of time using classic metaphors from the Western canon. The symbols included in Konstantin’s design hark back to paintings by Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder, Pieter Claesz and Heorhiy Narbut. The main character in the Carpe Diem Watch is the ancient god Chronos, who had birthed Time, the first element of Creation. He is depicted in a personal and vivid form: lost in thought, with deep wrinkles on his forehead, Chronos is enthroned on the miniature dial that only indicates hours. In one hand Chronos wields a scythe and his other hand rests on an hourglass. A starry night sky in the background symbolizes the cosmic nature of time.
The technical innovation in the Carpe Diem Watch is the patented mechanism by Konstantin Chaykin: using a few shutters Konstantin was able to create the illusion of sand flowing through an hourglass. In the Carpe Diem Watch, the moving sand serves as the minute indicator. Hours are indicated by a hand contained in a miniature dial decorated with a monogram. The Carpe Diem Watch also includes a day of the week indicator, where each day is indicated by the appropriate astrological sign.
Konstantin invented and patented a new calibre, the K 01-4 for the Carpe Diem Watch, a caliber which belongs to his line of movements to tell time in non-standards ways of indication. The bridges in the Carpe Diem are decorated with ‘côtes de Genève’, the escapement wheel is gold, and the gleaming barrel wheel and winding wheels are perfectly polished. The work of the balance is visible through the sapphire glass back. The case is hand engraved, while the decorations and the image of Chronos are patinated.