There continues to be many low priced mechanical watches produced in Russia, and there are many older ones available on eBay. The first here is a Vostok "Komandirskie" model, show here with a black dial, and fairly simple markings. The 3AKA3 MO CCCP supposedly indicates association with the Ministry of Defence of the USSR. To the extent that these Russian watches can be authenticated, this may have been a real military watch of some sort, but I kind of doubt it. Below the red star is "17 Jewels," and the watch has a screw down crown for watertightness. Watch runs quite well, a nice piece of old Soviet history whether or not it was for the military. Here is a page on the watch, wirh more pics and documentation.
This next watch is one I really like. It is also made by Vostok (for more info on Vostok, click here.) This is not a military watch, and the writing at the bottom, simply means Made in USSR. But it does have some naval military inspirational grandiosity: note the pink and red triangle sectors on the dial, and the pink bars along the edge of the dial chapter.
See the below diagram from the Chelsea Clock Company (USA) on the Special Radio Room Clock. In the US Government specifications for the Chelsea clock, 'the dial has accurate 4 second marks in red around the outside edge, over which the sweep seconds hand passes, enabling the radio operator to accurately transmit the 4 second alarm signal provided by the International Telecommunication Convention and the International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea.' And later, it indicates that, 'also marked in red on the dial, clearly and forcibly calling attention to the radio operator thereto, are the two 3 minute silent periods which must be observed by all radio stations at 15 and 45 minutes past each hour.'
Thus, the marks on the dial edge are for the 4 seconds alarm, and the sector triangles for 3 minutes radio silence. The Vostok, a civilian watch with a homage to the radio room design, faithfully keeps the overall pattern, but adds two more sectors at 12 and 6!
This one is wild. My friend Bill describes this as 'the most decidedly Soviet watch' he's ever seen, having 'deranged heroic proportions.' Another great piece of Soviet history, this large watch is the 'Stadium' model, created for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. I guess it is shaped like a stadium. Here, is from someone named db, somehere in one of the old SSRs:
Sorry, my English is bad.
This is "Chaika" - watch from Uglichsky Watch Factory.
This watch was designed before XXII Olympic Games in Moscow. Non-official name of this model is "Stadium" - and this watches really like stadium.
Thank you for your interest .
Äàòà: 07-04-2001 on 00:10
Another guy, Yvgeny, was less than enthusiastic about it:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eugene
> Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2001 3:21 AM
> Subject: Re: Hello Yevgen, Russian watch
> Hi Alan!
> Im dont speak english, but i speak german.
> Ok, I wont to say:
> this wath its really shit.(sorry)
Well, I like it. This automatic mechanical watch is large, heavy and thick, and it runs very well with it's 23 jewel movement. Notice the day window, in Russian..
In the small ancient town of Uglich on the banks of the Volga River north of Moscow, it was made at the 'Chaika' watch factory. Chaika (CHI-kuh) is the Russian word for sea gull. It is also the unofficial name for the type of car used by the KGB Click link, or just see picture of car, below. The car is pretty forlorn looking. The factory still makes watches, and it is rumored that the workers are not paid in money, but in watches, which they must sell to tourists to realize actual money. Is Uglich a hot spot for jet-setters? Sounds like an urban legend, but if that is true, it's a raw deal. Here's a lady in Uglich selling some watches. I have seen some of their watches online, mostly ladies watches, and in my opinion, they are very ugly.
This is from a flimsy sheet of paper, which was saved by the original owner of this watch, telling you how it works, if you can read it. Pretty easy to figure out anyway, and it does have a button at 8 oclock to rapidly advance the date. The paper feels and looks like recycled toilet paper.
Not my watch bracelet, but an interesting sort of Cold War detente item. The M(N)P sounds in English, like "MIR" and means Peace. USA and USSR are written next to it, with American and Soviet flags on their respective sides.
This one below is horrible I don't know why I bought it. Sekonda (Seconds?) was made for export. You will find a lot of Sekonda in the United Kingdom. Note the USSR on the dial, not CCCP like the others above. This is a mechanical alarm watch, which is kind of nice, but it was so ugly I sold it off.
Here's another watch from Vostok, the way it would be written in Enlgish, based on the way the Russian word sounds.
On the Boctok signage, it's entirely fortuitous that it can be reasonably typed out on an English keyboard, as it could easily have been something unworkable. Signed, "18 Jewels, Made in USSR" on the dial above 6. Large 70s style case, but I like the dial with black, white and a sort of purplish-blue.
Though my experience has been limimted, the few Russians I have encountered online don't seem too thrilled about Vostok or Russian watchmaking as a whole. They'd rather talk about something else. I think if they had their choice, they'd rather wear an Omega or a Rolex. In fact they seem to hate it when I ask them about some old cheap Vostok.
Communist party vehicle, the Chaika.
Click here to see an interesting clock from a Soviet MiG military aircraft.