Russian Watch Brands: Who makes the best Russian watches
Among the well-known Russian watch brands Vostok, Amphibia, Poljot and Raketa are the most famous ones both in the West and Russia. From diver watch to military 24 hour watch to various special editions watch, such as space watch, Russian watches is a perfect value-for-money option for any collector or simply a wrist watch enthusiast.
Poljot watches (First Moscow Watch Factory)
The famous Russian Chronograph Poljot 3133 movement is a deeply modified version of the Swiss Valjoux 7734. Russian Strela 3017 movement – Swiss caliber Venus 150. Anyway, the modern history of making wrist watches in Russia dates back to 1930 when Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered to establish the First State Watch Factory also known as Poljot (literally meaning “flight”).
This is how the Russian watchmaking began. Since then Poljot has become the Soviet Union’s greatest watchmaker with such iconic timepieces as Poljot 3017 Strela, Aviator, OKEAH (Ocean) or, again, Shturmanskie (Navigator’s). From technical point of view, some of these timepieces are known for the above-mentioned advanced Poljot 3133 Chronograph movement.
Vostok watches (Chistopol Watch Factory)
Another great Russian watchmaking facility is Vostok Watch Factory located in the town of Chistopol which is to the East of Moscow and close to the city of Kazan. When the Second World War was over, the production skyrocketed and, finally, in 1965 the Chistopol Watch Factory has been appointed the Soviet Ministry of Defense’s official supplier. By this time the brand name has already been changed to Vostok, which was soon to become one of the most famous Russian watch brand in general.
The very same year, the Komandirskie military watch was put into the production. This model has been widely used by the Soviet military personnel and, also, by those civilians who could still manage to get it, while not being in the army ranks.
Another very popular watch is Vostok Amphibia, probably the best diver watch in the world if you want to spend on such a hi-tech gadget just around $100. In terms of functionality, quality and, last but not least, design it is hard to beat!
Raketa watches (Petrodvorets Watch Factory)
The third major Russian watchmaker, now known as the Raketa Factory, is located in Petergof (Petrodvorets), former Tsar’s residence near by Saint-Petersburg, Russian imperial capital, which is nowadays often called the “Northern capital”. The factory’s history starts very long time ago, in 1721, when Peter the Great, in his efforts to bring all the best from the West, ordered to establish the facility. A number of the Raketa watches are known for its futuristic style dedicated to the Soviet Arctic/Antarctic (24 hour watches for polar explorers) and Space exploration programs. This upbeat spirit is vibrantly expressed, for instance, in the design of Raketa Copernicus model released in 1980s, at the very end of the Soviet era.
What are the benefits of owning Russian watches?
These timepieces look unusual and stylish with its Soviet epoch vibe. They’re not as expensive as most of the Swiss models. Right, these watches are probably not the cutting-edge technology pieces like Japanese watches but there are some innovations that make them unique from the technical point of view.
Why are Vostok watches so cheap
For example, there was an absolutely brilliant technical solution implemented in Vostok Amphibia. This watch was designed specifically for the Russian Navy, manifesting the USSR’s answer to the Rolex Submariner used by the British Royal Navy. The Soviets couldn’t steal or buy the Swiss technology to achieve the Submariner’s perfect water resistance. It was a challenge for the Russian watchmakers to produce same functionality at less expense. They changed the technological solution by which the glass provides the watch’s water resistance. In the Amphibia’s construction the outside water pressure physically pushes the glass down into the case thus making the seal tighter. The deeper the watch goes, the more water pressure and, therefore, the tighter the seal. The Soviet engineers decided to use plastic crystal to cover the case. It is considered to be fifty percent thicker than regular one. It could slightly be deformed under pressure – unlike glass and sapphire crystal that would crack in the same conditions. This crystal is cheap and doesn’t require a rubber seal or a high-pressure crystal retaining ring. So that solution was elegant and as efficient as Rolex’s – and technologically much more affordable!
Watches Made & Designed in Russia. Thus, the Russian watches with its sometimes classic, sometimes vintage, sometimes military design are definitely a great choice for the money. You absolutely don’t need to spend a fortune to get a piece into your collection.
Rich Historical Background. One more – and very important point – is that the Russian watches have its own rich history ready at hands reflecting the most heroic moments of the Soviet Union’s history. Let’s check out one of the most known cases.
On April 12, 1961, Soviet Air Force Major Yuri Gagarin became the first man to enter space. There was a wrist watch on board of the Vostok 1 spaceship during Gagarin’s historical 108-minute flight around the Earth. It was Sturmanskie, produced by the First Moscow Watch Factory. This iconic space watch model has started a tradition celebrating that milestone Soviet success in the space race. After that the Shturmanskie Gagarin special edition watch has been introduced to commemorate this truly historical event.
Russian military watches such as 24 Hour, Aviator or Vostok Komandirskie are just another bit of history revealed. The Red Army has been a real threat terrifying minds of many people in the West for decades – and here we go: you can now just try its equipment on your wrist! Yep, you could even feel what it was like to be a Russian Army, Navy or Air Force officer back in the day, during the Cold War…
Finally, some of the ‘civilian’, regular Russian watches such as various Raketa models are also worth your attention. They show another side of the Russian life, with its strive for peaceful progress and science.
List of watch manufacturing companies of Russia of 2019:
- Petrodvorets watch factory “Raketa”
- Chelyabinsk watch factory “Molnija”
- Chistopol watch factory “Vostok”
- Zlatoust watch factory “Agat”
- Poljot Chronos Watch Company
- Russian Time (President, Pilot Time)
- Sturmanskie (Volmaks group)
- Slava Trade House (Alfa, Spetsnaz, Derzhava, Petroff)
- Zaria Pensa Watch Factory
- Umnyashov designer watches
- Russian Submarine (24 hour watches)
- Denissov Watch Company
- Konstantin Chaykin Manufacture (Konstantin Chaykin Joker watch).