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Jet Jetski

My Russian Watches (from Blackie the dog to the longest human space flight ever)

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Hi, I was a bit hesitant to post, as I am a novice collector, and I am far from shouting 'look at my great watches' (I have not gone out of my way to source fine examples - I'm not the type to cry over a replacement crystal or replaced hands - in fact 'Good idea!', I say.), but on my wanderings I have come across some interesting side-topics like waterproof watches, Radioactive dials, etc.  And please don't think I am presuming ignorance on the part of the reader, either, I know many of you are far more knowledgeable than I.  So, hesitant or not, this is my best shot, some will get more out of it than others (p.s. If anyone can hint as to where my 3133 re-issue Strela was made, that would be great - see references at the end):




A bit about my watches.
Given the focus on speed of production, the taxonomy of Soviet watches must be 'interesting',  and I have read several threads on what exact year watches were made with these exact hands, movements, cases etc, several ending in despair.  I work in a pharmaceutical environment, and know what it takes to control every product to conform to a precise specification (and your suppliers' products upstream), and so I have decided to content myself with what are undoubtedly, to use a pedigree analogy, like 'wee broon dugs' at Crufts.  I hope you like them though.
You will gather that I am mostly interested to have examples of the movements, and don't mind paying a little bit more for some customisation of dials or hands, if tastefully done.  I have also been known to pull a leg or two. 
The numbering of Russian space missions is confusing, e.g. Sputnik 4 was also known as Sputnik 9, so read the references if you feel exercised at all by anything I've apparently got wrong, and let me know if they are discredited.
From left to right, may I present ...
Zim: Often referred to as the 'Pobeda' movement, but I bought it because the case reminded me of the flying car in The Jetsons.
a)  Made in Maslennikov Watch Factory. Mvmt Designation 2602. S/N Stamped 54576.  It has a 2-part back, and appears to have some rudimentary shock / water protection for the case, but no S/P on the balance staff.
b) Interesting fact:  A '2602' Pobeda movement was, possibly, the first watch sent into space, worn by Chernushka on Sputnik 4 [1].
c) Donor technology: French Lip R26 [2 i] Sometimes documented as R-25 [2 ii]
Sturmanskie: I bought it because it has a hacking 17 jewel movement, and Gagarin may have worn one - or a 15 jewel non-hacking.  Or a 15 jewel hacking.  But definitely not a Rodina, depending which website you check! I read the watch he wore is in a museum, but he didn't answer the phone, when I called him to check if it really was his.  (If it was not recorded contemporaneously and correctly, it didn't happen - only rule of GMP!)
a)  Made in 1st Moscow Watch Factory,   Mvmt Designation 2609[3]S/N Stamped 011564. Mine has the patent Russian 'Popoff'[4] back.
b) Interesting fact:  Originally, 3.3 metric tonnes [citation needed] of Radium was used to make each luminous Pobeda watch --  I can't find the first article I read where where a chap claimed his Sturmanskie was the 'worst' of his collection of Radium lumed watches, but I dug out more: "My Geiger counter has never screamed so loud" (Dougiedude, 2016) [5 (i)], and that is why original dials are scarce, and the survivors look wrecked.  The activated (phosphor) pigment does not glow any more, but the radioactivity of the radium mixed with it has hardly decreased. [6]
c) Donor technology: Pobeda K26 [7]
Poljot Chrono 'Strela': 
I like it because: I used to be fascinated by slide-rules: this is like having one on your wrist.  And I also wanted a watch about my age.
I don't like it because: the chrono became sluggish to respond to the pusher, and is now totally on strike.  At least it's stuck at 12 o'clock lol
a)  Made in Moscow Factory #1. Mvmt designated 3017. S/N stamped  23375 (stamp for 'jewels' is Cyrillic )
b) Interesting fact: The guts of the watch appear to have been made 1964/65 [8], making it (mostly) contemporaneous with Leonev's famous spacewalk. 
c) Donor technology: Swiss Venus 150 [9]
Vostok Amphibian: I bought it because it has a lume pip on the bezel (and a picture of a submarine, obvs).  I later found a picture of a NOS example with identical lume pip and bezel & hands, so perhaps it's original.  The lume pips must get squished on, because they always seem slightly squished.
a) Made in Chistopol Watch Factory.  Mvmt  2409A (Junior?[10]), stamped SU and also what looks like a B on steroids; case-back stamped 889827, engraved  'Amfibian' in Cyrillic and 200m.
b) Interesting fact:  Georgy Grechko is said to have worn an Amfibian in 1975, on the 'Soyuz 17'  29-day mission (a record at the time) to Salyut 4 [11].
c) Novel technology: screw down crown, later copied by Rolex [12] This is just a tease, see sources below.  But the 'stem wobble' was novel [13].
Raketa 24H: I bought it because I had a blue and yellow strap, but no blue and yellow watch to put on it.  The patina on this one makes the typically deep cream dial a bit yellower.  Quod Erat Factotum!
a) Made in Petrodvorets Watch Factory. Mvmt designated 2623, stamped SU - the customary 'H', if it is there, is super faint - I imagine I can see the horizontal stroke perpendicular to the brushing pattern of the steel, but it might be a plain old 2623.
b) Interesting fact: Although models of this 'polar' watch were supposedly developed for people for whom day/night references were unavailable or irrelevant - including submariners and cosmonauts [14] - I have found no evidence that a Raketa 24H actually went into space.
c) Novel technology: "The factory was the first in Russia to move to automated production line assembly of timepieces and exported to more than 38 countries." [15]
Sturmanskie Chrono : I bought it to round off with another Sturmanskie hacking movement - also the chunkier hands look good, and the  lume also starts farther down the hands than other examples I have seen, so it does not get obscured by the second-hand balance (e.g. https://www.ebay.ie/itm/Vintage-Poljot-Sturmanskie-31659-Hacking-USSR-CCCP-Soviet-Russian-Watch-/141619683952.)
a) Made in 1st Moscow Watch Factory. Mvmt designated 31659 
b) Interesting fact : Worn in open space by Alexander Polyakov -  "3 watches worn by board engineer Soyuz TM-16/MIR-13 expedition Alexander Poleshuk during his 179 days flight in 1993.All mechanical.Russian `Shturmanskiye` watch worn by him during EVA.Russian `Polyot` and French watches worn on board of MIR station only." [16]
c) Donor technology: Poljot 3133 (hacking seconds complication added) [17]
'Strela' chrono re-issue:  I bought this because I wanted a 3133, but didn't want a Poljot with yet more dodgy lume, or another a gaudy motif on the dial (one submarine and one flying bomb is plenty).  It's the slowest of my watches off the wrist, but one of the prettiest, and keeps passable time on the wrist.
a) Made in Sturmanskie Volmax Maktime factory somewhere [history seems confused]  Caseback engraved 147/999, I couldn't make out the serial number, it's obscured by printing on the display back, and now it's on a one piece strap.
b) Interesting fact: Valeri Polyakov wore a Poljot 3133 in 1994 while setting a record for the longest ever space-flight aboard Salyut 7. [18]
c) Donor technology: Swiss ETA 7734 [19]
3] Sturmanskie Sources (Always looking for better evidence): 
i) Picture of a 15 jewel 2608 non-shock protected movement with hacking centre seconds here http://watchguy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_6140.jpg 
ii) "Later it was upgraded to 17 jewels and shockproofing ... Those are the only hacking variants of the centre-second Pobeda-type movement." from https://forums.watchuseek.com/f10/sturmanskie-16-jewel-303275.html 
iii) 2608= non-shockproof ; 2609 = shockproof. From https://www.netgrafik.ch/russian-codes.htm
4] Please credit me and cite this thread if you use the 'Popoff back' joke.
ii) https://forums.watchuseek.com/f10/ural-radium-637809-2.html includes geiger counter video and frightening stats from a collector
9] https://strela-watch.de/company/strela-history/
12] i) I derived this joke from The Watch Forum : Wrench. 2019. Quoted from https://www.thewatchforum.co.uk/index.php?/topic/126787-steinhart-ocean-one-39/&tab=comments#comment-1364409 
ii) There are good papers by David Boettcher on Borgel waterproof watches, the British 'Submarine' watch, and Rolexes: 
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3 hours ago, JayDeep said:

Gorgeous watches there! Awesome collection

Thank-you, I have put them in a little display case so that when my folks ask why I 'need' so many watches, I can ask them why they 'need' so many bone china figurines, commemorative plates, souvenir cups and saucers etc etc etc! :laughing2dw:

The Strela 're-issue' is a regular on the wrist, but I pop that on the mantle-shelf too meanwhile.  I wear my old Poljot 'Strela' about once a month, but it is not shock-protected, so I only wear it to the office (I believe Leonev's didn't survive the landing!).





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Excellent post. Thank you. :thumbsup:


Poljot Chrono 'Strela

love this one, by the way. :swoon:





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1 minute ago, NOTSHARP said:

love this one, by the way

It functioned perfectly when I got it, but the chrono has been hesitant to start, and is now temperamental, so it's going for a service sometime soon - the vendor did say to keep the watch running for a few weeks (which I did) because it had just been serviced, but I suspect the lubricant may not have been the best lol

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Superb post, thank you.

In particular I love the watches with a space connection even if they are re-issues or tributes.

The Sturmanskie 'Gagarin' - I have the modern tributes on my radar for future acquisition. Love the Sturmanskie chronograph too. The Strela 3133 is gorgeous  :thumbsup:

The king of them all for me is the Strela Poljot. Love them and I am likely to get a re-issue/ tribute in the near future even if its just to honour the 3017. As much as I'd love an original 3017, worries re provenance and reliability concerns hold me back. What a beaut though  :notworthy:

Great stuff  :thumbs_up:

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Excellent Russian collection :1st-place-medal:

Thanks for posting and no need to feel hesitant!

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19 hours ago, Ullevi said:

worries re provenance and reliability concerns hold me back. 

Reliability is why I went for the 3133 Strela rather than an Okean - I felt I should have one 'everyday' watch in my Russian collection and had done enough rescue work.  

Provenance - who knows?  The benefit of my 'birthyear' Poljot Strela is that, whether mongrel, pedigree, franken or whatever, it is a beautiful watch, and a joy forever! It's the Italian car of the watch world! (I buy them, too ...  Had three Fiats ha ha ha, still on the lookout for a 20v coupé)

Thanks everyone for making me welcome.

Edited by Jet Jetski
Wasn't wearing my glasses.
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