Monday, June 05, 2006

Russian Watch! Russian Watch!

russian chronograph
Yes! Yes! The Russian watch I've been waiting for is finally here. And it is a thing of wonder!!!

To be precise, it's a Russian chronograph. Complete with stopwatch function— that's what those extra buttons are for. And it's a good old fashioned mechanical chronograph— no effete quartz movement, thank you, this watch has a 23-jewel Poljot 3133 mechanical movement, and it ticks like a real watch should.

Note the retro design, based on watches produced during World War II for top officers in the Red Army. Note the second hand, at 9 o'clock. Note the chronograph second hand— what you'd ordinarily think of as the "regular" second hand— and the chronograph minute hand at 3 o'clock. Note the date window at 6 o'clock. Note the scratch-resistant mineral watch crystal. Note the Super-LumiNova glow-in-the-dark watch hands. Note the logo on watch face, "1МЧЗ им. Кирова," which stands for "Первый Московский Часовой Завод имени Кирова," "First Moscow Watch Factory called Kirova."

And big! This watch measures nearly 1¾ inches across, and about half an inch thick. My middle aged eyes can read it with ease.

On the back of the watch it reads, Полёт (Poljot) Заказ Министерства Обороны Российской Федерации (Order of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation) Водонепроницаемые 5 Атм (Water Resistant 5 Atmospheres) Нержавеющая Сталь (Stainless Steel). Numbered 192 out of a limited edition of 300.

(Hey, never know when that year of Russian I took in college will come in handy! ;-)

Back last summer I bought a nice but cheap Russian watch. I have to confess that the idea of buying a nice but not-so-cheap Russian chronograph hatched in my mind within weeks. After holding off for most of the past year, I finally gave in, and ordered via eBay from a dude over in St. Petersburg. Result: this morning I drove in to town, and picked up at the Post Office a registered package containing one Russian chronograph. Absolutely awesome!

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Blogger The Tetrast said...

It's hard not to dig some of those Soviet-style no-effin'-around gadgets. Even the numerals look like tanks.

Monday, June 05, 2006 9:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say, the Russians have always been known to be weak on state of the art (AKA "bleeding edge") high-tech stuff, but bang-on for more "every-day" stuff.

I also have to say the mechanical, no-quartz movement tickles my old-school sensibilities. :)

On a more serious note, the Russians have gained a rep (over the past twenty years) for solid-quality vacuum tubes. Apparently there's still a healthy minority of guitar players who prefer analog to digital...

It occurs to me that at least some Russian electronics companies could make a decent living by feeding the contemporary "retro" fad popular amongst many audiophiles. I certainly wouldn't mind owning a fully operating classic Harmon Kardon stereo tube amp populated by modern (and inexpensive) tubes... Heh.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 1:37:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Tetrast & Casey:

This watch is indeed built like a tank. Big solid stainless steel case. And I do mean solid. Size almost more like a small pocket watch than a wristwatch.

Yesterday morning I set it about 20 seconds ahead of WWV, and this morning it was still almost exactly 20 seconds ahead of the time on my computer, which is kept in sync with a UW-Madison NTP server. So it seems to be keeping good time, too.

Interesting history of the First Moscow Watch Factory and the Poljot brand name on Wikipedia.

I discover there are a lot of collectors of Russian watches out there. Typical discussion forum here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 8:18:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Update: Here's a post over on a Russian watch forum, about the vintage watch of which mine is a modern reissue: a "Kirova single pusher chronograph, Type 1," produced by the 1st Moscow Watch Factory in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Larger picture, from that same discussion thread, here.

Old chronographs generally didn't have a date window, and my modern version has two pushers in addition to the screw-down crown. And of course the watch dial on one is white; on the other, black. Otherwise pretty similar.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 5:30:00 PM  

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