I finally picked up a Buran/G.I. Regulator for my collection and though that I would share my thoughts after a recent inspection of the entire chronograph. This seems like a good thread to post to.
I should first mention, for those who do not already know, that this design was created by a Watchuseek forum member some years ago, and subsequently copied by Volmax.
However, this case type was already in use by Poljot at the time, and I can't recall every seeing this piece in any of the Poljot/Volmax catalogues - therefore just another sideshow piece that had a small degree of popularity. It is questionable whether the design would have ever been produced if Volmax had not scooped it up, so depending on how you feel about, production of these could either be considered a good, or a bad thing. Personally, I'm glad that it was produced, because it is a very cool design.
There seems to have been a variety of this type of casing used to build the Buran regulators. Some are all steel, some have gilded sections, a few different crowns were used, and various different case back designs - whatever was available at the time of assembly, I suppose. The design is front loaded, meaning you have to remove both the case back and bezel to remove the watch assembly.
(Note that the hour hand is not at 12, see below)
To remove the bezel and case back, one has to use a razor/hobby knife to separate them from the case by small increments around the parameter to avoid damaging either the dial, movement, or the gilded bezel (if so fitted). Then once a large enough gap is achieved, switch to a thicker knife and apply a lot of pressure to pop it open - which would be better accomplished with one of those case opening vices. Some of these cases are fitted with a screw down case back, which obviously makes this component easier to remove.
Snap on case back.
You should also be aware that the lugs have fake bolts that do not secure the bar that holds the strap in place - it is just a regular spring bar.
Another thing I would recommend against is attempting to remove the hands, as they look very fragile, and will no doubt easily break off the riveted bushing/sleeve. And with no replacement parts available... the watch will be ruined. The chrono-seconds hand is so thin that when the stop-watch is reset the hands vibrates like a tuning fork! :-d
I actually did have to remove the subdial hand because it was not secured properly, and had to be ultra-careful not to squash the dainty sleeve too much in the pin vice.
The 12-hour wheel seems to rotate alright with no more play in it than the 24 hour wheel. I have also seen these 12-hour subdials on Poljot International and Aviator regulator-style watches, as well as Denissov chronographs. They are designated cal. 31863, but the movements are not marked as such, and still advertised, in many cases, as a cal. 31681, causing some confusion.
I doubt that 400 of this variation were made. These were probably assembled with available stock cases.
The movement is an early-2000s Poljot.
Another one off the checklist! :-!