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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, looking at that video (not the best camera action, but very informative) it is actually quite a lot. The video is from 2018, but I count it still representative. The movement, cases, crowns, dials (the print process is quite impressive - it is really manual), it is as full manufacture as it can be. Real people making real things. Now I value my latest addition (Vostok Komandirskie K02 received today) even more :)

 

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Seriously though, amazing video. Thanks for sharing Sci. you are absolutely right when you say 'real people making real things'.
I started out watching it and it felt like a 'health and safety' training film where you have to note all the violations and there's a Q&A at the end!
When I saw the one worker wearing a dirty 3-ply paper dust mask, I actually imagined one of his co-workers muttering "It's health and safety gone mad!".

I feel like the only way a factory like that would be allowed in the UK in 2021, would be if it was partly funded by a grant from the EU as some kind of an example of 'living history' and the machines were allowed to run for 20 minutes a day.
It's just incredible that this unchanged production, with it's vintage machines is still producing affordable high quality watches!
But it's also a bit worrying wnen you consider how fragile this set-up is! Say that factory had a bad fire and those machines were lost. It's not like they can just re-build and upload the CAD programs into new machines. Those old machines are the whole deal and if they were lost, it's over.

I also loved the dial printing. I'd been a bit unimpressed by the printed dials to be honest. I guess I assumed they were laser printed of something similar.
Now I know they are hand printed with such care in a multi stage process. I love them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
But it's also a bit worrying wnen you consider how fragile this set-up is! Say that factory had a bad fire and those machines were lost. It's not like they can just re-build and upload the CAD programs into new machines. Those old machines are the whole deal and if they were lost, it's over.
You are right, this was also what I was thinking about. On one hand a lot of the process is in the skills of the workers (applying the lume dots anyone?), but I was comparing the manufacturing process with some modern CNC productions I have seen, and there is no portability. But as long as it last, the Vostok will be still a vintage watch produced today, super cool :)
 

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Vostok is one of the last remnants of old world watch manufacturing outside of haute horology. When people say "mechanical watches have soul", this is the kind of thing they picture - dozens of people laboriously checking, adjusting and regulating; vintage manual machines operated by expert machinists, etc.

After the quartz crisis mechanical watches went from being necessary tools to jewelry, with designs and manufacturing changing to reflect that. With CNC machining centres, robots, clean room set ups and so on manufacturing also got a lot more efficient. But Vostok ignored all that and just kept doing what they always did - making old designs on old machines. The marketing of major Swiss brands still try to portray them as having that old world craftsmanship, ("buy mechanical for soul and craftsmanship, quartz is soulless and cheaply mass produced by robots") yet brands like Rolex pump out close to a million watches a year in fully automated factories. Not to say that these watches are bad by any means, but all the romance is gone. Vostok not only does it all the old way, but does it for a price that anyone can afford.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Another very interesting movie from the period when Vostok went from state-owned to a private company after the fall of the Soviet Union. Impressive the size of the thing at that time, the dependency of the city from the plant, all the social activities and ownership. It is unfortunately only in Russian, but even watching it you can see the design studio, the computer center, all the housing, kindergarten for employee's kids, etc.
 

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Hi Sci,

Great job in finding another interesting video, thank you.
As I was watching it, it just looked in many ways like my childhood in the UK in the 1970s, then I remembered that you'd said it was post USSR!

The date at the end looks like 1993?
You can see the insidious decay of capitalism already....
Just look at this Gordon Gekko flaunting his Nokia! ;)
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I notice one thing that's not changed, the ladies working the machines have the same look on their faces that factory workers everywhere have!

Loved the truck! I'd heard there was a video somewhre, but I'd never seen it before.
You have to hand it to Vostok, they might not bother to regulate the watch properly, or even get the dial perfectly straight in the case. But you CAN drive a truck over it!

P.S. If they' tried that with a 650 case, the sharp edges would have slashed the tyre!
 
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