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Thinking about how what a great value the Vostok Amphibia is for the paltry price made me wonder...if exactly the same watch was produced in Switzerland or Japan, how much would it cost? Probably more, but how much more?
 

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The biggest difference would probably the cost of wages for the people putting them together, and arguably real estate. I can't imagine the building in chistopol being in a prime location, if you would want to put that building at Lake Konstantz or in between 2 alps you would have a problem. the machinery was amortized a long time ago. I would hazard at least double if not triple the price.
 

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Seiko already make a very comparable watch in the Seiko 5 for around the same price. Many people would also argue that they're better quality than Vostoks....
 

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Seiko already make a very comparable watch in the Seiko 5 for around the same price. Many people would also argue that they're better quality than Vostoks....
Lampoc is right. Those Seiko 5 watches are even cheaper then todays Meranom Amphibians. For €65 you have a very reliable automatic watch.


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Re: Seiko 5 models. The less costly models tend to be made in Seiko's off-shore factories which lowers the cost somewhat; there are JDM Seiko 5 models and they are significantly more expensive.

Re: Switzerland. Bearing in mind that the Vostok is almost fully in-house, it would only be fair to compare it against a Swiss maker who's also fully in-house, but it might not be easy to find one nowadays; most Swiss makers are "assemblatori" rather than "gran construttori" - borrowing terms from the motor racing circle - so it would make the comparison unfair.
 

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Lampoc is right. Those Seiko 5 watches are even cheaper then todays Meranom Amphibians. For €65 you have a very reliable automatic watch.


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Yes I have one of those (well my wife now has it) and it's a very decent watch, same 7s26 movement as in the ubiquitous SKX, accurate and reliable. It loses the water resistance but gains mineral crystal glass and a glass caseback if you like that sort of thing. It's not made in Japan, but Russia is as cheap as anywhere on earth for an established watch factory to operate out of (even cheaper now with the exchange rate). In any case an automatic watch doesn't have to be any more expensive than this (or a vostok).

I like vostoks not because of the pricing but because of their history, sort of, and the customisability. Over on the modding forum people buy more expensive invictas and even SKXs to tinker with and I think hang on, they are actually not so cheap as to be disposable.
 

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Seiko 5 is waterproof to 30 meters which means barely at all. Amphibian to 200 so it can be considered a waterproof automatic Although it might be a similar price it is much better value as an outdoor automatic. It is difficult to compare the Amphibia with a Swiss made mechanical because none outside Russia are made entirely in one place anymore. Its a bit like comparing oranges and pears really. We should just enjoy the anachronism of Vostok while we still can and think how lucky we are.
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Also, it's OK to get a seiko with date display because they give you fast-setting for both day AND date. A vostok would leave you cranking through several months until both the day and date were correct....and then again at the end of each short month... ;)
 

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Amphibians are better watches than the basic Seiko 5's, IMO. More WR, tougher, larger, hand winding. The mineral crystal in a Seiko 5 isn't really an upgrade, since it's kind of scratch prone, and you can't buff out the scratches the way you can with acrylic. Their only advantage is the 7s movement has a quickset date, and an exhibition case back to show the (very ugly, IMO) movement, which is something newbs to autos like.
SKX007s, which have similar specs, but a much more solid case and a ratcheting bezel, are regularly sold in the $160 range. I'd guess if Seiko made the Amphibian, it would be marketed somewhere north of the Seiko 5 Sports models, but lower than the 007-- so probably about $120-- ~60% more than they're sold for presently- and the SE models for probably $140.

Swiss, who the hell knows, since most Swiss watch prices are based on branding, scarcity, and reputation. That said, I don't think a Swiss company would make a model like the Amphibian anymore. 1-they wouldn't sell a rugged movement that has a 10 year service life advertised, 2-there's not enough margin in these cheap watches, and 3-the market demand for "better quality" would make just about any swiss manufacturer shy away.
 
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Well, Seiko has their diving watches, which are better build than Amphibia, such as Monster, etc. Their price is higher though, few hundred dollars.

Then you have Orient, which has similar models to Seiko's - also higher quality than Vostok, with more expensive tab as well.

Keep in mind that most of common Seiko and Orient watches are not made in Japan anymore.
 

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Also, it's OK to get a seiko with date display because they give you fast-setting for both day AND date. A vostok would leave you cranking through several months until both the day and date were correct....and then again at the end of each short month... ;)
I do not think the Vostok is that bad, especially since the 2427 and 2428 have both been discontinued ages ago.
 

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If I were to throw out a number, I would guess that an $80 Amphibia would cost $120 if it were made by Seiko and $400 if it was Swiss. Mind you, the Swiss would never make a watch like the Amphibia - it's very Russian design.

Seiko watches are generally fairly good value for the money. I'd say that basic Seiko 5s are better quality than Vostok Komandirskies, though they are rather unexciting. I don't think they are a fair comparison to the Amphibia though - they are only water resistant to 30m. A better comparison would be the Seiko Monster. I have one and I quite like it (I'm wearing it right now). Compared to a Vostok Amphibia, it has better lume, a better bracelet, a better bezel, better accuracy, quick-set day/date, and hacking (4R36). However, it is 3 times the cost of the Amphibia, has a worse hand winding feel, and doesn't have the same charm, character, and history that the Amphibia has.

If you compare a Seiko and a Vostok on a timegrapher, you will see that the basic Seiko 7S26 movement is significantly more consistent than the Vostok 2416. I have checked around 8 Seiko movements and 10 Vostok movements on my timegrapher, and I can say that on average, the Seiko 7S26 has 1/3 the positional variation of Vostok 24xx movements. With that said, I have a Vostok 2415 with only ~7 s/day positional variation, and I have had Seikos with 30 s/day positional variation, and even one with 50 s/day variation. They vary with the draw, but Seikos are usually more consistent. On the wrist, the difference is less pronounced.

Seiko does better regulate watches out of the box though. Seiko tends to aim for +5/day on average, while Vostok aims for +20/day.

Overall, both Seiko and Vostok make good watches for the money. Seikos are somwhat better quality, but are a bit more expensive for an equivalent watch and perhaps less interesting. Due to better quality control, quickset date, and lower positional variation, I'd have to say that the Seiko 7S26 is better than the Vostok 2416.

If I were to rank the common movements in my wristwatch collection in terms of accuracy and quality, I'd say:
Poljot 3133 > Seiko 6R15 > Seiko 4R36 > Seiko 7S26 > Raketa 2609 > Vostok 24xx

Even then, I like my Vostoks.

P.S. Both my 3133-powered watches consistently run within 1 or 2 seconds a day. They are remarkably good - better than most $1200 Swiss chronos.
 
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