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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just bought a Molnija pocket watch on Ebay. It was listed as having an 18 jewel 3602 movement from the 1970's. I'm guessing it was made for domestic use rather than export, since it says CCCP rather than USSR. It has the Molnija name as well as what looks like a winged locomotive wheel on the dial. The numerals are large Arabic numerals, and it has an open-face case.

What I am wondering is this: it was listed as a "railroad watch". Were these truly used as railroad watches in Russia (and Turkey, as I have heard)? Are they accurate enough to keep railroad time? I know it wouldn't have met US railroad standards since I do not believe it is lever set and the regulator is not likely micro-adjustable (I have heard these are rare on Molnijas), but I won't know for certain until I get it. I bought it to be a durable everyday watch, and the price was right. It was also listed as having been recently serviced and oiled, so I won't have to have that done for a while. This is my first Russian watch.
 

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I just bought a Molnija pocket watch on Ebay. It was listed as having an 18 jewel 3602 movement from the 1970's. I'm guessing it was made for domestic use rather than export, since it says CCCP rather than USSR. It has the Molnija name as well as what looks like a winged locomotive wheel on the dial. The numerals are large Arabic numerals, and it has an open-face case.

What I am wondering is this: it was listed as a "railroad watch". Were these truly used as railroad watches in Russia (and Turkey, as I have heard)? Are they accurate enough to keep railroad time? I know it wouldn't have met US railroad standards since I do not believe it is lever set and the regulator is not likely micro-adjustable (I have heard these are rare on Molnijas), but I won't know for certain until I get it. I bought it to be a durable everyday watch, and the price was right. It was also listed as having been recently serviced and oiled, so I won't have to have that done for a while. This is my first Russian watch.
I would guess that the Molnija watches supplied to the Turkish railways would have timekeeping capability equal to the Corteberts that they superseded. given the size of the USSR and presumably long stretches of single track, like USA, Canada and Australia, it would be fair to presume a fairly tight timekeeping standard. However that might not be as tight as the US standard. Here in Australia we got by with Omega pocket watches that are unlikely to have met the US standard. So with adequate communications, railways in the USSR might have managed with fairly standard Molnija.

That's all supposition. Does anybody have any hard facts? Mark G, any comment?

Oh, one other thing: This watch design has its origins with the Turkish national railways, with the Serkisoff branding, although it was subsequentially produced with a variety of brands. I have not seen any proof that the Molnija branded versions were in any way different from the civilian export Sekonda and Marathon versions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here's the listing for mine: Vintage "MOLNIJA"~18J Railroad Pocket Watch 1970's | eBay

I did a little research after reading the above post. The Omegas used in Australia definitely would not have met US standards for railroad watches, but I suspect the US might have had more stringent requirements than other countries.

Hey, if it keeps good time, and is sturdy and reliable enough for constant daily use (I have preferred mechanical pocket watches for daily use for many years), that's all I care about!

By the way, is the Molnija 3602 a standard "pull out the stem to set the time" movement, or does it use another mechanism?
 

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By the way, is the Molnija 3602 a standard "pull out the stem to set the time" movement, or does it use another mechanism?
Yes, it's the usual modern setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
As it turns out, this isn't my first Russian watch. Around 2002-2003 I bought a watch from a company called Cowboy Emporium, with my monogram engraved on the back. They no longer carry watches, though they still have a nice array of fancy chains and fobs. The one I bought is badged "C.E. Time". It used to be water-resistant, but the gasket has since decayed. For years, I thought it was a Chinese watch, because the inside of the case is marked "China". Last night, I took the back cover off for the first time in years (since I bought the watch), and what did I find but a Molnija 3602 movement! It is obviously a cheapened, post-Soviet one - there are no compensation screws on the balance, the finish is rough, and some of the jewels seem a bit smaller. My biggest gripe is that the movement and case do not match - a plastic sleeve surrounds the movement to make it fit. Still, it's not quite as bad as that - the bridges aren't brass, for one thing, and it does keep halfway decent time. Here are some pics:
Watch Pocket watch Fashion accessory Metal Silver Pocket watch Watch Stopwatch Metal Fashion accessory Pocket watch Watch Fashion accessory Silver Metal

Compare to the inside of my EBay "railroad" watch":
Watch Pocket watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Stopwatch
 

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There is a serie of these pocket watches with all different themes on the back cover, one of them is a locomotive.
Others are a ship, a motor cyclist, a bear, a wolf and others. They have a variaty of dials too. So I doubt that this is a real railroad watch.
Here you can see a Molnija I bought a few years ago:



However there are Molnija pocket watches, that could have been supplied to the Turkish railway (as I understood), they have a different back cover. But it is not sure they were actual used by the Turkish railway, as you can read here:https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/serkisof-calendar-raketa-42668.html
 

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Monija pocket-watches were, indeed, used by railroads. There are several on my website:

#0069 was used by the Czech national railways in the 1960s.

#0674 was used on the Tashkent line inside the Soviet Union in the 1950s.

#1191 was made in 1952 and was manufactured for use by the Turkish national railways. Note that in addition to the familiar locomotive, the back cover also includes the logo of Turkish Naitonal Railways.

I suspect, but I am not sure, that the locomotive image on #1191 was originally made to order for the Turkish company Serkisof, which supplied watches to the Turkish railroad, and was only later used decoratively on pieces for general distribution. However, on these later pieces the logo of the Turkish national railroad was removed.

If you would like to view these and other Soviet railroad watches, go to the search page on my website, scroll down to the 'Other' category and click on 'railroad'. I think there are about 20 railroad pieces all together.

-- Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Any idea if they were still being used in the 1970's, with the 18-jewel movement? There seems to be an awful lot of them coming out of Bulgaria with the locomotive case back, some of them (like the one I bought) rather worn, as though through much carrying. The seller believes (or says he believes) that mine was used on Soviet railroads.

How do the 18-jewel 3602 movements compare to the older 15-jewel 3602's, in terms of timekeeping and reliability? I'm talking Soviet era, not the later, cheaper ones (like my "C.E. Time", which does not have screws in the balance wheel).
 

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As it turns out, this isn't my first Russian watch. Around 2002-2003 I bought a watch from a company called Cowboy Emporium, with my monogram engraved on the back. They no longer carry watches, though they still have a nice array of fancy chains and fobs. The one I bought is badged "C.E. Time". It used to be water-resistant, but the gasket has since decayed. For years, I thought it was a Chinese watch, because the inside of the case is marked "China". Last night, I took the back cover off for the first time in years (since I bought the watch), and what did I find but a Molnija 3602 movement! It is obviously a cheapened, post-Soviet one - there are no compensation screws on the balance, the finish is rough, and some of the jewels seem a bit smaller. My biggest gripe is that the movement and case do not match - a plastic sleeve surrounds the movement to make it fit. Still, it's not quite as bad as that - the bridges aren't brass, for one thing, and it does keep halfway decent time.
At the risk of seeming pedantic, I will point out that this is not actually a Russian watch, but rather a Chinese watch featuring a Russian movement. Or we could call it a half-Russian ;-)

Prior to the introduction of the Sea-Gull ST36 and Hangzhou 9000 series, the universal generic true pocket-watch movement below the cost of the ETA/Unitas was the Molnija 3602, so there were various famous brand and private label pocket watches and wristwatches assembled in China using the Molnija movement. The reason for the plastic spacer is to save cost. Chances are this case was also offered to clients with the option of a cheaper wristwatch movement, so a spacer would be required anyway. At least with the Molnija you get a decent lump of metal inside, and it sounds better too.
 

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I have a 18 jewels Marathon railroad poket watch.. Don't know anything about it..All I know about it is that it was given to my grandfather awhile he was working on the rainroad for USSR..I've seen alots of them but mine is sightly different then the ones i have seen.Can anyone help me out to find atleast a wed site so i can find out more about it.
 

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I have a 18 jewels Marathon railroad poket watch.. Don't know anything about it..All I know about it is that it was given to my grandfather awhile he was working on the rainroad for USSR..I've seen alots of them but mine is sightly different then the ones i have seen.Can anyone help me out to find atleast a wed site so i can find out more about it.
Marathon is a Canadian-owned brand. They were one of several foreign companies that ordered the Molnija railway-style watch with their own brand. Theoretically they should all have been exported so there is a bit of mystery in how your grandfather got one signed for Marathon rather than Molnija.
 

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Can anyone help me out to find atleast a wed site so i can find out more about it.
Thereare many Russian wed sites nowadays ;)
 

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There is a serie of these pocket watches with all different themes on the back cover, one of them is a locomotive.
Others are a ship, a motor cyclist, a bear, a wolf and others. They have a variaty of dials too. So I doubt that this is a real railroad watch.
Here you can see a Molnija I bought a few years ago:



However there are Molnija pocket watches, that could have been supplied to the Turkish railway (as I understood), they have a different back cover. But it is not sure they were actual used by the Turkish railway, as you can read here:https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/serkisof-calendar-raketa-42668.html

I just got in almost the exact same watch you have pictured above (I started a thread about it,) I LOVE IT! Only difference is mine has more of an orangish colored dial and the CCCP emblem of quality right of 9 o clock.
 

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Pocket watch Watch Stopwatch Fashion accessory Dear All, You can see an original Serkisof 18 jewels pocket watch in pictures.
It was produced by Molnija with the brand Serkisof for Turkish Railways company. They were given to those who were retired from the company. They are rarely found in the market. I got this from my uncle. It is still working perfectly. The price is up to 35000 USD in Turkish market.
 

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Pocket watch Watch Stopwatch Fashion accessory Dear All, please see an original Serkisof 18 jewels pocket watch. It was produced by Molnija with the brand SERKISOF for Turkish Railroad Company. It was given to retired workers. The price in Turkish market rises up to 35000 USD. The one in the picture is mine.
Regards
Ibrahim KARATAS
Istanbul
 

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At the risk of seeming pedantic, I will point out that this is not actually a Russian watch, but rather a Chinese watch featuring a Russian movement. Or we could call it a half-Russian ;-)

Prior to the introduction of the Sea-Gull ST36 and Hangzhou 9000 series, the universal generic true pocket-watch movement below the cost of the ETA/Unitas was the Molnija 3602, so there were various famous brand and private label pocket watches and wristwatches assembled in China using the Molnija movement. The reason for the plastic spacer is to save cost. Chances are this case was also offered to clients with the option of a cheaper wristwatch movement, so a spacer would be required anyway. At least with the Molnija you get a decent lump of metal inside, and it sounds better too.
Greetings ! I have a few Russian wristwatches and trying to get into pocket-watches. I just stumbled into this listing and was wondering if this is an authentic Russian-made molnija 3602...or as you said, would this be one of those assembled in China using the Molnija movement? Here are a few pics...








The seller is from Bulgaria [under Bai_Nesh]. The pocket watch is in good working order. Since it is a 1970s watch...just wondering if the servicing cost [cleaning & oiling] is north of $30 to $50? Appreciate your feedback. Best regards.
 

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That looks like the real deal to me. The case and dial are derived from the Turkish Railways pattern, but now with a nautical theme on the back. i can see from the photo that the watch is ticking, so unless there is some hidden damage, servicing costs should be at the lower end of the scale. It is a very straightforward movement to work on.
 

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I just bought a Molnija pocket watch on Ebay. It was listed as having an 18 jewel 3602 movement from the 1970's. I'm guessing it was made for domestic use rather than export, since it says CCCP rather than USSR. It has the Molnija name as well as what looks like a winged locomotive wheel on the dial. The numerals are large Arabic numerals, and it has an open-face case.

What I am wondering is this: it was listed as a "railroad watch". Were these truly used as railroad watches in Russia (and Turkey, as I have heard)? Are they accurate enough to keep railroad time? I know it wouldn't have met US railroad standards since I do not believe it is lever set and the regulator is not likely micro-adjustable (I have heard these are rare on Molnijas), but I won't know for certain until I get it. I bought it to be a durable everyday watch, and the price was right. It was also listed as having been recently serviced and oiled, so I won't have to have that done for a while. This is my first Russian watch.
Hej, I actually found the one with micro adjustable levers in the mechanism… it must have been used for precision time keeping!!!
 
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