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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Comrades,

I recently "won" what I thought was a genuine, late model Zlatoustevsky Vodolaz. Upon its arrival, I was disappointed to see that the minute hand had fallen off in transit, and worse, that the movement did not work as advertised -- rather it started and stopped. However, it came in a box with a correctly-spelled "Zlatoustevsky" on the outside and papers with a serial number that matched that on the caseback! Date of manufacture was listed as 1975 -- earlier than the typical "1977" in the more common tourist divers with graphics on the dial. Yes, it was shiny - but I knew that the later models had polished steel cases. Things were looking good -- could this be one of the last of the original stainless steel Zlatoust divers?

I knew I had to go in to fix the minute hand and take a look at the movement. This exercise revealed the ugly truth: this was not genuine Zlatoust diver at all, but one of the earliest of the infamous Leningrad "tourist divers!"

My first tip was how easily the bezel unscrewed. Genuine divers are extremely difficult to open. The movement was a genuine Type 1, but much older than what should have been inside a genuine late model Zlatoust from the 1970s.

Of course, once the movement was out, the inside of the case revealed that it was not stainless steel as advertised, but chrome plated brass. This early tourist diver carries none of the fanciful imagery of later versions -- either on the dial or caseback, and from the outside very closely resembles the real thing.

I've sent this back, and am a bit embarrassed that I fell for this (the "No Radiation" stamp should have been a red flag), but I'm posting these pictures (actually the seller's photos) for posterity to keep others from making the same mistake. All "Big Zlats" with graphics on the dial are tourist divers, but those without graphics on the dial/caseback are not necessarily genuine!

Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Strap Eyewear Metal Turquoise Fashion accessory Analog watch Watch Watch accessory Strap Fashion accessory Copper Metal Text Material property Leather Electric blue Fashion accessory Text Document Paper Paper product Text Font Paper Document Book
 

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Sorry to hear about your disappointment. What gave it away as plated? Was the brass surfacing on some areas?
 

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Probably I am too optimistic, but are you really sure about the brass? Looks really good. Mind you that the Soviet-era steel watch cases often are not of 316 L, but of a softer (and admittedly - less shiny, here you have a point) kind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lucidor & Storyteller, regarding the brass, I wish I had taken photos but was annoyed at the time and couldn't sent it back quickly enough! The recessed area inside the case, where the movement usually sits, was not plated. It was if they didn't bother plating the inside. Pictures of real versions show how the case is a milled piece of solid steel -- mine was clearly not. I saw other examples of the fake interiors online -- I'll post it if I find it...
 

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I remember when all the Tourist Divers (on ebay and several prominent retail sites) looked like this before they started tarting them up. It's been quite a few years since I've seen one.

Thanks for the warning, and I'm sorry for your disappointment.
 

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Thanks for the heads up, I appreciate it.
I think most of us would have been caught out on that one, I certainly would have been.
Sorry it did not work out.
 

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Unfortunately, early "tourist divers" were apparently very similar to the original ones. I still think that they were "downgraded" versions, made with the same toolings.

Probably your watch has a spacer (made in brown-coloured plastic) between movement and dial, to make fit the smaller Molnija movement into the case designed to host a Zlatoust movement. Can you check that?

(EDIT: i wanted to reply to Captainmur and i ended with replying to a very old thread, sorry).
 

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Lucidor & Storyteller, regarding the brass, I wish I had taken photos but was annoyed at the time and couldn't sent it back quickly enough! The recessed area inside the case, where the movement usually sits, was not plated. It was if they didn't bother plating the inside. Pictures of real versions show how the case is a milled piece of solid steel -- mine was clearly not. I saw other examples of the fake interiors online -- I'll post it if I find it...
What I can't figure out is how they missed plating an interior piece of the watch (unless it was a removable piece that was added after the plating process). Geez, it really frosts my butt every time I see one of these elaborate fakes. Mister Mike...Don't feel bad at all, I don't think I'd have recognized it as a fake at all, it's so dang elaborate. Glad you're getting your money back and that all is well as it is. Hoping that you find a real one one day.
 
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