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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Everybody, I've been looking for a reliable, military-type watch for work (I supervise construction sites as part of my job) and in a moment of spontaneity bid on this guy and won. However, in reading more about ebay watches from the Ukraine, I'm not sure what I'm getting. Could anybody shed some light on what this is?

ZIM - VOSTOK VINTAGE SOVIET CCCP AIR FORCE WATCH ! | eBay

I appreciate any help.

- Gabe
 

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I am sorry to say that it's a modern fantasy watch. The case is a late model ZIM Pobeda, the movement is a non-shockproofed Pobeda-type Vostok of much earlier age and probably with a non-original movement, and the dial is a fantasy one, newly-printed to appeal to buyers who like all things supposedly "military".
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. I was reluctant to use the word 'military' in my post, as it makes me cringe to think that it's a trendy style of watch now. What I'm looking for is something that has the durability and functionality and tidy, clean looks that often come with military pieces. I'd love to get a Seiko 7A28 RAF, but that's out of my price range at the moment, and this is meant to be a knock-around watch.

Regarding this watch, I was skeptical of the auction but the seller had good feedback and this watch, unlike most of the other similar items, was actually receiving several bids, so I thought it was a good item. Nevertheless, if everything you outlined is true, is it not worth the $50 shipped? Is it misrepresented so badly that I should retract my bid? I haven't sent funds yet.

Thanks again for your help on this.

- Gabe
 

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It all comes down to whether this piece - as a functional watch - is worth the price of $50 all up to you alone.

Certainly the seller's description implied that it is a "Russian Air Force Spy wristwatch" whatever that means, but then "ZIM-Vostok" should get alarm bells ringing: you would not get a car branded "Ford-Buick" after all! Besides it never claimed to be original, and "unique" does tend to suggest "It's the only one in the world becase I made it out of bits in my garage".

Sure enough there is the maxim of "buy the seller not the goods" but sometimes it fails catastrophically. First, some known vendors of totally bogus pieces (for instance, our favourite dartboard "trustboy") has four-figure positive feedback reports, but that does not make his wares any less bogus. There are other vendors who offer pieces which are questionable, but if you go through them with a fine-tooth comb you might discover rare and totally correct pieces too.

Whatever your final decision is, it's up to you really. Personally, that same $50 would have bought me a brand new Vostok Komandirskie and enough change for a modest lunch.
 

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It's hard to imagine that the Soviet military would be so hard-up that they'd need to recycle 1950s movements in 1980s watches to supply their 'Air Force Spies' (surely some kind of elite unit).... Yes, it's a pure fantasy frankenwatch.

But I do like the style of that laserprinted dial in combination with those hands. It might make a nice re-luming exercise for a budding watchmaker.
 

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The movement is a nice Vostok (notice the "B" logo, for Восток), maybe better than ZIM. What puzzles me is the watch size - the case seems a standard ZIM - Samara from 80s or 90s, and they are much smaller than the 49 / 57 mm declared by the seller, usually in the 35-38mm range. The diameter of the movement is 26mm, the case doesn't seem twice larger.
 

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The movement is a nice Vostok (notice the "B" logo, for Восток), maybe better than ZIM. What puzzles me is the watch size - the case seems a standard ZIM - Samara from 80s or 90s, and they are much smaller than the 49 / 57 mm declared by the seller, usually in the 35-38mm range. The diameter of the movement is 26mm, the case doesn't seem twice larger.
Measuring off the screen, accepting 20mm band width (doubtful...18mm more likely) and using a little high school algebra, case width is about 34.5mm. Also I wouldn't "knock about" this pretty little movement. No shock, no moisture, no dust, please.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everybody for helping out on this.

It all comes down to whether this piece - as a functional watch - is worth the price of $50 all up to you alone.

Certainly the seller's description implied that it is a "Russian Air Force Spy wristwatch" whatever that means, but then "ZIM-Vostok" should get alarm bells ringing: you would not get a car branded "Ford-Buick" after all! Besides it never claimed to be original, and "unique" does tend to suggest "It's the only one in the world becase I made it out of bits in my garage".
The "ZIM-Vostok" did raise alarm bells, but I thought it was a fishing tactic and that given the number of photos of the movement and the 'translated' history of the ZIM factory included in the auction, that there was a chance the bulk of the listing was true.

It's hard to imagine that the Soviet military would be so hard-up that they'd need to recycle 1950s movements in 1980s watches to supply their 'Air Force Spies' (surely some kind of elite unit).... Yes, it's a pure fantasy frankenwatch.

But I do like the style of that laserprinted dial in combination with those hands. It might make a nice re-luming exercise for a budding watchmaker.
I disregarded the notion that this watch, or even one like it, was ever anywhere near a Russian spy. It looked simple, tough, clean, and ultimately fairly cheap.

The movement is a nice Vostok (notice the "B" logo, for Восток), maybe better than ZIM. What puzzles me is the watch size - the case seems a standard ZIM - Samara from 80s or 90s, and they are much smaller than the 49 / 57 mm declared by the seller, usually in the 35-38mm range. The diameter of the movement is 26mm, the case doesn't seem twice larger.
I think the seller uses a lot of cut-and-paste on his auctions, so there was some conflicting information on the bottom. Near the top of the listing it states a 38mm case and 18mm strap and based on some quick searching that seems about right.

Measuring off the screen, accepting 20mm band width (doubtful...18mm more likely) and using a little high school algebra, case width is about 34.5mm. Also I wouldn't "knock about" this pretty little movement. No shock, no moisture, no dust, please.
Is the movement really that delicate that it would be ill-suited to a construction site? (i.e. a little rain/snow, sawdust, while attached to a wrist swinging a hammer, etc.)

THANKS AGAIN EVERYBODY FOR HELPING OUT!
 

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Is the movement really that delicate that it would be ill-suited to a construction site? (i.e. a little rain/snow, sawdust, while attached to a wrist swinging a hammer, etc.)

!
Yes, particulary rain, I would think. Pounding nails probably okay as long as you are wearing it on left and pounding with right and don't hit it.
 
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