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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My dear friends!

To our good luck Mr. Aleksandr Makarov agreed to answer the questions I asked him. :-d

Now I'm translating them and have necessity to ask some additional explanatory questions. So, don't comment here yet. After I submit the interview you will have the chance to comment it and, perhaps, ask new questions. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

My dear friends!

To our good luck Mr. Aleksandr Makarov agreed to answer the questions I asked him. :-d

Now I'm translating them and have necessity to ask some additional explanatory questions. So, don't comment here yet. After I submit the interview you will have the chance to comment it and, perhaps, ask new questions. :)
Here you are, guys! I'm sorry for a little delay in posting this interview. I had to wait for getting answers to my two additional questions. I received them only today on Monday.

Silversen (S): Thank you very much, Aleksandr, for your willingness to answer our questions. I didn't expect you would respond to our inquiry so fast and was pleasantly surprised at that.
Aleksandr Makarov (AM): Thank you for your attention to the Russian watch industry.

S: So, let's begin. What enterprises beside Zaria form the MakTime Watch Group?
AM: The MWG is MakTime Watch Plant itself and Zaria.

S: How many employees are involved in the production of watches?
AM: At the moment we have some 600 employees.

S: How are sales of watches and movements distributed among countries? How many watches and movements do you sell in this country (here in Russia) and how many - abroad? What countries do you export your production to? Do you feel any improvement in the economic situation now?
AM: Our sales are distributed in the following way:
• caliber 31 goes fifty-fifty between Russia and other countries;
• our MakTime brand watches - 90% Russia;
• Zaria watches - 95% home market.
We sell our watches and movements to Germany, Italy, the USA, and Portugal. We don't feel any improvements at present. It's a situation of unstable equilibrium.

S: I've read an interview with Valentin Volodko about how his company has been going through the crisis time. How have your enterprises been going through this hard time? How serious have you had decline in output?
AM: Sales volume has gone 50% down. We have had to dismiss many employees.

S: Has Zaria reached the break-even level?
AM: No, It hasn't.

S: I've read some Internet source with your interview where you said that you needed investment of about 12 million dollars. Have you managed to get any of that and if yes how much and how have you used it?
AM: We haven't received any. Unfortunately, the issue of investment isn't on the agenda. There is the issue of maintenance of production and retention of our current position.

S: Is there an understanding of importance to maintain the home industry of precision mechanics in the economy block of the Russian Federation Government? If yes, what measures are to be taken?
AM: I think they evidently don't understand. The government is trying to solve global issues.

S: Some time ago you raised the issue of necessity of the machinery leasing if there was no possibility to purchase it. Have you managed to discuss this issue with Premier Minister Putin?
AM: Why do you think that Putin could receive me?

S: How serious is the problem of the Chinese import into our country?
AM: There is no problem about the Chinese import. There is a problem about smuggling from China. According to our estimate the total volume of contraband deliveries are close to 70%.

S: Some time ago, when you just became the owner of Zaria you expressed your dissatisfaction with the attitude of the Zaria employees to their work. Do you feel any changes in their attitude?
AM: I see some changes to the better but they are not enough. Closing of the watch production can be a possible consequence.

S: Now sites selling so-called copies of famous Swiss watch brands are springing up all over the Internet in our country. Are to sell those watches legal?
AM: No, not legal.

S: Now about the situation around Vostok. We've had an interview with Vitaly Podyachev, Director of VOSTOK INTERNATIONAL LTD. It was rather positive. What information have you got about the situation in Tchistopol?
AM: I know according to mass media the process of bankruptcy is going on. I don't know any other details.

S: How is the widely announced project of watches for the Russian Army getting on?
AM: The works is making progress. Now we're in the phase of state tests.

S: Have you got any information about the state of affairs at the Petrodvorets Watch Factory?
AM: I haven't got any reliable information about Petrodvorets.

S: Recently European mass media revealed some unmasking information how Russian oligarchs are buying the Swiss watch industry. According to Le Temps, the total volume of investment is hundreds million dollars. Please, tell me, in your opinion, if that information trustworthy, how can you explain their unwillingness to invest our home watch industry?
AM: We should ask the oligarchs themselves. But I believe money goes where it feels comfortable.

S: Now let's talk about the movements produced by your enterprises. How about automatic chronograph 30644, my colleagues have been waiting impatiently for? How long will we be waiting for it?
AM: The lot of prototypes was produced in 2008 and we would be manufacturing it in the fourth quarter of 2009, but for the crisis we can't do that. Now for want of financing we have to bring preparation for its production to a stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

S: Have the watchmakers in Penza got any new calibers or those designed in the time of the Soviet Union, which can be manufactured? I've seen in the Internet some information about automatic 2615 caliber.
AM: They have, but all the works are frozen. The reason is lack of financing.


Note:
Some of our colleagues asked me to inquiry in his private letter to request information from AM about Zaria movements. Guys, we can learn that by ourselves! Just follow these links.

MakTime movements:
Modifications of 3133: http://www.maktime.ru/products/movements/maktime/3133?#
Modifications of 3105: http://www.maktime.ru/products/movements/maktime/3105?#

Zaria movements: http://www.maktime.ru/products/movements/zaria

S: Please, comment upon the information about purchase of the Slava machinery. If this information is true, is it possible to revive the popular Slava calibers?
AM: Yes, we took the machinery from Slava, but from the very beginning we didn't have any plans to manufacture their line of movements. We need this equipment for the automatic chronograph 30644 caliber and its modifications.

S: We know Konstantin Chaykin has created a tourbillion based on your 3133 caliber. Do you consider a possibility of its production, at least as limited edition? And in general, do you have any plans to bring his talent into creating new calibers?
AM: We cooperate with him and everything is possible.

S: What is the situation about the Soviet calibers produced by the FMWF, apart from 2612 Signal and 3133 caliber produced by your company? In the first place I mean 26 mm calibers: 2614, 2623, etc. Is it possible to revive them or are they lost once and for all?
AM: The 26 mm calibers are lost. As for modifications of the 3133 caliber, now we are also producing 3109 and 3114.

S: Wait a minute! We know the following modification of 3133 caliber: 3133.01, 3133.04, 31682, 31677, 31679.04, 31681, 31679 and a 3105 family (3105, 3105.04, 3105.02, and 31690). What kind of modifications are 3109 and 3114? What features do they have?
AM: The 3109 movement is one with the central second hand. The 3114 modification has both the central second hand and the calendar.

S: If in Tchistopol everything goes the worse way, how do you think, if there will be an opportunity to save our legendary 2612 Signal? I consider the loss of this caliber is one even more fatal then the loss of all the rest of the 26mm family's movements.
AM: Concerning Signal, since it was taken from Poljot to Tchistopol not a single movement has been produced. The 2612 is dead and it died not today, but as far back as five years ago.

S: What a sad end!... Okay, let's go on. How about the Molnia 36mm movement?
AM: It's lost as well.

S: It's sad, too, but expected. … I can't help asking about improvement in design. Do you have any plans to improve design of your watches?
AM: Yes, we do and the work is in progress.

S: You're producing excellent gold skeleton watches. I like them very much but I personally am not ready to buy gold watches or even gold plated ones and prefer only steel. Is it possible to see them in steel?
AM: But we are making skeletons in steel.

S: Oh, it's kind of a surprise for me. I hope I can buy one in the future. … I`ve also read in an interview with you where you bitterly remarked that the Zaria watches though good have reputation of cheap watches and it was impossible to sell them at a higher price. Besides that, the participants of a Russian watch forum said that the name MakTime as a watch brand isn't a too good one though it as a movement brand is quite acceptable. In view of that, does it make sense to revive one of the old famous Soviet watch brands such as Pobeda, Aurora, Stolichnye, etc. and in that way to unite both the MakTime and Zaria watches under common design?
AM: The Old Soviet brands have their owners. Our negotiations with them haven't been successful. For example, when we were negotiating about purchasing the machinery for 3133 caliber from Poljot we were offered to buy the name Poljot itself, but the price was absolutely unaffordable. People live according to the principle: neither for oneself, nor for others.

S: What if I ask my colleagues to try to think up a new brand name for you? How do you find this idea?
AM: It would be not without interest. At least it could direct us to a more interesting and acceptable variant.

S: Thank you very much, Aleksandr Vasilievich, for this important for all of us interview.
AM: You're welcome.


So, guys, that's how things are!
Now go on commenting it. Of course, you can ask additional questions, but they should be serious and well-grounded.
And let's try to invent a new brand for MakTime and Zaria watches.
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

I'm still digesting the interview, thanks for the effort Silversen !

I'm also sad that most of the calibers are lost.
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

According to this interview and to the previous one (Volmax), the situation is very bad.

Maktime is now the main producer of Russian movements, and if they say that the series of Poljot 2609, 2614 etc. (heart of a LOT of Russian watches) is definitively dead, this means that very few movements will remain in production.

Molnija movements are lost, Slava movements are lost (and Maktime bought the Slava machines for a caliber that probably they will never produce :-( ), Poljot 2612 alarm is lost too (and my suspects are confirmed - Vostok never produced a single 2612 movement, just purchased an old stock of movements).

The Poljot 3109 will be a very strange thing - a standard movement, with standard central seconds hand only, but not very good for slim watches (3133 and derivatives are very thick). Probably it's a palliative to the demise of the classic 26xx series.

Russian watches are squeezed between high-end Swiss production (rich people are always more protected from the crisis), Japanese and especially Chinese low-end products.

IMHO, at the end of the crisis (or during the long continuing crisis), very few Russian calibers will remain on the market. A real pity, because one of the cool things of the Russian watch industry was the variety of production. Please tell me what relatively unexpensive Swiss watch has a movement different from an ETA 2824 or similar. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

According to this interview and to the previous one (Volmax), the situation is very bad.

Maktime is now the main producer of Russian movements, and if they say that the series of Poljot 2609, 2614 etc. (heart of a LOT of Russian watches) is definitively dead, this means that very few movements will remain in production.

Molnija movements are lost, Slava movements are lost (and Maktime bought the Slava machines for a caliber that probably they will never produce :-( ), Poljot 2612 alarm is lost too (and my suspects are confirmed - Vostok never produced a single 2612 movement, just purchased an old stock of movements).

I said in one of my previous posts that MakTime is our last bastion. And if it stand up to the crisis we can expect that the history will go on.

And I want to remark, dear my friends: AM didn`t say that the 30644 would never be in production. They have problems with financing it. They need investment. He cooperates with Chaykin. He said: everything is possible.
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

Indeed, Vostok and Maktime are about all that's left of the Russian watch industry. It sure is depressing to hear that so many fine calibers (26mm family, Molniya, 2612, Slava calibers,...) are gone and will never return :-(
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

It sure is depressing to hear that so many fine calibers (26mm family, Molniya, 2612, Slava calibers,...) are gone and will never return :-(
Which will make the existing pieces much more valuable with the time. Just think about all thousands in-house movements of now ETA based swiss brands like Tissot, Omega, Rado, etc. They don't exists since decades and the remaining pieces are valued very high (not as price, but as historical and craftsmanship value). Try to look at the bright side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

Which will make the existing pieces much more valuable with the time. Just think about all thousands in-house movements of now ETA based swiss brands like Tissot, Omega, Rado, etc. They don't exists since decades and the remaining pieces are valued very high (not as price, but as historical and craftsmanship value). Try to look at the bright side.
Right conclusion and I believe the most valuable Russian movement now is 2612.
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

Silversen, thank you very much for organizing, taking, and translating this interview, and many thanks also to Mr. Makarov - I realize how valuable his time is.
I don't know if the existing Russian movements will increase in price, but I am pretty sure that we would have gained much more if one of the last real alternative engineering traditions kept going on. But I am wondering if the fall of the USSR is the reason of this decline. Now I am trying to find when the last new movement was introduced in the USSR and it seems it was well before Gorbachev. I would even say that the Golden era was late 1950s - 1960s.
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

This sounds worrisome. From an outsider perspective I thought Volmax and Maktime were fine but from the interviews the situations sound tenuous at best.

All those lost movements like molnija and the 26 calibers are quite a loss.

I was kind of curious about the pricing strategy that seems to be in effect with most Russian watch companies. Just a year or two ago they seemed to be at a nice place between the chinese and the swiss in pricing. They offered better quality than the Chinese and close or equal to the lower level swiss watches. Now though the large number of $600 plus watches seem more aligned with the low end swiss in price. Quality has improved but I wonder how many people would really choose a Volmax over say a entry level Hamilton or TAG on the international market. Granted I know nothing about the watch buisiness and I have no scientific data but it is just an observation.

Does anyone know how pricing compare in the Russian domestic market for say an Volmax vs an entry level Swiss watch?

Anyway thanks silversen for posting and translating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

Sad news! :oops:
Colleagues! I see you be in low spirits.
I'd like to bring about some humor in this realm of the sadness with one comparison. ;-)

Don`t you find the situation around the Russian watch industry looks like that in the famous Star Wars of George Lucas? AM is Jedi Master Yoda and Konstantin Chaykin - young Luke Skywalker. :-d

I guess AM himself would take it with humor. Even through e-mail you can estimate a person. I've found AM as a straightforward and steadfast man with a good sense of humor.

By the way, his answers to my two questions were sent at 06:28 Moscow time (of course, in the morning). It speaks for itself.b-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

This sounds worrisome. From an outsider perspective I thought Volmax and Maktime were fine but from the interviews the situations sound tenuous at best.

All those lost movements like molnija and the 26 calibers are quite a loss.

I was kind of curious about the pricing strategy that seems to be in effect with most Russian watch companies. Just a year or two ago they seemed to be at a nice place between the chinese and the swiss in pricing. They offered better quality than the Chinese and close or equal to the lower level swiss watches. Now though the large number of $600 plus watches seem more aligned with the low end swiss in price. Quality has improved but I wonder how many people would really choose a Volmax over say a entry level Hamilton or TAG on the international market. Granted I know nothing about the watch buisiness and I have no scientific data but it is just an observation.

Does anyone know how pricing compare in the Russian domestic market for say an Volmax vs an entry level Swiss watch?

Anyway thanks silversen for posting and translating.
Look at this:

Baume&Mercier Classima Executives Contemporary (quartz) - 51760 RUR
Baume&Mercier Classima Executives Contemporary (mechanical automatic) - 77050 RUR

Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute (C.O.S.C Breitling 22, 38 jewels) - 187680 RUR

Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronographe (Valjoux 7750) - 111700 RUR
Maurice Lacroix Pontos Rectangulaire Automatique - 47850 RUR

Tag Heuer Grand Carrera (TAG Heuer 6 RS, mechanical automatic) - 129610 RUR
Tag Heuer Carrera (TAG Heuer 16, mechanical automatic chronograph) - 135320 RUR
Tag Heuer Automatic Chronograph Day-Date (TAG Heuer 16; mechanical automatic chronograph) - 146250 RUR

Oris TT2 Team Day Date (ETA 2836-2) - 35950p.
Oris BC4 Small Second, Pointer Day (Oris 674 on ETA 7750) - 107950 RUR

Edox Grand Ocean Automatic GMT (Edox 93, on ETA 2893) - 113110 RUR

Fortis OFFICIAL COSMONAUTS (ETA 7750) - 78780 RUR
Fortis B-42 Stratoliner Chronograph Black (ETA 7750) - 88150 RUR

Frederique Constant Classics Automatic Chronograph (FC-393 on ETA 7750) - 68020 RUR

Frederique Constant Classics Automatic (FC-303) - 37360 RUR

Tissot T-One (ETA 2834-2) - 17790 RUR
Tissot Couturier (ETA 7750) - 44100 RUR

Omega Planet Ocean Chrono (Omega 3313) - 166040 RUR
Omega Olympic Collection Timeless (Omega 3202) - 171860 RUR
Omega Speedmaster Professional (Omega 1863) - 133990 RUR

There are no Hamiltons on the Russian market.

AVIATOR Automatic watch (Vostok 2416/1025530) - 9,200 RUR
AVIATOR Automatic watch (ETA-2824) - 16,800 RUR
AVIATOR Automatic watch (ETA 7750) - 66,000 RUR
AVIATOR "Hi-Tech" (3133/2704543) - 27,000 RUR
Buran Siberia (3105/1319787) - 12,500 RUR
Buran (31681/4421984) - 20,400 RUR
Buran Automatic watch (ETA-2824) - 16,000 RUR
Buran SA "AERO" (ETA 7750) - 76,500 RUR

Vostok Europe Ракета N1 (2426/2205047B) - 11,685 RUR
Vostok Amphibian (2416164/420334) - 1,824 RUR
Vostok Amphibian -1967 (2415/190476) - 8,750 RUR
Vostok New AMPHIBIA Scuba - 5,572 RUR

Today's currency exchange rate: $1 = 30.8754 RUR

Is that a graphic comparison?
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

I just wonder, with the situation from ETA as I understand it (stopping sales of movements to others outside the Swatch group), I wonder if only the Russian industry could hold on for just a bit longer and perhaps there will be a market for suppliers of movements of all types to replace ETA, which might help the Russian industry? :think:
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

I quote this answer:

Besides that, the participants of a Russian watch forum said that the name MakTime as a watch brand isn't a too good one though it as a movement brand is quite acceptable. In view of that, does it make sense to revive one of the old famous Soviet watch brands such as Pobeda, Aurora, Stolichnye, etc. and in that way to unite both the MakTime and Zaria watches under common design?
AM: The Old Soviet brands have their owners. Our negotiations with them haven't been successful. For example, when we were negotiating about purchasing the machinery for 3133 caliber from Poljot we were offered to buy the name Poljot itself, but the price was absolutely unaffordable.
About Maktime watches, i think the name should be changed for sure. It sounds and feels like any English watch name on this world.

I don't believe it's hard to find another name. Russian history is plenty of glorious names. Too bad the "Soyuz" name was put on Chinese products (this shows that a Russian name is not enough to enter in the people's heart).

And if the Maktime brand is owned by a man called Makarov, let's call the watches "Makarov". I find it much more interesting. There are Makarov pistols though - so i don't know if the Makarov name is already registered.

So, call the watches "Alexandr Makarov". Personal, direct and sounds good. Much more than Maktime.

Well, we could help them with a poll, why not. :)
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

I just wonder, with the situation from ETA as I understand it (stopping sales of movements to others outside the Swatch group), I wonder if only the Russian industry could hold on for just a bit longer and perhaps there will be a market for suppliers of movements of all types to replace ETA, which might help the Russian industry? :think:
With the current financial crisis, i believe that ETA will think about that (now old) decision.

The problem for Russian movements is that they are not enough appreciated by people who buy Swiss, and that they are not enough cheap (nor full of fancy complications) for people who buy cheap Chinese-based products. They must work on their image first.
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

michele, I was thinking about Soyuz as well. Unfortunately MakTime sounds to me as watch maker from Macedonia :)
The greatest watch-makers in USSR were named after space topics. Even Vostok isn't because of meaning "East", but because the space program "Vostok". Chaika is also not simple the bird seagull, but the nick-name of Valentina Tereshkova. So, let's open Roscosmos web page and inspect the current names of Russian space ships or programs:
Soyuz (used)
Solyut (yeah)
Proton (come on...)
Zenith (hahaha, no way)
Cyclon (no)
Rokot (wtf)
Kosmos (I think it's nice anyway), космос (danger to be read as kocc-mocc).

Also, I like very much Zaria name and I think for the international market they can use it for high-end watches. In Cyrillic "Заря" looks pretty nice with two out of four specific letters.
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

Look at this:

Is that a graphic comparison?
Yeah it looks like all the swiss watches are a bit more expensive in Russia (than in the US at least) which makes prices more competitive. The answers from Volmax and Maktime both seem to indicate that the domestic market is still the largest individual market.

Thanks!
 

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Re: News and Comments from MakTime: Aleksandr Makarov`s Exclusive Interview for WUS Russia

michele, I was thinking about Soyuz as well. Unfortunately MakTime sounds to me as watch maker from Macedonia :)
To me it sounds like "Macaroni", it's not a noble name :-d

Also, I like very much Zaria name and I think for the international market they can use it for high-end watches. In Cyrillic "Заря" looks pretty nice with two out of four specific letters.
I like Zaria, too! :-!
 
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