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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960s

Hello Comrades,

As some of you may know by now – from my fun thread https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/parcel-3789378.html - I am very lucky to have acquired a 1MWF Poljus into my collection.

There are few Russian watches you can describe as ‘very rare’ and not be accused of hyperbole, but I believe this to be one.

Over the years a few members have managed to acquire examples of this watch into their collections – I know that Comrades Mark (Ham2), Borris (Koutouzoff), Mark Gordon, Lucidor, and Vaurien have one. There may be one or two others but I cannot find them at the moment. Here are some threads on the forum which show these watches, and tell us a little bit about them…

https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/new-better-1-mchz-poljus-replace-old-one-2951882.html
https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/recent-arrival-3133-poljus-raketa-sae-proto-raketa-2255793.html
https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/rare-bird-poljot-poljus-1415922.html
https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/good-start-year-1395090.html
https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/poljus-found-927981.html
https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/wrong-hands-wrong-case-wrong-crown-wrong-crystal-my-polus-project-466231.html
https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/poljot-2410-movement-like-17-jewel-2409-plus-antimagnetic-454102.html
https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/rare-severni-poljus-automatic-1st-moscow-watch-factory-195443.html (Mark Gordon’s variant is widely thought to be a franken)

From what I know, this watch was made is very small numbers, and was probably issued as a tool watch to people who worked in Soviet North Pole stations or explored the region. The reason I believe these were tool watches is that they possess the double antimagnetic shield – one behind the movement fitted into the caseback, and one fitted just behind the dial, forming a ‘Faraday Cage’. In my opinion this extra effort and expense spent to form an effective antimagnetic shield is unlikely to have been spent creating an homage. This is certainly the case with the modern military issue Ratnik watches and their civilian dial counterparts. My piece most certainly has the antimagnetic cap inside the caseback, but I do not know if the one behind the dial exists, as it is not visible without dismantling the watch, which I am not able to do. Once it has been to Mr Ellis for a service or repair in the future, I’ll update the forum. In the meantime I’m afraid we’ll have to wait.

Here is a pic of what the double anti-magnetic fitting should look like – many thanks to Comrades Paul (Schnurrp) and Dash (Mr Oatman) for this information…



But as I say, very little is known about this old Soviet rarity, so if anybody can add to knowledge, please do go ahead and do it here – that would be great.

Here are some pics…



















The watch is in very good condition for its age, with a lovely patina on the dial and the rest of the watch only bearing the appropriate signs of wear. The movement works perfectly and keeps excellent time. One little quirk, the antimagnetic shield which sits within the case back does rattle a bit, but this is an insignificant matter to me.

Thank you very much for allowing me to share!
 

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Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

All I can say Geoff, is Wow...!!!!!! Nuff said! :)
 

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Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

Congrats! A lovely timepiece!

Looks perfect on your wrist, what diameter is it? 36mm or so?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

Thank you very much indeed for your kind words and appreciation gentlemen - very much appreciated by me. On the question of size, I understand the case is basically the same as a Stolichnie, which I see advertised at both 33mm and 34mm, so slightly smaller than Comrade Chascomm's estimation - so my friend you don't get to keep the watch this time :) I don't have one of those measuring tool things (ruler :) ) so can't be any more definite than that, but when I look at it on my wrist it does look slightly bigger than 34mm, and certainly 33mm, so I do have to wonder if there is some variation in case design for this watch and maybe it is slightly bigger than a regular Stolichnie? Maybe Comrades Mark or Borris might like to chime in here, if they have the measuring instrument... Thank you again for your kind words!
 

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Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

YOWZA!! I am so happy for you over your Poljus, what joy. And thanks for sharing about the double magnetic shields; am looking forward to hearing more (& hope seeing pictures??) at the right time for you. What is the one shield you show us made of, may I ask? :) :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

Thanks Herdingwetcats and Dutch, much appreciated! To answer your question about the materials used for the antimagnetic shield, I'm afraid I don't have that information, however I can tell you that the shield feels very lightweight - not heavy at all. I found this on Wiki about the materials that go to make an antimagnetic watch...

There are two ways of building an anti-magnetic watch:

  • The first way consists of making the moving parts of alloys chosen to be insensitive to magnetic fields. These alloys include Invar (ironnickelcarbonchromium alloy), Glucydur (berylliumbronze alloy), Nivarox (iron–nickel–chromium–titanium–beryllium alloy) and Elinvar (an alloy similar to Invar, though less resistant to magnetism and more resistant to thermal influence). These alloys are preferred by different watchmakers due to their differing properties. Since the 1950s, Nivarox and Glucydur were extensively used by watchmakers.[SUP][who?][/SUP] In the 1960s, almost all Swiss watches had Glucydur balance and Nivarox hairsprings. The anchors, escape wheels and other watch mechanisms were also made of non-magnetic metals or alloys.
  • Another way of making a watch non-magnetic is to house the entire movement into a case made of a highly permeable (magnetically conductive) material. The movement is covered by an additional soft-iron clasp to prevent the forming of magnetic fields inside the watch itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

Thanks very much Dash, much appreciated! The watch itself is very understated, but this rings true for most of the tool watches made during the Soviet era. The military issue divers couldn't be more understated, even the Sturmanskies aren't over the top with their iconology, which is one of the factors that caught my eye with this one. I think one or two of the rare Antarctic watches seem very much commemorative rather than tool in style, making them no less desirable to the collector of course, but that puts them into a different bracket. It's great that through discussion of the minutiae clues can be found to determine the original intention and production of a watch, which remained uncovered in previous threads. Thank you for your participation in that discussion, and good luck with the beast an acquiring your example!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Many congratulations Dash, such a rare piece, but not only this you have landed one in beautiful condition. It looks like someone has taken incredible care of it, worn it seldom and kept it safe in a drawer for a very long time - a magnificent specimen! Yes, that anti magnetic cap really does make a noise, glad it's not just mine that does this :) Have you managed to have a peek to see if the full Faraday cage is intact in yours?
 

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Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

Have you managed to have a peek to see if the full Faraday cage is intact in yours?
Thanks, Geoff.

I actually bought the one we were discussing where both shields are shown (here), so all parts should be intact. But no, I haven't disassembled to confirm.

As you'll recall, the seller was asking $1200 -- fairly insane, in my opinion. But I received a small bonus when leaving my prior job in Denver, meaning I had about $400 extra heading into the holidays. So, I submitted an offer for $400. It was accepted. A Christmas miracle!

That makes it my third largest purchase this year (I think you'll recall the first and second). But I've never seen a nicer Poljus for sale, so I consider it money well-spent. I'd also say this is more proof that "it never hurts to ask."
 

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Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

Beautiful pieces gents both. The two part shield makes a lot more sense to me than the normal one which I have often thought leaves the dial side vulnerable , which it seems to me is more exposed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

I wondered whether you bought the expensive one that you showed as an example Dash, great to see that one in such good condition will be preserved in your beautifully curated collection. And to be sure $400 is what I would consider to be a good price for that particular piece, always nice when a lowball offer is accepted - it just shows that it really never hurts to ask when trying to buy a piece which on the surface seems to be out of your reach pricewise.

Kev, thank you for your kind words, and I have to agree about the anti-magnetic shield with only with one cap behind the movement. The movement must be left exposed dialside, which seems to me to defeat the object of the exercise. Perhaps some anti-magnetic designs are for aesthetic purposes only, whereas on the serious tool watches like the Poljus the anti-magnetic design is in place to do the job?
 

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Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

Perhaps some anti-magnetic designs are for aesthetic purposes only, whereas on the serious tool watches like the Poljus the anti-magnetic design is in place to do the job?
I'd say any magnetic shielding is better than no magnetic shielding, so it probably wasn't just for aesthetics. But for best results, and in the most extreme environments, a complete Faraday cage is needed.
 

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Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

I'd say any magnetic shielding is better than no magnetic shielding, so it probably wasn't just for aesthetics. But for best results, and in the most extreme environments, a complete Faraday cage is needed.
I agree that it's better than nothing but it just seems strange that it is on the back , against your wrist , when I would assume the dial side is more exposed and facing equipment etc . Or am I misunderstanding the purpose of the shield?
 

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Re: Poljus (Polus) Polar Arctic explorer/worker/team member issue tool watch – CA late 1950s/1960

I agree that it's better than nothing but it just seems strange that it is on the back , against your wrist , when I would assume the dial side is more exposed and facing equipment etc . Or am I misunderstanding the purpose of the shield?
No, I don't think you're misunderstanding, but I cannot come up with a better explanation other than the manufacturers wanting to avoid additional complication or expense. It's easy to throw a thin antimagnetic cover over the back of a movement. Adding an antimagnetic layer on the dial side requires the redesign of some parts.

Plus, the designers may have not seen a real "need" for a complete Faraday cage on civilian watches. According to oldfox:

For weak permanent magnetic field it's actually must be enough only existing metal envelope of the watch. For high fields it requires additional protection.
 
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