Strela made their mark on the watch industry dating back to the first model, the 3017, being introduced in 1959. The Strela 3017 was a wrist chronograph with a stopwatch function and a 45-minute counter and its dial had additional telemetric and tachometer scales. The watch was exclusively designed for the Russian Air Force and was produced according to strict military specifications.

Since then Strela has always held its roots in Soviet military with its mission being to fulfill the need for a precision time measuring instrument whether out in the field or up in the sky. These first models were produced by the Moscow Watch Factory working with Swiss watchmaking machines to produce their first movement the cal. 3017, based on the Venus 150.

STRELA ‘LOST IN SPACE’


Strela’s new watch, the Strela ‘Lost In Space’ watch, which opens for funding on Kickstarter today ,  has been developed by watchmaker UNIVAQUE and is a highly collectible piece for any fan of Russian watches and early space exploration.

In the late 50’s space exploration was largely led by the Russians, until the United States became involved and space exploration became a space race rocket fueled by Cold War politics and one-upmanship.

The 40mm Strela ‘Lost In Space’ watch has its roots based in the Russian Space mission the Voskhod 2 EVA. Blasting off on March 18 1965, the mission established another milestone in space exploration when cosmonaut Alexey Leonov became the first person to leave the spacecraft in a specialized spacesuit to conduct a 12-minute and 9 seconds "spacewalk". On his wrist was a Strela watch during both missions and training.

In fact the Vokshod 2 mission was plagued with problems, with Leonov unable to shoot  footage of his spacewalk because his spacesuit ballooned to the extent he could not reach the camera trigger on his leg. The re-entry to earth did not go smoothly either.

The spacecraft landed 386 km from the intended landing zone, in the inhospitable forests of Upper Kama Upland, west of Solikamsk. Although flight controllers had no idea where the spacecraft had landed or whether Leonov and his fellow cosmonaut Belyayev had survived, the cosmonauts' families were told that they were resting after having been recovered. The two men were both familiar with the harsh climate of the Upper Kama Upland and knew that bears and wolves, made aggressive by mating season, lived in the dense forest. For this reason the spacecraft carried a pistol and plenty of ammunition. So, there is plenty of heroic derring-do both in space and on earth surrounding this mission and attached to the provenance of this watch.


The inspiration for the look of the watch is based on the look of former Strela models and the 3017 Sekonda, which is hard to get hold of these days. The watch has been redesigned and recalibrated so that it is able to be worn daily, both for leisure and business, and not just while on a space mission. The watch features a laser engraving on the screwed-in case back of the watch of the Voskhod 2 and celebrated cosmonaut Alexey Leonov’s spacewalk.

The watch runs on a Seiko Meca Quartz hybrid TMI VK64A movement with hour, minute and big second hands, a small minute chronograph, small 24-hour indicator and date.

Water resistant to 50 meters, the case is made of 316L stainless-steel and has a futuristic look without departing far from the original '60s style of design. It has a mirror polished surface, while the dial has been rounded and curved similar to the '60s style. The colors are matte white and black or blue matte sun ray. The distinctive hands and indices and sub dial hands have a coating of Luma C3.

The black and white dial watch is limited to 500 pieces each. Early bird pricing is €208 for the black dial, €209 for the white dial and €210 for the Sunray Blue Special Edition, of which 90 pieces will be made and 3 of them have already been bought. Delivery is expected in March 2018.

I have a feeling this particular Kickstarter project is going to go like rocket fuel.