WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The history of the "Red 12" is an interesting one. Most here are probably aware of the aptly-nicknamed Pobeda 'Red 12' and the story of Stalin having a hand in its design. But the 'Red 12' aesthetic was nothing new at the time. This design philosophy was originally functional rather than artistic, and stemmed back to the beginning of the 20th Century. During these transitional years, when pocket watches were making their way to wrists, pocket-watch conversions could be found with the 12 positioned either in-line with the crown or perpendicular to it:

DSC06699.jpg
(Crowns at the top -- where is the 12?)

As a result, some watchmakers took to painting the 12 red for swift identification and better readability, regardless of orientation.

Of course, at the turn of the century, the Russians didn't yet have their own watchmaking industry. But this didn't keep watches out of the pockets – and off the wrists – of Russian citizens. During these years, a handful of Swiss watchmakers were responsible for producing watches for the Russian market. Two such manufacturers were William Gabus and Henry Moser, both of whom employed the 'Red 12' design in their own early wristwatches. If you wish to learn more, I will leave it to those who have already written at length about the early days of Russian watchmaking, both of whom are regular contributors to this forum. (Thanks, Alan and Geoff!)

Birth of Soviet Watchmaking
https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/w-ga...th-produced-approximately-1915-a-2534618.html

Now for the good stuff. First, the Moser. As an Imperial-era trench watch, I suspect it dates to around 1910, though this is just a rough guess -- the movement lacks a date stamp and, as you can imagine, records on these are scarce. This piece was suspiciously inexpensive, but upon closer inspection you can see why. It is missing the rear cover plate and has what appears to be a replaced minute hand (not entirely sure about this). The hinge on the inside cover is also broken. Still, I happen to love the overall aesthetic and am not bothered by these minor shortfalls. It works well and is a joy on the wrist. Not bad for a watch over 100 years old.

DSC06659.jpg

DSC06655.jpg

DSC06664.jpg

DSC06665.jpg

DSC06668.jpg

DSC06662.jpg

DSC06673.jpg


Next up, the Gabus. Without records to prove otherwise, I estimate this watch was produced around 1915. The design is highly similar to the Moser in terms of size and appearance. This watch, too, was quite cheap, but took a bit of a restoration work to get it to its present condition. The crown is a modern addition (sourced from a Volna) and the sub-second hand appears to have a broken tip or is replaced entirely. In the grand scheme, these are minor shortcomings which don't really get under my skin. Unlike the Moser, which requires the depression of a small button just beneath the crown in order to set the time, the Gabus employs the more modern keyless system wherein the crown is pulled out to set the time.


BEFORE:
5959901881.jpg

AFTER:
DSC06680.jpg

DSC06677.jpg

DSC06686.jpg

DSC06684.jpg

DSC06696.jpg

DSC06693.jpg


These are my two oldest Russian pieces and will be cherished for hopefully many decades to come.

Spaisbo!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
314 Posts
Thank you for the very interesting backstory and the links Dashiell; a lot of stuff in there I didn't know yet :-!.
And congratulations on both pieces, they're in absolutely amazing condition for their age. Great job on the restoration of the Gabus too, did you do it yourself?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,294 Posts
Many congratulations Dash, on those fantastic and extremely gorgeous pre-Soviet era additions to your wonderful collection!
What an interesting way to introduce these historic pieces to the forum – and yes, like others, I have learned some interesting facts from this excellent thread. Your Moser and Gabus are both beautiful, and the before and after shots show how fortunate it is that these important pieces have landed into your collection – many congratulations again.
My red 12’s say hello…

Solid silver Moser left/metal case Moser right



Gabus



Pobeda
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks, all!

Thank you for the very interesting backstory and the links Dashiell; a lot of stuff in there I didn't know yet :-!.
And congratulations on both pieces, they're in absolutely amazing condition for their age. Great job on the restoration of the Gabus too, did you do it yourself?
Replacing a crown, as you probably know, is child's play. It's just about finding the right size and appearance. And cleaning a porcelain dial is actually very straightforward. All you need is a moistened Q-tip and a delicate touch, and stains come off quite easily. This couldn't be more different from modern printed dials, wherein "cleaning" usually results in an afternoon of cursing, a forever-ruined dial, and a broken heart :-(

As for the case, it just needed a good polish. This was done by my friend in the Ukraine prior to shipping -- Дякую, Роман!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Many congratulations Dash, on those fantastic and extremely gorgeous pre-Soviet era additions to your wonderful collection!
What an interesting way to introduce these historic pieces to the forum – and yes, like others, I have learned some interesting facts from this excellent thread. Your Moser and Gabus are both beautiful, and the before and after shots show how fortunate it is that these important pieces have landed into your collection – many congratulations again.
My red 12’s say hello…

Solid silver Moser left/metal case Moser right

Gabus

Pobeda
Thank you, Geoff!

Not to discount any of the incredible Imperial-era pieces you show (stunners!), but that Pobeda is most interesting. It has the larger subdial, which I find is quite rare on these. Can you tell me what year it was produced?

To my knowledge, there were at least three Pobeda 'Red 12' dials produced, and I'm trying to get a handle on whether they were manufactured consecutively or concurrently. I have one like yours en route (wth the bigger subdial), but I have not yet seen the movement so it's going to be a surprise 
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I’ll be jiggery pokeried
:-d

So, according to the movement stamp, this piece was produced in 4[SUP]th[/SUP] quarter 1952…
...and at Maslennikov! I would have expected a 1MWF movement, not ZIM. But this is definitely possible, as I believe ZIM produced Pobedas from 1951 onward.

It will be interesting to compare mine once it arrives. Thanks for the photos!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,294 Posts
You are more than welcome! And brilliant, thank YOU ever so much for the info - how interesting! I really look forward to seeing your photo's, and the outcome of your exploration of this, and indeed my watch's place in all this - fantastic!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
314 Posts
Thanks, all!



Replacing a crown, as you probably know, is child's play. It's just about finding the right size and appearance. And cleaning a porcelain dial is actually very straightforward. All you need is a moistened Q-tip and a delicate touch, and stains come off quite easily. This couldn't be more different from modern printed dials, wherein "cleaning" usually results in an afternoon of cursing, a forever-ruined dial, and a broken heart :-(

As for the case, it just needed a good polish. This was done by my friend in the Ukraine prior to shipping -- Дякую, Роман!
Very nice job :) cleaning up a case and buffing out the scratches on a crystal is about as far as I'd trust myself to do in fear or ruining something ;-). Makes sense about the dial, I didn't realize it was made out of porcelain.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,339 Posts
Gotta chime in here! First, thanks for the history and education. The pieces are unusual and intereseting.
It's posts like this that really keep these forums cranking!
Best,
Scott

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,749 Posts
:-d



...and at Maslennikov! I would have expected a 1MWF movement, not ZIM. But this is definitely possible, as I believe ZIM produced Pobedas from 1951 onward.

It will be interesting to compare mine once it arrives. Thanks for the photos!
If not Pobeda at that early date then what else, Geoff? That ZIM Pobeda from '52 is a real surprise to me and potentially a very rare and desirable watch.

Thanks for pointing out the large sub-second hand dial, Dash, as I was unaware of that detail on these tiny little pieces of history. I am now very curious to see what movement is in yours.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,294 Posts
Indeed Paul! I must admit I had no idea I had anything out of the ordinary - I simply bought a Pobeda Red 12 because my collection 'needed' one. I did not give any more consideration to the piece other than the dial/case/movement combination looked good to me, and I have to say that the Zim stamp on the movement didn't register on my radar. It only cost me about $20 so I wasn't too worried. Certainly the sub-dial did not register at all, because like you did not know of the different variants. If this piece turns out to be extremely rare, collectable and desirable as you suggest it might be, I will be over the moon. Thank you for your thoughts!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,624 Posts
If not Pobeda at that early date then what else, Geoff? That ZIM Pobeda from '52 is a real surprise to me and potentially a very rare and desirable watch.

Thanks for pointing out the large sub-second hand dial, Dash, as I was unaware of that detail on these tiny little pieces of history. I am now very curious to see what movement is in yours.
Interesting; I always thought the small 29.6mm Pobeda "Red 12" was made at 1MWF and Chistopol, but not at ZIM. There again, Pobeda movements can be easily swapped around, and we sure can look further into it if period documentations going that far back can be found.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,294 Posts
Do you know what other Zim produced watches from 1952 had movements which can/could have been interchanged with these Pobeda Red 12s?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,294 Posts
That's interesting! Looking at that I think we have to be open to the possibility that my Red 12 might have had a movement transplant from one of these. Small matter for me if so, just delighted to have my hands on a 'large subdial' variant. however my fingers remain crossed that this might be a rare production from Zim as well, it will certainly be interesting to see the innards in yours when it arrived Dash!
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top