WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,940 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

They look like they could be related but the Poljot is a 23 jewel movement and the Cornavin is 30.
 

Attachments

·
Mod. Russian, China Mech.
Joined
·
19,434 Posts
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

They look like they could be related but the Poljot is a 23 jewel movement and the Cornavin is 30.
Fascinating! I had no idea that Cornavin were sourcing complete watches from the USSR as early as when the older 2616 was still in production, and yet the similarity of the case to the slightly later Poljot suggests that they came from the same source.

Of course the similarity may be deceptive. Big chunky TV-dial automatics were not exactly rare in the 1970s. Viewed from the side, the Poljot is probably substantially thicker than the Cornavin. All other Cornavins that I have seen using this family of Poljot movements have all been cased-up in Switzerland.

Looking at these two Poljot movements side-by-side, it is easy to see where the 23 jewel N series automatics get their reputation for superior reliability over the older 30 jewel. The base movement is a solid lump of metal and the auto module is another solid lump on top of that. By contrast, on the 30 jewel, you see a movement with all its plates shaved to reduce thickness, and then that tiny, fragile auto module embedded in the top plate. It's almost an engineering marvel, but maybe they tried a bit too hard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,940 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

The case is the same for both watches with the exception of the extra hole in the Poljot case for the day change.

The caseback on the Poljot is much deeper, however.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,382 Posts
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

Cornavin re-sold Soviet watches in the 70s. They sold Poljots and probably Slavas under that name. If I understand correctly, they were popular in Central America with assorted leftist revolutionaries, but that's hearsay.
 

·
Mod. Russian, China Mech.
Joined
·
19,434 Posts
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

The case is the same for both watches with the exception of the extra hole in the Poljot case for the day change.

The caseback on the Poljot is much deeper, however.
Very efficient! A new back and it's good to go with the new movement. It reminds me of vintage Chinese automatics which use the same case as the hand-winding version with the caseback making up the diference. You need a well-padded strap to make such a watch sit comfortably on the wrist.



For those who are not familiar with the name, Cornavin was founded in 1926 in Geneva. The made various styles with bought-in movements. In the late 1960s or early 1970s, they started sourcing movements from various Soviet factories for casing-up in Switzerland. Later their watches were assembled in Hong Kong with Soviet movements. By the 1980s, Cornavin were ordering all their watches complete from Soviet factories, so the models tend to be identical to existing Poljot and Raketa models. Cornavin-branded watches were also sold within the USSR. In the early post-Soviet years Cornavin stopped using Russian watches. In recent years, they have returned to sourcing their watches from Switzerland, offering models styled very similarly to their last pre-Soviet watches. Thanks to watch22 we now know that these stages in the history of Cornavin were not necessarily distinct, with 100% Soviet watches being offered even while Swiss and Hong Kong assembly was continuing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,624 Posts
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

Walt Odets' article on Jessica's Cornavin, with Poljot movement, Taiwanese-made dial, HK-made case and assembled in HK, always brings me a chuckle - in a good way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,197 Posts
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

I'm quite surprised by the conditions of the watches - they looks NOS or like new anyway. That shape of case is usually very prone to scratches and wear, so it's hard to find one of those "TV-watches" in extremely good conditions. |>

It's not the first time that a thicker movement is installed using a different caseback. The Amphibia of the years '80s is the easiest example. It used exactly the same case, the difference was a flatter caseback (with separate antimagnetic shield) on the 2409 hand-winding, a thicker caseback (with incorporated magnetic shield) on the 2416B automatic.

Also, about Poljot, the ultraflat 2616 was used at the same time (probably in very small quantity) even on the Poljot 100M diver. In my experience, "normal" 2616N is not so reliable, at least in comparison with a Chistopol-made 2416B. I have seven or eight of them, and their automatic module was always defective. Probably they are simply more needing of service after some years - no design faults. Curiously, my '60s Kosmos (with flatter movement) works much better.

Production (or availability) of the 2616N ended much time before the hand-winding versions, so i wonder if that was related with manufacturing costs and/or reliabilty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,940 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

Walt Odets' article on Jessica's Cornavin, with Poljot movement, Taiwanese-made dial, HK-made case and assembled in HK, always brings me a chuckle - in a good way.
Do you suspect this watch was assembled in HK from Russian parts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,624 Posts
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

Watch22, I have a strong feeling that they were both fully built at the Poljot works.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,940 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

Thanks for the feedback. Looking at the Cornavin in detail it seems "right". Often modified watches will look OK in pictures on ebay but when you get them there's something "wrong" about them.

It looks to me like this is just a marketing thing - like when a major company (like Kellogs) produces product for "house brands". Cornavin gets a bunch of watches made to its specification and sells them around the world under its name.

I imagine they went with the thinner 2616.2H 30-jewel movement rather than the 2616.1H 23-jewel movement because it's slimmer and more attractive to a foreign market. I'm wearing the Poljot right now and it is pretty fat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
Re: Twins – separated at birth? Poljot and Cornavin

And thank you too Chascomm - for a nice neat summary, very informative on your last posting in this thread
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top