WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Having recently purchased a Vostok-style Komandirskie Chronograph after researching the different models , I thought I'd share my thoughts regarding the origins of the watches and perhaps get some more input from others in the know. I have read through most of the old threads and have visited Michele's and Mark Gordon's websites to examine the pieces in their collections, as well as whatever other information I could find on the i-net as well as in my catalogues.

I've divided the different productions into to four catagories:

1) The initial Navy and Airforce models with the old-style Poljot hands and lume:
Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Strap

The seemingly blue second hand suggests an early `90s chronograph rather than late '80s as suggested by a few sources(e.g. JL's 96 catalogue). However, it's not clear as to the number of years these chronographs were in production, so until we see a number of movement pics, the beginning and end to this initial production run will remain a mystery. As for who actually produced these, it is my opinion that all of the components are from Poljot. Whether or not it was assembled in Italy is another question.

2) My theory on the second version of Komandirskie Chronographs is that all components, apart from the movement itself, were produced and assembled in Italy ca. 1995; by whom, I don't know.
Watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Jewellery Material property

Note that a) the font on the Tank model dial is unique to the presumed Italian production, b) the hands are unique to these pieces and not found on any other Poljot chronograph, c) the bezel font is more rounded, and d) the luminous on the Navy and Air Force models is more refined when compared to the original Poljot dials.

According to information gathered from Juri Levenberg's "Watches of Russia '96 Sammlerkatalog Nr.7", the following three chronographs were produced using cases, dials and hands manufactured in Italy:
Analog watch Watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Jewellery

The hands on the first two chronographs(102, 103) are unique to these chronographs, as is the casing on all(milled a little bit differently on each model). The third watch has Sturmanskie chrono hands, so I'm guessing these were imported from Poljot. As well, all are labeled "Komandirskie".

Having already noted the above, when I was searching for cases similar to those used for the Komandirskie chronos, I found this chronograph in the same catalogue:
Watch Measuring instrument Material property Analog watch Fashion accessory

The case on this watch is identical to the presumed Italian Vostok-style Komandirskie chrono case, and the hands are identical to the hands on the previously pictured Italian designed chronographs. Despite not being listed as of Italian design, this watch has identical features to both sets of Italian designed chronographs. I believe this was another one of the Italian designed chronographs.

Now, lets compare the initial Poljot case with the presumed Italian case:
Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Brand

Note that the Italian case is more refined around the crown and encompasses it to some degree, whereas the Poljot case is more loose fitting around the crown similar to that of a Vostok case?

At this point, it's important to note that future models of this chronograph utilize a case similar to that of the initial Poljot design, but with a case-back identical to that of the presumed Italian model.

3) The subsequent 1996 Komandirskie chronograph production, which I believe to be completely Russian/Poljot, as found in JL's '97 Sammlerkatalog Nr.8.
Fashion accessory Watch Jewellery Watch accessory Analog watch

On this chronograph, produced only one year later than the presumed Italian design, numerous changes have been made:

a) All hands are Poljot. The red minute hand has been replaced with a hand identical to that of the seconds hand - typical Poljot.
b) A larger Poljot crown has been installed.
c) The bezel has been replaced with another pseudo-Vostok mainstay.
d)All of the dials have been replaced with new versions that share the identical number font.

I wonder why they would bother to make these changes? Unless, of course, they never did produce the '95 chronographs.

4) And last, and probably least coveted of all the Vostok-style Komandirskie Chronograph productions, we have the MakTime era creations with who knows how many different variations:
Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Strap

Note the 0s on the bezel are more rectangular than the oval 0s on the '95 bezel.

Anyway, to sum up my thoughts, I believe that:

a) Poljot produced the initial batch of Vostok-style Komandirskie chronographs in the early '90s for the export market.

b) An Italian company produced, along with other 3133 equipped chronographs, Vostok-style Komandirskie chronographs utilizing Italian manufactured components in 1995.

c) Starting in 1996, Poljot continued to produce their version of the Komandirskie chronograph, on and off, into the 2000s.

d) Vostok had nothing to do with any of this.

I trust that Mr. Levenberg won't mind me using his photos to advertise his very useful books. I'm also assuming those others who's photos I have used won't mind since they were previously posted to this forum.

I would love to see some movement photos as well as read the opinions of others on this matter.

Edit: Here is another Buran chronograph with similar hands and casing to the above mentioned pieces that was marketed in Germany as an "ars mundi" collectable. A very nice watch, indeed! I wonder if Poljot-International had something to do with the production?
Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Jewellery
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,224 Posts
Very intersting points, i have your same opinion about these chronographs. Some years ago i have posted some examples, describing all the differences between the different series.

The first version was officially distributed in Italian jewelries by Time Trend/Mirabilia during the late '80s. Mchap posted some interesting catalogues (don't remember if it was on WUS or Orologiko) with the advertising of the Vostok chronographs (first series). I think they were really made in late '80s, however i think the case is not Russian. It wasn't "recycled" in any way in Russia during the following years, as usual in many cases.

The following case (the one with slightly smaller diameter, 22 mm lugs and mineral crystal) is instead something of totally different IMHO. Looks and feels cheaper, although the mineral glass. Still used in Russia till now for the old stock versions. I have also noted that that type of case has the strange tendence to produce a sort of yellow patina after some months, it can be buffed away with a finger, but clearly it's not a sign of good quality. I wonder what's the material/coating of that case, i NEVER seen a chrome-plated Russian case producing that yellow patina.

Did not know about the other "Komandirskie"-signed models, very interesting. However, i think Germany too is involved in those "special versions". Ars Mundi company marketed some Vostoks KGB too, with all-original parts. We discussed so much about them here:

OROLOGIKO :: Leggi argomento - Gli anni della moda: 3 KGB 3

sorry, it's all in Italian.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Michele, thank you very much for the information, I was able to find out a lot more about Russian watches sold in Italy at the Orologiko forum!

I recognized the dial on the KGB watch as it is very similar to a ca. 1990 chronograph that I recently purchased (sellers pic):
Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Jewellery

The chronograph, a watch produced for the 1990 Camel Trophy race in Siberia, has very similar hands and roman numerals as the KGB watch.

Furthermore, the case and hand design of this chronograph has been utilized by Poljot-International for well over a decade!
Analog watch Watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Material property

The question is, where were these hands and cases produced prior to Poljot setting up shop in Germany? It sounds like Mirabilia, Time Trend, Royal Trade and Ars Mundi are just distributors.

Also, the PI logo is very similar to the logo on the back of the chronograph and some of the other watches such as the "Raky".
Watch Watch accessory Analog watch Strap Brand


******************

Many of us outsiders would not be familiar with the Italian watch market during era of Mikhail Gorbachev and perestroika. I found this article dated Mar 18, 1989 from Reuters on the subject:

Soviet Watches Winning Hands-Down in Italy


March 18, 1989|From Reuters

MILAN - In an era of high-tech electronic gadgets, the Soviet Union's old-fashioned mechanical watches are conquering fashion-crazy Italy. Genuine Soviet-made watches are selling in classy Italian jewelry shops as fast as the Soviets can produce them, and the rest of Europe and the United States are the next targets.

Less than 5 months after the first Cyrillic-inscribed "Made in the USSR" timepieces crossed the border, the Soviet watch industry has received the highest of accolades--thousands of fakes are appearing on the streets.

The Soviet Union has long been the world's third-largest producer of clocks and watches--after Switzerland and the Far East--but until last fall, exports were confined to selling parts and movements to Western makers.

The chunky, 1950s-style wrist-watches, including five models previously made exclusively for the Red Army, are the most successful Soviet consumer products to reach the West under Mikhail Gorbachev's new era of reform.

Status Symbol

Displayed in high-class Italian shops next to gold Rolexes and diamond-studded bracelets, the utilitarian Paketa and Red Army Boctok watches have become a sought-after status symbol.

"We have convinced jewelers who sell watches worth millions of lire (thousands of dollars) to display side by side these simple Soviet products which cost as little as 100,000 lire ($75)," said Orazio Occhipinti, who last fall clinched the European distribution contract for Paketa.

Occhipinti said that his entire stock of 40,000 Paketa watches was sold out in the 2 months before Christmas and that he that has no doubt that the 150,000 more he plans to import to Italy in 1989 will get a similar reception.

"They are an anti-status status symbol. . . . The Russians seem a bit astonished. They can't quite understand why they're in such demand," Occhipinti said.

His Milan-base Mirabilia firm won the contract against competition from about 50 Italian companies keen to capitalize on the wave of "Gorby fever" sweeping Western Europe.

Eager for Hard Currency

Eager for hard currency, the Russians needed little persuasion to sell, and Italy, whose 6 million watch sales a year make it the third-largest consumer market in the world, was the ideal place for a test launch.

"Once a watch was simply a watch and something you bought for a lifetime. Now it's a fashion accessory which also tells the time. Men change them like they do ties, and for women they're like earrings," said Occhipinti, whose teen-age daughter has a collection of "about 20" cheap and cheerful watches.

"Given the success, we could have asked twice the price, but we decided to market the Paketa as a fashion item aimed at the middle and upper classes," he said.

Following a major Italian trade fair in Moscow last October, another Italian company, Time Trend, won a 5-year contract to handle the first ever commercial sales of the legendary Boctok wristwatch.

The five distinctive models, bearing the design of either a parachute, submarine or tank for the respective divisions, a plain red star for infantry and a special version for all commanders, are available in the Soviet Union only to the military, importers say.

On sale in Italy since late January for 280,000 lire ($210), they are being snapped up by collectors and the ordinary public despite minimal advertising.

Interesting!


******************

A translated Italian website with pictures of the original Poljot Komandirskie Chronographs assembled in Italy:

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Ffinestraweb.netau.net%2Fboctok_vostok_komandirskie_crono.html&act=url

I seems to me that the original Air Force and Navy chronographs were not meant to be complete rip-offs of the Vostok dial design as the 1995 versions were.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
868 Posts
Reading the discussion on the Russian forum (watch.ru) it is my understanding that these were commissioned by the Chistopol Factory to do a joint venture with Poljot (when it was alive). These were designed for the tourists and the cases were produced in China. LINK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't think there's any evidence of a joint venture, megaforcer, but there's always a chance that some of the parts were produced outside of Russia.
Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Jewellery

The two on the right are made up of available parts. The one on the far right is the one "Stalingrad" posted and is especially frankened. Whenever you see bold font on the date ring it's clear the watch was assembled post-2000 and is not from the original 1990s production. The one on the left looks well put together and may have been produced in some numbers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,224 Posts
I don't think there's any evidence of a joint venture, megaforcer, but there's always a chance that some of the parts were produced outside of Russia.
View attachment 510076
The two on the right are made up of available parts. The one on the far right is the one "Stalingrad" posted and is especially frankened. Whenever you see bold font on the date ring it's clear the watch was assembled post-2000 and is not from the original 1990s production. The one on the left looks well put together and may have been produced in some numbers.
The one on the right has hands from late Poljot, pre-Volmax productions, they are present on my Shturmanskie SS-20 and Okeah from early 2000s. About the case of the 2nd series, i always doubted that it was a Russian product. A Russian case, even if badly chromed, never produces oxidation. Dating those watches at mid-'90s (except the ones still for sale today), the outsourcing from China or some other country seems a likely scenario.

Polmax3133: the "basilika-shaped" logo was used first on the "Italian" Vostoks (special versions like the "1945", based on the original product made in Russia) and used by the Italian importer for Raketa or other products too. The fact that Poljot International used the same hands is an interesting hint. Indeed there is a "red thread" that ties those "Italian" and "German" productions, but i think that they were produced by several companies in different places.

For example, i have recently talked with a guy who was selling some Komandirskie chronographs (very first version), and he claimed that he worked for 20 years in the facility were they were assembled, used also by Sector (!). And indeed it gave me several spare parts as gift, he got those old spare parts (plus some old stock watches) when he stopped working there. Very fascinating story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, Michele, I also have a Sturmanskie and 2006 Volmax Okeah with those hands. The watch looks quite odd with the new hands and early 90s chrono seconds hand.

That's interesting about the defective chrome plating. The watch I purchased is from the '95 series and has the Air Force dial similar to the one in the first production. We'll see if mine develops the same problem over time. Mark Gordon has the "Parachute" version from that series and his looks to be in good shape. I also asked the seller to send me any documentation he may have for the watch. I know it comes with the wooden box, but that's all I know for sure.

And, yes, we need more ex-employees from all of the Russian watch factories to come forward and explain these mysteries!!
 
G

·
Having recently purchased a Vostok-style Komandirskie Chronograph after researching the different models , I thought I'd share my thoughts regarding the origins of the watches and perhaps get some more input from others in the know. I have read through most of the old threads and have visited Michele's and Mark Gordon's websites to examine the pieces in their collections, as well as whatever other information I could find on the i-net as well as in my catalogues.

I've divided the different productions into to four catagories:

1) The initial Navy and Airforce models with the old-style Poljot hands and lume:
View attachment 507317
[....]
d) Vostok had nothing to do with any of this.
[...]
The first version of these Chronograph, have the mark Boctok on the movement.
Here, you can see the picture:

The word "Boctok" is on "balance bridge" (ponte bilanciare).
So, are we sure that Vostok had nothing to do with it? I'm not sure.
If somebody have later versions, he could see if "Boctok" is also on their movement.
Excuse me for my bad English,
My best regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you, mt77! This movement dates from late 1988 through early 1989.

Now I'm starting to wonder about whether or not Vostok was involved with this first batch of chronographs. :think:

Assuming that Mirabilia and Time Trend are competitors in the jewellery business, it would make sense that Mirabilia, given that they hold the rights to distribute Poljot, would take legal action against Time Trend if they were to start distributing a Poljot product. I'm also presuming that Time Trend was the distributor of the Komandirskie Chronograph, and as such may have been obliged to disguise the fact that the watch is not a product of Vostok, Chistopol. Interesting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
[...] This movement dates from late 1988 through early 1989.
[...].
Hi!
Are you saying that movement dates until early 1989?
I have two if this chronos (first serie), I bought them as second hand, so I cannot be sure of their story, but I'm quite sure that one is of 1989 and the other was selled to me like post 1991.
I am not a watch repairer, so I'm afraid also of opening bottom (fondello), but, if I will open the bottom (fondello) of them, I will say you of the word "Boctok" is inside both of them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi!
Are you saying that movement dates until early 1989?
I have two if this chronos (first serie), I bought them as second hand, so I cannot be sure of their story, but I'm quite sure that one is of 1989 and the other was selled to me like post 1991.
I am not a watch repairer, so I'm afraid also of opening bottom (fondello), but, if I will open the bottom (fondello) of them, I will say you of the word "Boctok" is inside both of them.
Yes, finestraweb, the movement pictured above dates from the later half of 1988 through the first half of 1989. Date ring font, chrono bridge stamp, and serial number are all factors. The question is, how long was the first version of the Komandirskie chonograph produced? It sounds like there was a five year contract, so maybe between 1989 and 1994.

I would recommend that you take the watch to a watchmaker if you want to open the case-back for the first time. Then you can always keep it loose so it can easily be opened with a case back opener. And if you do, don't forget to post some pictures! :-!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Hi,
I made the madness this morning of opening my second chrono, of which I'm not sure about its production; it's seems to me that seller said me that it was post 1990, but I have not found email where he said this to me.
I can confirm you that also its movement has the word Boctok, as you can see by this nice picture that I took:

Still about the role of Boctok, I noted that its name is also marked on bottom:

I didn't open the second piece which was sold for being of 1989 (it belongs the photo above), because my heart beat already too much after having opened one, I didn't wanted to test too much my luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,872 Posts
Hi,
I made the madness this morning of opening my second chrono, of which I'm not sure about its production; it's seems to me that seller said me that it was post 1990, but I have not found email where he said this to me.
I can confirm you that also its movement has the word Boctok, as you can see by this nice picture that I took:
.....
However, you can see (inside the black rectangle) the Poljot logo on the 3133 movement. So we have here a movement with both signatures: Vostok and Poljot - whatever it could mean :roll:

Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Font
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
finestraweb and Vaurien, there is no doubt about the following:

1) The movement is made by Poljot.
2) The movement is pre-1990(late88-early89).
3) Mirabilia distributed Poljot
4) Time Trend distributed Vostok

What is not clear is who put the "Boctok USSR" stamp on the bridge? The black stamp is similar to what I've seen on Poljot International automatic watch rotors made by Vostok. The cases of the first series look similar to the ones later produced (post '95) by Poljot, but I don't have any examples to compare so I can't say for sure.

Did Time Trend request a chronograph from Vostok so that they too could tap into that marketplace? :think:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,872 Posts
Yes yes, of course, I saw it.
Thanks, honorable Vaurien, perhaps I read about you in Italian forum.
What I konw, it's only because I read forums
Wow, "honorable"! are you teasing me? :-d
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My 1995 version of the Komandirskie chronograph arrived today, and although it did come with the wooden box, no documents were forwarded. I did remove the movement for case cleaning, but no signs of any "Vostok" or "made in" stamps. The movement, however, is ca. '95 as predicted, and the serial number (44464) is only a few thousand higher than Mark's(ID#1237). Plus, as mentioned above, the hands are definitely not from Poljot. In my opinion, only the movement is from Poljot.

My watch is very near 100%, with no signs of discolouring on the chrome. However, I'll monitor that over the next few months/years.
Analog watch Watch Watch accessory Strap Fashion accessory
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top