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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear All,

in order to clarify many important for all of us issues and stop spreading wrong information and rumors, we decided to organize an interview with the manufacturer of famous Vostok watches, Chistopol Watch Factory.

We just got an agreement of Vostok representative, Mr. Vitaly Podyachev, Director of VOSTOK INTERNATIONAL LTD., to give an exclusive interview to WUS via us, official distributors of Vostok watches in Germany.

Please, post your questions here. Depending on the number of questions and content, we will group them, if necessary, translate and communicate to Mr. Podyachev. We will translate his/their answers and, after approval, post them here. Please, be patient, as this could take some time.

Boris
 

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I think that all of us would know how is the financial situation of Vostok, but I'm unsure if it is a question that can be posed.

I'd like to know also how many watches, and how many movements Vostok is producing a year, and how many employees.

Are there new models in project?
 

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Thank you for setting up the interview! This is a wonderful opportunity to communicate directly with Vostok.

Questions:

Will the Vostok factory in Chistopol continue to produce watches and movements?

Are we still going to be able to buy classic Vostok designs such as the 'Scuba' Amphibian?

How many people work at the Vostok factory?

Are any of the Soviet-era staff still working at Vostok?

Are watch cases manufactured at the Vostok factory?

What other items besides watches does Vostok manufacture?

Will Vostok ever consider making a re-issue (like they did for the 1967) of the Amphibian pictured below? It is a very beautiful watch.


 

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Yay!
I think we should stick to minimum questions, which can bring maximum information for us. Domi's questionnaire is OK to me, I didn't consider the soviet-staff and reissue of the round Amphibia. Could we add:
- Is there ongoing development of new mechanical movement (quick date-set, chrono, etc)?
- Does Vostok consider subcontracting some activities of complete chain (like they now produce even the ruby-jewels in their Briolet sub-brand)? <- This can be merged with Domi's question about the watch cases.

Dr.Watchmaker, thank you for this initiative! Could you please explain us in addition, what is the relation between ОАО Чистопольский часовой завод "Восток" and Vostok International LTD?
 

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Boris,

Great idea that.

What interests me is this: being in a planned economy - or established in a planned economy environment, any enterprise would have developed into its own microcosm, and that applied to Vostok as well, naturally. In the market economy, these enterprises need to adapt; some succeeded and some failed. How is Vostok coping, in terms of transitioning from an enterprise which grew out of planned economy, to an enterprise which has to exist - and flourish - in the market economy environment.
 

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I don't care which questions are asked, as long as they solicit the following answers:

1) BOCTOK will remain a Russian company making Russian watches with Russian movements.

2) BOCTOK remains committed to our flagship Komandirskie and Amphibia product lines. Future expansion of these lines will build upon classic themes, e.g. Amphibias with brushed stainless cases based on '70s and '80s designs; and Komandirskies with traditional '80s-style cases, bezels and dials. Future Amphibias and Komandirskies will have only cyrillic dials -- we recognize that "New Komandirskie" and "Amfibia" watches are not worthy successors to our classic product lines.

3) Pricing of current and future Komandirskie and Amphibia models will be in line with current pricing expectations (i.e. <US$60)

4) We value the feedback of BOCTOK enthusiasts, and will keep our WUS friends informed of new developments; soliciting feedback when appropriate.
 

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I think we should stick with the questions, not with terms of treaty :)
Otherwise, this is more or less everyone of Vostok enthusiast is interested. The questions of Domi will give the intention of Vostok for Mister Mike's points (some of them), and will indirectly give feedback to the guys what the public is interested for. Then, it is up to their management how they will lead the company.
BTW, I think slight price increase could be acceptable if the quality is more sustainable. This will attract the attention of more Orient and Seiko fans to Vostok (as the risk for warranty issue is higher with Vostok, even by design Vostok is more robust).
 

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Mister Mike,

It is all very well for us to want Vostok to keep making inexpensive watches, but if they cannot operate as a viable enterprise, it would not be a good idea.

Certainly we would not want Vostok to become a competitor to Vacheron Constantin or Audemars Piguet, or even Panerai, the point is, they are stuck with the resources at hand, both in terms of assets and workforce (and the social responsibility of keeping the townsfolk of Christopol employed). That is a great challenge which the management has to face; whether the inexpensive watches we have always enjoyed fit into it or otherwise becomes less relevant in this big picture.
 

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One more question - there was an article in Russian, that Vostok is going to be supplier to Russian army again. The contract was expected to end of 2009:
- Is there any progress with Russian army contract for military watches?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Since the number of questions is already quite large, I would start to translate them and send to Vostok. If some more are posted before I send these ones I will try to include those as well.

As regards the relation between Vostok International LTD and ОАО Чистопольский часовой завод "Восток", my understanding was that this is sort of commercial department responsible for export. To find out more precisely, I will add this question to our list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Forgot to add. As some of you already did, you are welcome to send questions either to my e-mail or simply PM them. You can formulate your questions in other languages as well (we will have no problems with Ukrainian, Russian and German for sure).
 

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My previous list is just answers I'd like to read (not necessarily what is practical, or what I'd reasonably expect to read). I'm just glad that there are still people in Chistopol to answer our questions, and I hope they'll continue to produce great mechanical watches for many years to come.

Truthfully, while I think that the $50 Amphibia is one of the best deals there is, I'd pay a few more $$ for an improved version, as long as it's still a BOCTOK. The Amphibia 1967 is a beautiful watch, but a bit overpriced for a Vostok. Perhaps if they're able to focus a bit more on core models with classic Vostok designs, upgrading to glass crystals and better bands/bracelets to widen their appeal, they'll be able to charge more and expand their fan base.

Personally, I like being able to buff out an acrylic crystal, and picking out a new band for a Vostok is half the fun; but those two items are "low hanging fruit" where some simple upgrades will generate some excitement for the brand. Right now, if you want modern features, you often have to give up some of the classic Vostok charm. The key is striking the right balance, while still offering a rugged mechanical watch that a working man can afford.
 

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i agree with a few above, esp with keeping the price of the amphibia under $60.
the number one question would be if they would bring back previous designs or special editions (much like the 67)
 

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I don't have any questions to add that have not already been suggested, but I wanted to say thanks for setting this up. It is always good to have the opinions and words of people in the industry and it is especially useful with Russian watches where there remains a good deal of mystery and misinformaiton.
 

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Excellent, thanks for doing this, it will be very interesting to learn what they say. I guess my question would be "Is there anything we as watch lovers and collectors can do to help?"

Also, I would definitely pay more for an improved Amphibia that still adheres to the values of the original, but not sure if they have any plans in that direction.
 

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Hi all!

I have a few questions:
I saw on this forum that Vostok started work on a *true* GMT movement for Vostok-Europe.
1) is this true?
2) if yes, what phase is the developpement of this product in?
3) Exclusive to Vostok-Europe?! Really?! :-|

thanks
 

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I'd also ask about their global marketing & distribution strategy. From my US perspective, if Vostok were able to sign with a distributor who could afford well-placed advertisements and product placements, I'm confident that they could move many more watches. That recent YouTube video of the Russian show was great -- a good product placement guy could get an Amphibia featured on an American show (I'm thinking something on The Discovery Channel), carried in sporting goods stores, etc. While jewelry stores may be snobbish when it comes to Russian watches, I believe that Komandirskies and Amphibias have a unique appeal -- especially to men who don't frequent jewelry stores anyway -- and there are many untapped distribution venues.
 
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