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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I finally pulled the trigger and bid on a vintage Vostok Amphibian on eBay. And, as luck would have it, I won. The seller reports that the item was shipped today.

I'll let you know if it arrives in one piece and/or keeps decent time. In the meantime, I'd welcome any information on what it is I've purchased (especially the approximate year of manufacture), proper care and feeding of this model, whether my $31.50 (which includes shipping) was well spent, even strap suggestions (I love the irony of putting a Soviet military watch on a NATO strap).

One thing I'm especially curious about is the bezel. The markings are all black. On other models I've seen like this, the bezel is partially red. Plus, the lume dot position at 12 o'clock is filled in with black paint. Perhaps it was inauthentically "restored?"

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So I finally pulled the trigger and bid on a vintage Vostok Amphibian on eBay. And, as luck would have it, I won. The seller reports that the item was shipped today.

I'll let you know if it arrives in one piece and/or keeps decent time. In the meantime, I'd welcome any information on what it is I've purchased (especially the approximate year of manufacture), proper care and feeding of this model, whether my $31.50 (which includes shipping) was well spent, even strap suggestions (I love the irony of putting a Soviet military watch on a NATO strap).

One thing I'm especially curious about is the bezel. The markings are all black. On other models I've seen like this, the bezel is partially red. Plus, the lume dot position at 12 o'clock is filled in with black paint. Perhaps it was inauthentically "restored?"

View attachment 1279520
Here's one from Michele's collection (Michele Cuoccio's Russian Watches Website) showing how this gear type bezel should look. I believe the one on your amphibian was originally on a komandirskie as shown in the second picture below. The lume dot on the amphibian bezel is larger and covered with a small plastic disk. Not a bad start though otherwise...hands need some lume of course.





Here's mine with re-lumed hands and hour dots and a different bezel replacing its black one which I put on another watch:


Here's one from a 1990 catalog with a black bezel. The "orange bows" as seen also on mine and Michele's example are rare since this color fades with time:

 

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Congrats on your new vintage Vostok! It should be a really fun watch. One of these days I need to check out an Amphibia myself...
 

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Wow, yours looks terrific. Did a watchmaker do the re-luming, or did you do it yourself?
Thanks Dave098, I did it myself. The type 470 amphibian is one of the all-time best all-around watch designs, in my opinion and mine get a lot of wear and I find a functioning lume is necessary for me. See here: https://www.watchuseek.com/f6/watch-luminizing-tutorial-673983.html I use NoctiLumina here: NoctiLumina® Luminizing Kits

That dial on yours is a real classic. Enjoy your watch
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My Amphibia arrived from Minsk yesterday. Not bad, considering I won the auction on Nov. 11.

It's in pretty good shape. This picture over-accentuates the imperfections on the dial. With normal lighting at typical viewing distance, the dial looks nice, but age-appropriate.
But there is work to be done, and I could use some advice from you vintage Vostok vets.

First, the hands. Should I try to re-lume them myself, have it done professionally, or just order a new set of hands?

Then there's the bezel. It's in pretty good shape, and as schnurrp notes, is probably not original. I've looked a bunch of pictures of this model and it seems like there's no standard bezel, but in the pictures where a bezel similar to this one is present, the last 20 seconds of markings are red. So I'm thinking of painting this one to look the same.

Lastly, the watch keeps OK time, but is off by several minutes a day. Should I try to regulate it myself? What's a reasonable accuracy to shoot for?

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Before you order a new set of hands, you might as well have a go at reluming the old ones yourself! You're obviously confident enough to remove/refit hands so I see no reason why you shouldn't try regulating it yourself. 20 to 30 secs a day is pretty acceptable for these old Vostoks. Personally I have my own timegrapher but there are iphone apps you can you use to help you regulate your watch a lot more quickly: Kello 2: upgraded layman

Here's mine with a Murphy bezel mod:

 

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First, the hands. Should I try to re-lume them myself, have it done professionally, or just order a new set of hands?
Hands are a lot easier to do than dials if for no other reason than if you screw up you can start over. You can really mess up a dial if you're not careful.

There will be an initial investment in materials but you should be able to do quite a few sets of hands.

Whether you do any of the procedures you mention is really a personal decision because they're all doable by amateur collectors, it just depends whether you like doing that sort of thing and have an aptitude for it or have the money to spend to pay someone else to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Before you order a new set of hands, you might as well have a go at reluming the old ones yourself! You're obviously confident enough to remove/refit hands so I see no reason why you shouldn't try regulating it yourself.
I've never removing and replacing hands before, but it's my understanding that it's something a novice can do with the right tools.

20 to 30 secs a day is pretty acceptable for these old Vostoks. Personally I have my own timegrapher but there are iphone apps you can you use to help you regulate your watch a lot more quickly: Kello 2: upgraded layman
I've got an Android, but I see mention elsewhere in the forum of a similar Android app.

Here's mine with a Murphy bezel mod
Nice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I spoke too soon about the Amphibia keeping good time. It keeps lousy time.

I adjusted the regulating lever so that it's all the way in the slow position (closest to the minus sign) and it's gaining about 40 minutes a day.

I've read here in the forum that Amphibias can take a while to "break in" and become more accurate, but does that apply to a vintage watch?

If I let the power reserve peter out and try again, is there any chance things might improve?

(I do have another Vostok that keeps good time that I might be able to swap movements with, but that's another thread.)
 

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40 minutes is not something you can simply fix by regulating it. A full service is needed. A watch this fast suggests a very low amplitude of the balance wheel. Is the balance spring kinked, are coils stuck together or off centre ? Might be magnetism too.. Ask a watchmaker, a good one will immediately see the problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Took the watch to a watchmaker after work. He futzed around with it for about a minute, mentioned something about the mechanism I didn't quite follow, and handed it back to me. No charge. Watch now keeps great time.

I'll be going back to him to lume the hands, add a lume dot to the bezel, and paint the second hand red. Says he'll do it all for $25.

So glad I found this guy.
 
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