About Soviet Watch History
Why Soviet watches?
The Soviet watch industry has a unique story to tell. Unlike other great watch-making countries, for instance, Switzerland or England, the Soviet Union does not have a centuries-long history behind it. Soviet watch-making history began when Bolshevik troops captured the Winter Palace in the year 1917 and like the whole Soviet Union; it had to be built from scratch.
The Soviet political system demanded from Soviet engineers to be independent in the supply of materials and parts. As a result, they created a vast watch-making empire, only in a few decades, producing all parts in the Soviet Union, without exception, even parts for the most complicated calibers. Such achievement demanded tremendous effort in research and development and the result was fascinating!
Sadly, the common watch-enthusiasts mistake today is the lack of knowledge in Soviet watch-making and consequential comparison of Soviet pieces to the later Russian models. There are in fact, an enormous number of different calibers and types of Soviet watches, having special features, unusual technical solutions and plenty of different complications. Because of the quick evolution of the industry, a lot of different prototype watches with very limited production spans exist. In Soviet watch-making, unlike other Soviet industries, there were several independent watch-making factories, producing their own watches with their own calibers, which competed among themselves. In turn that led to an increase in the quality of watches and technical advancement. In Soviet watch collecting circles, the discussion about watches with a production quantity of less than 100, is not uncommon.
Besides the enormous diversity of known types of watches and different in-house calibers, there is also a variety of commissioned models for military and space programmes. The Soviet Union was not only an international military superpower, which played an important role in the Second World War but also a superpower, which dominated in the space race with achievements such as Jury Gagarin's space mission. For all those involved in these programs, there were a lot of different types of commissioned watches with high-quality calibers and different functions released. These watches were all out of reach for normal citizens and are very sought-after among collectors today.
So, if you want to go a little deeper than looking at nice, cheap and new Amphibias, still using movements designed in the Soviet Union, and want to do a little research on Soviet watch-making, be prepared for a long journey that can last a lifetime. It will lead you from important historical pieces to rare prototypes, bearing strange technical solutions, never seen before in the watchmaking world!
You have probably noticed another good aspect of Soviet watch collecting - the price hype has not stricken yet! The prices have grown significantly in the past few years, but are still more than reasonable. There is no need for fear of bursting price-bubble in this case.
Now it's up to you, you can either buy a Swiss mass-produced watch with a generic ETA movement, or you can buy a piece of history.