Collecting Russian Watches

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Collecting Russian Watches

Post by koimaster » March 5th 2018, 10:25am

Why You Should Be Collecting Vintage Soviet Watches

Not long after the Stock Market crash of 1929, Dueber-Hampden, a watchmaker based in Canton, Ohio, went bankrupt. Slow sales and the tumultuous financial state of the world no doubt played a factor. But according to some historians, the operation was using outdated technology while other watchmaking outfits in the U.S. were the envy of the world. In 1930, Dueber-Hampden’s tooling and equipment were loaded into boxcars. Their destination, along with 21 former Dueber-Hampden employees? Moscow.

This equipment and the know-how of these employees — along with additional gear from Ansonia Clock Company (another failed U.S. clockmaker) — would help form the basis of the First State Watch Factory, and subsequently the beginnings of the entire Russian watch industry, which would become one of the most successful in the world. Up to this point, watches in were in short supply in Russia and were either imported or cobbled together in small workshops from Swiss-made movements and parts. In either case, watches were not an of the people kind of good. ... n-watches/

Within the next decade, Russia was producing hundreds of thousands of watches. Many were based on old Dueber-Hampden pocket watch designs, but the Russians eventually collaborated with watch companies abroad to further their development. For example, the Russian government set up a contract with French watchmaker Lip in the 1930s to collaborate on movement production — it lasted all the way until the 1950s, resulted in many high-end movements that Soviet watchmakers ended up improving on.

In fact, improving watches from outside lands, generally for reliability’s sake, seemed to be the Russian watch industry’s modus operandi, sometimes in an apparently illicit capacity. For example, as Swiss watchmaker Zenith’s chronometer-grade caliber 135 gained traction in the 1950s, the Russians sought to create their own hyper-accurate watch by copying the design. According to noted Russian watch collector Mark Gordon, it’s a mystery as to how it happened. “Nobody is quite sure what happened, but the Zenith caliber 135 blueprints ended up at the Tschistopolsky factory, where a modified version was then produced called the Volna,” he told the New York Times in 2007.


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Re: Collecting Russian Watches

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » March 6th 2018, 5:00am

The article was good, until they started talking complete and utter nonsense about the Volna movements. No, it wasn't a direct copy of the Zenith 135!!! They certainly have inspired the design with the cal. 135, but that's not nearly enough to call it a copy, let alone a clone.
The gear train of the Volna is completely different from that of the Zenith. The only thing the two do share, is the fact that their gear trains were designed to allow the biggest possible balance wheel to be used. And that's where similarities end.
The "direct copy" theory is certified 100% genuine bovine fecal matter.
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