Is the crisis over?
Almost everyone I meet
was quite satisfied with
business development. But it could be sensed
is still an insecurity in the
At this year’s Baselworld
exhibition Russia was presented by
Konstantin Chaykin, member of the AHCI, with his
masterpiece, a mechanical watch with a new solution of
lunar phases indication.
name means "moon walker" refers to a Russian un-manned lunar lander
that went to the moon.
Chaykin is a very accomplished watchmaker and
I think Konstantin is the closest thing I've ever come to
meeting a genius in watchmaking.
He's someone who has a talent and an out-of-this-world ability to build
timepieces with a unique
the most expensive watch that
I have ever tried on!
This original way of indication reflects the real situation in the
night sky of the Earth in the best possible way. The crown is shaped
in the same way as the lunokhod wheels and the back of the half-moon
says "The dark side of the moon". The heart of the watch is a unique
caliber, designed and built by Konstantin Chaykin specifically for
Vostok Europe presented some
novelties which can be expected in april/may.
There es a new 46mm N1
and some new variants for very successful Anchar. Also new are the
chrono versions of some well known models.
A new version of the caspian see monster with polished case and with
Igor Zubovskij, CEO of Koliz-Vostok
(Vostok-Europe) said that business
is going well for them, so that gives me hope that there is
increasing demand for Vostok movements. It's true that Vostok Europe
uses Seiko movements, but there are still plenty of them with a
For instance these
familiar models, all of them are equipped with Vostok Automatic
Raketa (Petrodvorets Watch Manufactory)
Finally I could see the new Raketas, looks like
they did a good job!
Some nicely designed and
well finished models with quartz movement.
This design here is a
reminiscence to their roots.
The following movements are produced completely in house in the
Raketa 2609HA, 2614, 2628, 2623, 26690
Now they are working on putting back to production the Raketa
Automatic 2627 they should be ready this year.
The old production line for the Famous Raketa 3031 Atomatic Alarm
still is in the factory, maybe some day....
Something they found in a drawer of the old design bureau... a
blueprint for a Raketa Military with integrated identification tag!
in a Stronghold of capitalism.
I never thought I’d see
Soviet Watches at the Baselworld fair!
If in the near future the Raketa factory is profitable enough they
plan to "save" more factories...
Funny detail... a picture from my website proudly
decorates each box of
their watches :-)
Volmax as the owner of the name Sturmanskie, celebrates
the 50 years of human spaceflight since Yuri Gagarin's epic
first flight with six different models.
Three different 3133
Chronos with a globe on the dial and a portrait of the cosmonaut on
To bad that the globe does not rotate. Could
have been a nice detail and quite easy to do with a 31681 Movement.
Comes wit PVD and SS Case.
A remake of Gagarin's
famous Sturmanskie comes with white, silver and black dial.
The silver version of this iconic watch just so happens to be
the best looking variant since
the original version. Caseback and case is the same on all three
They all look much
better in real life,
there was a very bad
light for shooting.
had some new creations to
show. He has some plans for the Shorokhoff line to move away from
the "Russian Image". For quite some time they are developing a own
movement in Alzenau, so some Shorokhoff watches will be completely
made in Germany in the near future.
handicraft pieces, skeletonized to the max.
On the right side of the
pic the new line called Avantgarde.
The design is classic, minimal, and a little quirky. I guess that’s
why it’s called the Avantgarde.
Use of large numerals
and chronograph subdials adds a comforting look that I really love.
The detailing is quite impressive. I love the use of the contrasting
colors on the dial, as well as the stylized shapes of the hands and
Found this add in a
The worlds first ever
mechanical timepiece with 1/100th of a second display! They talk big
so I had to make a picture with my old Slava 1/100 stop watch :-)
girls, cars, alcohol
and and Mr. "watchkomrade" Craig Hester
Making watches is
HARD!Due to the ongoing financial
crisis, the watch biz is definitely
no picnic. Making watches
is one thing... making people buy them is another.
That may be old news but everyone I
meet was modestly content
and not too euphoric about their
I started my Baselworld tour with Poljot
Alexander Shorokhoff showed me all
his newest creations from all his Brands (Poljot-International/Basilika/Alexander-Shorokhoff)
The SOYUZ - APOLLO, with a Limited
edition of 500 is now available, it commemorates the
legendary Soviet-American space flight of 1975. With this flight,
the Soviet crew of the space ship “Soyuz” under A. Leonov’s command
and the American crew of the “Apollo” under T. Stafford’s command
managed to suspend the “Cold War” for a moment in time. It was
without a precedent in history that space ships from two different
nations docked to each other. The world press dubbed this
extraordinary event the “Handshake in Orbit“.
A. Leonov, the first man in open space.
This watch is
equipped with an automatic movement, double barrel mainspring and a
“world time” display. It also has a “Day & Date”- display with quick
set function. I love the details like the Time Zone Indicator for
Baikonur + Cape Canaveral and the Soviet/US Flags on the crown.
The latest creation from Poljot International is a very nice Watch
with a plain and clear design. The refined Slava Automatic looks
really nice, you can see all the details
through the transparent back.
These pictures do not
reveal the radiant beauty of
There also is a new line
of Basilika watches with a transparent amber case back and a
commemorative watch for the famous Russian Boxer "Kostya Tszyu".
The Alexander Shorokhoff line is (as usual) just breathtaking.
new Fedor Dostoevsky comes
now also as a chronograph version and there is a new model dedicated
to Alexander Pushkin with a 2014 hand engraved and skeletonised
the watchmakers from Vilnius, had a well designed booth in Hall 2.
On display the best seller from the
VE-Production, the impressive Ekranoplan together with their
A cool presentation with a
dimmed showcase, the enormous luminance of the
Tritium Light Sources) is impressive.
The new Anchar Diver, an automatic
professional Diver Watch with 300m Water Resistance ,
and GTLS in green and yellow. Comes
in a special box with integrated and easy replaceable rubber and leather straps.
This watch commemorates the K-222
she was the world's
fastest submarine, reaching a record speed of 44.7 knots (82.8 km/h)!
The new designed Vostok Europe GAZ-14
now also equipped with the
The question on the tip of my
tongue was of course what's going on in the Vostok Factory in Tschistopol?
Igor Zubovskij, CEO of
(Vostok-Europe) told me that he just was
there some weeks ago and he explained me the whole situation.
First Vostok Europe has a very
large stock of movements, there will be no delivery bottlenecks in
the next years.
The factory in Tschistopol is
a very complex construct, the
conclusion is that the production of watches and movements is still in normal progress
and they also take orders for a long period ahead.
Business as usual at
Mr. Galimyanov showed me the whole assortment
and I could taste some "Aviator Vodka"!
The Axiom Aviator is now in production and available.
I could test two watches from
the serial production and had to conclude that this is the most
unique watch in the Volmax line. The version with the
two hidden discs instead of classic
hands really caught my eye.
Some new and some well known watches from Moscow.
Volmax did not
luch a lot of new models this year, they invested more in the design
and refinement of existing models.
For Russia's watch
market the "Nika" company is a unique phenomenon.
largest luxury watch manufacturer in Russia with a wide range
including more than 40 collections and 1000 models of gold, silver
and ceramic watches. It’s won more than 50 awards.
For 6 years it has
managed to win a 1/3 of the luxury watch market in Russia (including
shares of foreign fashion-brands). Currently, the brand "Nika" has
its own watch factory located in Moscow, the trading house, more
than 100 service centers and a large affiliate network with more
than 7000 stores in Russia, CIS and Canada.
Traditional technologies of precious metal alloys working and such a
unique technique as their patented technology «case in case» have
been used manufacturing their products.
The first collection of
watches-skeletons called "Assembly".
They use Swiss and Japanese movements so I was asking them if there
are plans to use Russian movements in the future. Unfortunately the
answer was a clear no.
producing such large quantities, this statement is fully
as a premium movement supplier.
presented their own watches, very complex creations for the
Different types of
Again I tried to get some informations about the
Allegedly, they produced
50 Pieces of them and 47 pieces passed the final inspection without
hope that there soon will be the first russian Automatic Chronograph....
For the first time at
Baselworld was a relatively young family member in the Russian watch
scene. I had an interesting conversation with the guys from
The russian company "classic
russian watch" was founded in 1996 and was for a long time a
distributor for Poljot watches in Europe. In 2002 the
independent brand "Moscow Classic" was born. At present they
build all their watches in Moscow with 14 employees. They have over
100 differnet designs for almost every taste.
I really was
surprised about the quality of these watches and they have
some nicely done designs. Some of them a real giants, not suitable for
every wrist but for sure impressive eye-catchers.
What also was
interesting to learn was the fact, that the watches you can find on
Ebay (from a well known seller) are fakes and only imitations
of their designs.
My visit at the
Poljot International showroom was a real
for every lover of russian watches. Thank you Mr. Shorokhoff !
This is my new "must
have watch". (prototype pictured)
Commemorative space watch with many lovely details and to top it, it
has a nicely finished Slava Automatic movement. Check out the
daydate pusher and the internal bezel with Baikonur and Cape
Canaveral as a time zone. And all this for a very reasonable
There was also a new
Basilika with phase of the moon and some unique design ideas.
Fortunately here as well no Chinese movements inside.
The display cabinets
showed some masterpieces from
Alexander Shorokhoff and the Poljot International / Basilika range,
always nice to look at. Altogether it's obvious to see that Mr.
Shorokhoff is really experienced in his profession, the many years
of success speaks for themselves.
Aviator / Sturmanskie
The Volmax booth was
like every year very well arranged. They created some really
innovative pieces and also a few nice retro watches.
There will be a new Aviator type with a protected crown and front
operated chrono pushers. This watch has some cool subdials with
two hidden discs instead of classic hands . This is the first
Russian Chrono with "Front-pushers" so I was a little bit doubtfully
about the handling. I had the chance to test the functionality and
after the first try I was sure, that they did a marvelous job.
Everything is perfectly made and works surprisingly smooth.
Another clever change
in design on the new models is the screw down crown for the
internal beezel. You get a better water resistance and this
feature will prevent you from accidentally changing of the timezone.
There is a new Alarm
with internal beezel and with a disc shaped Alarm hand. Try to
read the time on the watch pictured down right on the picture... you
have ten seconds :-) A funny Idea for the individualist.
The new Strela remake
is a visual stunner. I like the design and the qualitiy is beyond
any reasonable doubt. These watches have nothing to do with the
Strela reissues you can find on Ebay. Surprising to me is the fact,
that Volmax dismounts every movement, then reassembles them and let
them go trough a quality check before they finally get installed.
The new Sturmanskie's
look much better in real than expected, just click on the picture
below and see for yourself.
As a manufacturer of Movements,
it's clear that their showcase
was stuffed with movements, watchmakers tools and some
jewelery watches. I tried to get some informations about how things
are with the
(Automatic chronograph). The
problem seems to be
that it's all about the lack of
And finally something to
make you smile... found these "Russian" divers at the Invicta
The Russians are
Like every year I try to
keep an eye on proceedings at the world's leading
Watch and Jewellery Show. 2,100 exhibitors from over 45
countries but there is only one country that I am truly interested
My sight-seeing tour
started with the Volmax booth. Mr. Galimyanov was very kind and
showed me the whole assortment from Aviator, Buran and Shturmanskie
Buran is now a
Swiss Brand that has his production in Porrentruy. Fortunately the Design of these watches still shows some of the russian spirit.
There is a completely
new Aviator with Day/Night indicator. Available with red or
green lume. I like the design very much, looks much more interesting
than the normal 3105 Types.
wathces on the picture above are also relatively new, the Aviator
chronograph with the 31681 Movement, and the instrument Look on the
dial is a real stunner. The way the strap is attached to the lugs,
makes this watch looks much more pricy than it actually is. The
golden one in the picture has a internal turning bezel (two crowns),
phase of the moon and date.
International has a large collection, I counted over 140
different variants. They presented two new models, one with dual
time (two dials) and a new huge Basilika. My favourites are the
beautiful BAIKAL's with the 3133 movement inside.
Unfortunately in the
newer watches they use Unitas movements and the tourbillons are made
in china. There is nothing wrong with the movements but they dont
belong in a Russian Watch. One big problem for them is for sure that
Molnija still has a production stop.
In another hall
Alexander Shorokhoff presented his premium Watches. Wonderful
handicraft pieces in a price range much lower than expected. Still
pricey but exclusive and real eye catchers.
was innovative as usual. At the presentation at their booth
I could have a look at the new Energia. The movement is a
completely new modification from Vostok and is called 2441. The
delivery of the Energia starts at the end of April 08.
Also present was the
chief designer and artist from Vostok Europe. He did a great job
with the brand new Maxim Gorky. A tribute to the amazing
Tupolev ANT-20 the largest plane of it's day.
This watch looks
breathtaking and has a feature which I have never seen before! You
can see the rotation from the winding rotor trough the eight gaps (4
each side) from the front side of the watch. A really cool
Igor Subovskij told me
that serial production will start in a few weeks.
Where is the GMT
2440? There is a working prototype of this movement, there is a nice
design but there is just no hurry in Chistopol... to bad, let's hope
that the giant from Tartarstan moves a little faster.
Above my individual
Vostok Europe wish list....
A sneak peek at some
things to come....
There will be a model with Self-powered lighting (GTLS).
Tritium lighting is made using glass tubes with a phosphor layer in
them and tritium (a hydrogen isotope) gas inside the tube. Such a
tube is known as a "gaseous tritium light source".
Last but not least, I
could see a design study showing an extreme shock-proof case. An
innovative idea with four shock absorbers!
presented themselves as a manufacturer of Movements. The showcase
was filled with watchmakers tools and individual parts, a nice
presentation. Their exhibition of watches was focusing more on
the jewelery side, showing some refined and elaborate Models.
Soyuz had a
large booth with a very well done presentation. They are doing a
great job in some designs and use only mechanical movements.
Actually not bad, it's just a pitty that still none of the movements
are from russia. I asked them why and got the answer that chinese
movements have more complications.
This time the famous
Souyuz girls where not present, as a compensation I took some
pictures from some lovely Baselworld hostesses...
consumption ...and some russian watchmakers
As usual my first visit at the
this years Baselworld was the showroom from Alexander Shorokhoff.
I could talk to the marketing director, and have a look at some
There is a new design
available with an interesting regulator dial.
was a Zlatoust diver version with some new dials and some other
modifications. Also new is a tourbillon dedicated to Alexei Leonov.
I like the idea of comemorative watches, particularly when they are
related to a famous cosmonaut.
But maybe this is not
the right direction... selling a russian watch assembled in germany
with a chinese movement?
On the first picture
you can see a very nice chrono dedicated to Gagarins famous flight.
A beautiful watch with a creative design and a first class finish.
The other pictures show some well known watches from the CCCP line
and some other classics.
Look at those
movements, this is craftsmanship!
that design plays a prominent role. The new design that they use
rings a bell ...somehow.
are for sure some skilled watchmakers working at maktime because a
lot of former Poljot employees work there. Just look at those nice
Maktime could be
factory with a good potential if they only could manage to do better
promotions and design watches that dont look like bling-bling. At
least some signs of hope are visible.
Soyuz did the same strange marketing like last year. A lot of
short skirted ladies and no real russian watches. After asking if
it's possible to make some pictures the answer was "нет". So there
are no pictures from their watches but some candid pictures from the
had some very interesting news. I could see the new GAZ 14 with some
cool dial variants.
Completly new to me
was the TU-144 with the 2440 movement. I instantly was enraptured by
this watch. Thanks to the turning beezel, this watch can show three
There also is a new
model in the pipeline with a clever (linear) way to show the 24h
position. Then something comletly different is comming up, a model
called "ENERGIA". I could hold the "dummy" in my hands, it looks
ingenious with the seconds in a separate dial. I hope that they are
going to produce this watch very soon.
After that I had a long chat with Irina Maier and could really
update my knowledge about what is going on in russia.
On saturday I finally
could meet my friend Mark Gordon
www.ussrtime.com. As you can imagine two nuts like us had
a lot to talk about... After all the exhausting walking we needed a
recompense. Together with my wife and Sugi from
www.redarmywatches.com we had an excellent dinner in a
lovely castle near Basel. Looking forward to meet again soon...
Playmates and Cosmonauts...
My first visit at the
this year's Baselworld was the showroom from Alexander Shorokhoff (Poljot
International). A very nice lady told me not to take pictures! After
I explained to her who I am, she cleaned the windows for me, so that
I could take proper pictures. Although the glass was clean then, my
pictures can only give a poor image of those breathtaking beauties.
Shorokhoff has two different stands this year so I guess business is
going well for him.
was disappointing in some ways. I thik that they need asap a new
designer. The blue dialed chronograph for example is in my opinnion
not what I would call a beauty...
Sad that they dont
have better designs, because it's a russian company that uses
At the Vostok
Europe Stand, I was assisted by this lovely lady. She showed me
the new Red-Square! A very heavy and extremly beautyful watch,
What where they
thinking... Soyuz (Orion) did a huge promotion for the new
collection. To my shame I have to admit that these are good looking
watches with a acceptable finish. But why do I have to meet Stalin
there and why are they using some chinese movements??? The
appropriate compensation for this was the fact that they had the
most beautyful hostesses on the whole Baselworld! Actuaily I was
surounded by real playmates from russia! As I am used to take
pictures from russian beautys, I could not resist.... :-)
booth was sensationally. A perfect looking arrangement of cool
watches. They added new pushers to some models. There was a lot of
business going on so I did not wanted to disturb there.
allive! They had a stand together with right-move. The
Speznaz line is not my taste, but at least they dont look boring.
Dzhanibekov ! This was a great moment for me. To sit there,
drinking and listening to some exciting and funny storys from this
legendary cosmonaut. After over one hour of laughing and
chatting, I promissed him to send him some fine swiss cheese...
Today I finally had the opportunity to visit this huge event. After
walking trough the great halls, I found some russian made stuff.
These pictures show Maktimes and W. Gabus watches. Maktime is doing
the same like volmax, using Poljot and ETa movements. Their
speciality is to put them into solid gold cases. Maktimes
anouncement was in the official booklet from Basel World and filled
one page! (I guess their business is going well) The
Gabuswatches are a nice homage to the famous Gabus Watches.
They look much better than on the picture. (Its hard to make a
good picture through glass.)
Hold your breath,
these beautys created by Alexander Shorokhoff
Take a closer look at
the Kremlevskie! They only made about 40 of them (a cool idea for a
24h dial!) I pre-ordered this lovely N1 Rocket and I can asure
you this watch is worth every penny.
are some of the nicest watches I have ever seen! The finish is
absolute high class and can compete with any of the other brands.
Prices of the famous brands seem to loose every entitlement
compared to those watches build in moscow. These pictures
are a lousy compensation compared to the sensation of holding
one in your hand.
I dont get any money for this advertising but my new dream
watch has the name of Alexander Shorokhoff.
Even if without my russian "infection" this is something i
am going to save every penny for. Till now the Oris Atelier was
the watch of my (achievable)dreams but this has changed since i
truely felt in love...
stand was quite small, only some showcases standing arround and
they shared the flat with POLICE watches (IMO a
dispointing presentation). But the good thing was, thath they
exposed all the new models so I could finally see how they look
The modell in the middle on top of the first picture is
not released as yet. Looks very vanguard but I hate those
I have to admit that i dont like any of those new
high-class looking dress watches, they all look a bit kitschy to
me. IMO From the new stuff the GT Chrono is the best looking
creation from the Volmax stuff.
Here you can see
the some of Vostok Europe colection. Irina and Peter Maier had a
very nice booth, prensenting the whole range of production from
Vostok-Europe and Vostok.
Also I had the opportunity to meet the designer of the Vostok
Europe watches and Igor Zubovskij the Director of Koliz Vostok.
The russian watch industry seems to be growing slow but steady.
Surrounded by companys with unendingly high budgets for promotions
like this watch circus are somehow repelling and you are afraid to
put a foot on their booth. Not so with the russians. They are very
friendliy and helpful even with a guy who wears no tie not even a
I like to thank Peter and irina Maier from vostokeurope.net /
vostokwatches.com for the special present, I recieved a book about
the history of Vostok and
this nice watch!
I was surprised that these models are equipped with a second
stop function and that the finish has improved enormously.