Baselworld 2011

Is the crisis over?

Almost everyone I meet was quite satisfied with their business development. But it could be sensed that there is still an insecurity in the market.

At this year’s Baselworld exhibition Russia was presented by Konstantin Chaykin, member of the AHCI, with his Lunokhod masterpiece, a mechanical watch with a new solution of lunar phases indication.
Lunokhod The name means "moon walker" refers to a Russian un-manned lunar lander that went to the moon.

Konstantin 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 character.
Lunokhod, 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 this model.

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 Vostok movement!
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 russian heart.
For instance these familiar models, all of them are equipped with Vostok Automatic Movements.

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 reborn factory:
Raketa 2609HA, 2614, 2628, 2623, 26690 and 26691.
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!

Socialistic timepieces 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 maybe 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 the caseback.

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 models.

They all look much better in real life, there was a very bad light for shooting.


Alexander Shorokhoff 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.

Wonderful 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 numerals.


Found this add in a Baselword magazine.

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 :-)

Some Impressions.... girls, cars, alcohol and and Mr. "watchkomrade" Craig Hester himself :-)



Baselworld 2010

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 business development.

I started my Baselworld tour with Poljot International.

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 this watch.

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 movemet.

Vostok Europe, 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 companions.

A cool presentation with a dimmed showcase, the enormous luminance of the GTLS (Gaseous 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 Anchar, 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 GTLS System.
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 Koliz-Vostok (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 the Volmax booth.

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.

It’s the 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.
 When producing such large quantities, this statement is fully understandable.



Maktime established themselves as a premium movement supplier.


They also presented their own watches, very complex creations for the individualist.

Different types of finishing.

Again I tried to get some informations about the Poljot 30644 (Automatic chronograph). Allegedly, they produced 50 Pieces of them and 47 pieces passed the final inspection without problems. Let's hope that there soon will be the first russian Automatic Chronograph....





Baselworld 2009

Innovation never stops...

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 Moscow Classic.

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 definitely 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 encouragement for every lover of russian watches. Thank you Mr. Shorokhoff !


This is my new "must have watch". (prototype pictured)


A 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 price.


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 (Volmax)

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 Poljot 30644 (Automatic chronograph). The problem seems to be that it's all about the lack of money.


And finally something to make you smile...  found these "Russian" divers at the Invicta booth.




Baselworld 2008

The Russians are coming...

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 in.

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 watches.

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.

The other 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.


Poljot 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.


Vostok Europe 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 innovation, congratualtions. 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!


Maktime 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... 




Baselworld 2007

Conspicuous 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 novelties.

There is a new design available with an interesting regulator dial.


There 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!


Maktime learnt that design plays a prominent role. The new design that they use rings a bell ...somehow.



There are for sure some skilled watchmakers working at maktime because a lot of former Poljot employees work there. Just look at those nice refined movements.

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.

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 ladies....


Vostok Europe 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 timezones!

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 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 we had an excellent dinner in a lovely castle near Basel. Looking forward to meet again soon...





Baselworld 2006

Watches  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.



Maktimes stand 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 russian movements.


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, congratulations!

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.... :-)



The Volmax 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.


Slava is allive! They had a stand together with right-move. The Speznaz line is not my taste, but at least they dont look boring.



Meeting Vladimir А. 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...





Baselworld 2005

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
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...



The Volmax 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 unfeigned.

The modell in the middle on top of the first picture is not released as yet. Looks very vanguard but I hate those covered subdials 


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.



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.

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 business-suit.

I like to thank Peter and irina Maier from / 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.