Russian Digital Watches


The first electronic digital watch seen in the USSR was probably one of the original Hamilton-Pulsars pre-ordered by Leonid Brezhnev. The effect of this watch on Soviet development policy relating to quartz watches can only be speculated upon, but it is clear that in the early digital era the Soviets were keen to stay as close to the technological bleeding-edge as was possible.

There is a popular and enduring internet myth that an early Soviet attempt at a LED watch was so unsuccessful that it was quickly taken off the market and replaced by a mechanical jump-hour with red back-light to simulate a LED. In fact the only Soviet-made jump-hour was the Zarja 2006, produced around the late ‘60s or early ‘70s; but it is unlikely to have been converted in such a fashion. The ‘Tegrov’ pseudo-LED jump-hour referred to in some sources was a Swiss watch with no relevance to Soviet developments.

Possibly as early as 1974, ZIM in Kuybyshev was producing LCD digital watches (model B6-02). Russian sources confirm that this was the first Soviet digital watch. This bulky, primitive watch had 4 digits displaying hours and minutes only. Strangely there was 3 setting buttons. The third one was to zero the seconds, even though they weren’t displayable! This watch was produced in several case styles, and was even exported. The only other offering from ZIM was in the 1980s; a very basic 4-digit LCD (calibre 30351) in what looked like the modified case of a mechanical Pobeda watch. ZIM digitals were sold with the following brand names: ZIM, Elektronika, Pobeda and Sekonda.


The Buletronic watch below is from the first russian patent for LED-Watches and was produced in a bulgarian factory. The watch has time, seconds and a day & date dunction.  The back cover is marked: BULETRONIC with a  serial number.

Around the same time as the B6.02 or shortly after, NII-Zavod Pulsar in Moscow started production of their LED display Elektronika-1 (model B6.03) which remained in production into the mid 1990s! The 4-digit LED shows hours and minutes with a short push of the button, and seconds with a long push, with day and date available at the push of another button. It was made in several different case styles however the module is the same in all cases. The Elektronika-1 is currently the most collectable of Soviet digitals, possibly due to the common misunderstanding (due no doubt to it having LED display) that it was the first Soviet digital, or possibly just because LED is more distinctly ‘retro’. This watch was sold as Elektronika and Elektronika-1, and
presumably never has been exported.

Also included in this first wave of digital enthusiasm was Integral Elektronika Factory in Minsk. Their brand name was Elektronika-5 and their first model, 5.202 (module calibre 30350) was a 6-digit LCD with day and date (correcting for short and long months). It remained in production for many years alongside more modern models, including the multi-function 5.207. In the post Soviet era, Integral continued production of the 2nd generation Elektronika-5 models then current, but with new names (e.g. 55B). These are the basis for the current Elektronika and Kamerton ranges. Soviet Integral digitals were sold with the following brand names: Elektronika-5, Elektronika and Sekonda.

In the mid 1980s 1st Moscow Watch Factory Poljot produced a multifunction analogue-digital (calibre 2968). Its rarety indicates that it only saw limited production (or perhaps that production was primarily for the sale of movements to foreign brands). The watch was sold as Poljot and possibly Sekonda. In the 1990s a similar watch was made by Minsk Watch Factory (calibre 2964) under the brand name Luch.

In 1977 there was a LCD digital sold under the Sekonda label featuring a world-time function that looked virtually identical to a Seiko produced within the previous year. Was it pirated or a licensed product? Who knows; both possibilities seem equally unlikely.

Sekonda was a brand created in 1966 for marketing all Soviet watches internationally. From the mid-1980s they increasingly supplemented their digital range with non-Soviet products. Post-Soviet Sekonda (now Sekonda UK) ceased buying from Russian or Belorussian producers in 1993.

Current Situation

There are no Russian watch companies currently making quartz watch movements. No quartz means no digital either. However Chasprom ( ) lists two Belorussian digital watch brands on their catalogue, Elektronika and Kamerton.

Elektronika is based in Minsk and Kamerton in Pinsk. Both are part of the electronics combine Integral. Their watch ranges are almost identical and consists principally of slightly retro-looking 4-digit women’s LCD watches, and 6-digit and 2-line men’s multifunction watches. The ChN-05 analogue-digital watch uses a small Miyota quartz movement embedded in a multifunction electronic module with dual LCD. Also produced are Nintendo Game&Watch clones, including some original locally designed games. Bizarrely, Kamerton also has a Pobeda-type mechanical watch on their product-list!

Kamerton and Elektronika are not currently marketed outside Russian-speaking countries.

Additional notes

Sergei Frolov reports that the number after the name ‘Elektronika’ on a watch or other electronic item indicates the factory of origin.
1 = Pulsar, Moscow
2 = Angstrem, Zelenograd, Moscow region
5 = Integral, Minsk, Belarus
8 = Soyuz, Novosibirsk

Digital watches were categorized as electronic appliances rather than watches per se. This was reflected in the product code,
e.g. B3 = calculator

B6-02 means:
B = domestic electronic appliance
6 = type of product; probably watch.
02 = second model

There is no known reference to a B6-01. Perhaps it was a prototype?


For more pictures and information visit Sergei Frolov’s Soviet calculator site

more Elektronika-1 pictures
Guy Ball’s LED watches site


to Chascomm  for all the writing and the elaborate researches.