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  • Vostok others

    I've only recently begun to look further east in a search for time thrills, and given that Asia is the focus of much of our collective watch obsession, I mean a true horological east - Russia!

    I apologise in advance to those of you who have long been aware of Russian watches, but I would be very grateful to gain from your knowledge and experience here. I've been looking at Vostok watches, the Amphibia series divers to be exact. To me the styling is almost purely 50's. Take this Amphibia Ocean King for example - the milky orange dial could well be an Orient M-Force pallette choice, but the case is straight out of Dan Dare!



    Could someone let me know how these Vostok's stack up in terms of performance & reliability. Also - I have no idea of the case size of a watch such as the Amphibia Ocean King and would love to know in order to get a clearer image of the piece.

    I'd love to see some pics of other timepieces that might adorn the wrists of Mother Russia's 21st century brood. Vostok & others...




  • #2
    Hi keatles. I believe the best person to assist you would be Tony anzac1957. Tony has a few nice Vostok pieces. Please see:

    http://www.timekeeper.co.nz/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=137

    http://www.timekeeper.co.nz/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=203

    And these are beyond what I have experience with, and encompass all three grades of Vostok, i.e the Budget-range Vostok made for the Russian domestic market, the slightly better Vostok made for export—both made in Russia—and the higher quality, but still Value-range, Vostok Europe, made in Lithuania. I believe your Amphibia Ocean King is of the second variety—Russian made intended for export. The case diameter is 40 mm excluding crown.

    The only comment I can make on Vostok are purely personal experience, having owned a few Russian watches as an impoverished uni student in the 1990s (they were the only things I was able to have a few of :roll: ). There were a couple of Poljot Chronographs and a Vostok Amphibia (this was a cheap Russian domestic market one, but they were the only Vostok at the time). I bought these head-only from a flea market close to home for around NZ$5 each at the time--unfortunately, I don't have any photos, as digital cameras were at the time about as obtainable as a nuclear particle accelerator. For sure, the Amphibia had a certain Slavic charm. What you referred to as 50s design is probably not the result of any design as we know, but probably because the 50s in Russia lasted for a lot longer than it did for us in the West. :?

    Performance... um, my Amphibia didn't really have any. It was just a watch, and at the time (my late teen), I was already a mechanical watch nut, though I didn't know a lot about quality of movement etc. It survived the swimming pool, but I won't have risked my life on it. It was a durable movement, though, and I guess, proven over the years (by other people) as they have remained pretty much unchanged. Accuracy was good at around +15 a day from memory (though again, in those days, I could only time it against a quartz watch). When things did break, I found that, sadly, it was time to say good-bye, as watchmakers would either not touch it, or the cost of repair would render it uneconomical.

    From what I've heard, Vostoks built for export, like the one you are interested in, and the Vostok Europe (gunning, I think, for the likes of Orient), are both better quality watches that are seeking to rebuild Vostok's reputation to the world. So, I'm expecting both to be much better than my flea market specimens.

    For anyone else who are interested in affordable vintage chronographs, I recommend looking at a Poljot with manual winding Cal. 3133.
    A watch journey that also serves the betterment of others is one worth taking.

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    • #3
      For sure, the Amphibia had a certain Slavic charm. What you referred to as 50s design is probably not the result of any design as we know, but probably because the 50s in Russia lasted for a lot longer than it did for us in the West.

      Thanks Don! Fantastic to get a serious belly laugh (and a Soviet belly laugh, without electrodes having been attached, to boot!) on a miserable post long weekend office morning...

      An endless Dan Dare decade!

      I will explore the links, the Poljot, and await further...

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