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LIGHTNING IN A CHROME-PLATED CASE - Chelyabinsk and Second Moscow Watch Factory Production of Molnija Pocket Watches, 1947-2007

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  • LIGHTNING IN A CHROME-PLATED CASE - Chelyabinsk and Second Moscow Watch Factory Production of Molnija Pocket Watches, 1947-2007

    I have always liked pocket watches, but admittedly I had not researched them in any serious capacity as they are not as practical as they might have been 50 or 60 years ago. I don’t plan on wearing a waistcoat or 3 -piece suit on a daily basis just so I can take one around instead of a wristwatch! However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t possess a certain allure – older pocket watches especially often have lovely movements built to a very high standard (the Hamilton 992B railroad-grade springs to mind), and larger dials that offer a lot of space to work with from a design perspective. I like to think that one way or another every watch we might wear on our wrist today had its origins being carried in the pockets of past generations and having a little bit of that history started to really interest me.

    After downsizing my collection as of late I have moved on quite a few that were no longer being worn, which opened up some room to add something that I have been reading about in-depth and with a connection to the earlier days of Soviet watchmaking. I had not paid much mind to Molnija (‘mol-nee-yah’) pocket watches aside from some nice-looking pictures from old catalogues, but I started to imagine it as a nice little timekeeper to have sitting on my desk at work or at home. But I wanted to know more about them before I went for in for one and ended up having a great time finding out what I could about the history of the brand and its production. I am hoping that by reading through this you might find the history and the little details of these pocket watches as interesting as I did.

    I am not attempting to present anything here that has not already been researched by others except for some minor details, a few of my own opinions, and a couple of pictures. However I intend for this write-up to bring together into a single informative post a large number of resources that are currently widely dispersed all over the internet, and to hopefully make for a good read about an area of watchmaking that is not well covered in contemporary study of horological history outside of a dedicated enthusiast circle. References are footnoted and their related articles are found at the bottom of this post should you want to read them in their entirety.


    INTRO AND HISTORICAL CONTEXT

    The mass production of Soviet-made timepieces started with the state purchase of the bankrupt Dueber-Hampden Watch Company of Canton, Ohio, U.S.A and their equipment by the Soviet government in 1929.[1] This purchase led to the creation of the rather longwinded ‘First State Watch Factory Trust of Precision Instruments’, (abbreviated using Russian phonetics as ‘1GChZ’ and later to become First Moscow Watch Factory/Poljot). This factory produced the Soviet Union’s first mass-produced pocket watches and would ultimately pave the way for an independent state horological industry whose production volume in the twentieth century was often rivalled only by the Swiss.

    Even in the early days of mass production the Soviets were keenly interested in a self-sufficient watchmaking industry that did not rely on any foreign imports. Like most other manufacturers in Europe and America, this started with pocket watches. Pocket watch development continued in the USSR until the start of the Second World War, subsequently halting for around 5 years, then starting again in the late 1940s. A particular make of these post-war pocket watches will be the focus of this write-up.




    A letter and its translation dated to August 1932 outlining the abilities and limitations of the first Soviet mass production plant at 1GChZ for watches at that time. It outlines to its intended recipients at factory management that even the original Dueber-Hampden factory in the United States - that the Soviets purchased their first production equipment from - was not able to manufacture a number of the required parts themselves, hence they have started experimenting with their own production where they can. By the time the 1960s rolled around thirty years later, the Soviet Union essentially had a completely ‘in-house’ manufacturing capability for all its clock and watch factories – a feat that the original staff at 1GChZ no doubt would have been proud of. (images from Alan F. Garratt)

    Pocket watches in the post-war Soviet Union were produced by a quite a few factories under a variety of brand names, but arguably the most notable production after 1945 came from factories based in Moscow, Chelyabinsk and Zlatoust. Namely the brand “Molnija” (Молния – “lightning” in English) from two different factories, and those under the Zlatoust brand from the titular Zlatoust Watch Factory, which is still producing various watches to this day. Zlatoust could probably have an article of its own, and there was also production from other factories under the names Iskra and Salyut, but I will concentrate on the history, designs and movements of Molnija.



    Locations of the mentioned pocket watch factories within the USSR. (modified by author - image from Wikimedia Commons)


    It can be inferred from both continued catalogue entries and movement production history that pocket watches retained a mainstream popularity and production level in the Soviet Union that lasted a bit longer than that of their Western counterparts, with Molnija watches being produced well into the 1990s and beyond. Although the USSR had a well-developed wristwatch industry by the start of the 1960s, the longer retention of pocket timekeeping that was quickly falling out of use in the West could perhaps be seen as a result of a predisposition for established technology being kept in production as long as it remained practical and the lack of competitive independent business innovation under the communist system.


    In an article that could be applied in a similar way to Soviet timekeeping, photographer Jeb Inge discusses how the Kiev-60 medium format camera – an all-metal heavyweight with enormous dimensions, completely manual focusing and no electronics anywhere on it or inside it and already outdated on its introduction in 1984 – was rolling off the production line brand new until 1999.[2] This would place it having concurrent production alongside modern single-lens reflex cameras from the late 1990s by Canon and Nikon which were packed with the latest in automatic focus features and electronic sensors.[3] In some ways the story of the Kiev-60 can be applied to that of Molnija pocket watches – fairly old-fashioned at the time of their introduction and eventually total anachronisms in their respective fields, but they were built for a singular purpose towards which they quietly persevered for a lot longer than they probably would have outside of the Soviet Union.


    POST-WAR: ACQUIRING A NEW POCKET WATCH MOVEMENT

    Molnija watches primarily used 2 different movements, the ChK-6 (Rus. ‘Чк-6’) and the later the 3602. Although there was some limited chronograph production using Venus 150 movements and a later version with shock protection on the balance jewels under the designation 3603, Molnija watches for the large majority of their production would use either the ChK-6 or the 3602. There is varying evidence that these movements are based on older French and Swiss calibres manufactured by LIP and Cortébert respectively in the 1930s and 1940s, the Cortéberts especially being used across a wide range of brands including Rolex and Bulova.




    Comparison of a Cortébert 616 and a 2nd Moscow Watch Factory-produced ChK-6. (photos from Guido Socher)[4]


    For this write-up there is more published scholarship on the use of Cortébert movements, with LIP providing technology more suited to wristwatch development.[5] The origins of how Cortébert-based movements came to be used in Molnija pocket watches are subject to the same kind of origin myths that often accompany Soviet watch production, for example the popular Raketa ‘Big Zero’ has a common story of its name being attributed to a comment by Mikhail Gorbachev while he was wearing one, although like others I feel this is almost certainly not the case.[6] I believe these stories are a natural result of limited official documentation on Soviet watch production and similarly limited historiography of the documentation that is available (in English-language publications at least). One ‘story’ of this type relating to Molnija pocket watches apparently has it that Lavrentiy Beria, the notorious head of the NKVD secret police, once showed Josef Stalin a pocket watch he had that was equipped with a Cortébert movement and convinced him to have production set up to replicate it and provide a major improvement on the K-43 pocket watch with the Type-1 movement that had been in production since the 1930s.[7]

    Like the story of the ‘Big Zero’ this seems fanciful at best and a complete fallacy at its worst. I would put a lot more stock in the authoritative account by Alan F. Garratt of the early days of the Soviet watch industry, who states that after the Second World War the Soviets approached Cortébert for technical advice and eventually either reverse-engineered the movement or purchased the equipment required to tool up factories and produce a domestic version of the Cortébert calibre 616.[8] With the Cortébert calibre providing the basis for the ChK-6 movement to be produced by 2nd Moscow Watch Factory and Chelyabinsk Watch Factory, the Molnija line was able to be put into production.


    THE FACTORIES

    At the start of their production Molnija-branded pocket watches were produced by two factories – Second Moscow Watch Factory and Chelyabinsk Watch Factory. I will abbreviate the two plants from here on using their Russian phonetic abbreviations:


    Second Moscow Watch Factory – 2 Московский часовой завод (2 Moscovskiy Chasovoy Zavod): 2MChZ

    Second Moscow Watch Factory was mainly engaged in production of wristwatches – with some production of ‘Molnija’ marked pocket watches in the 1950s and some later limited production of pocket watches under the ‘Slava’ trademark. Along with First Moscow Watch Factory (Poljot) and Petrodvorets Watch Factory (Raketa), they were one of more notable factories for production of timekeeping devices in the USSR during the twentieth century.



    A picture of what I assume is the main administration building of 2MChZ from a commemorative catalogue from the end of the 1970s. It is evident from the cited number of employees that watch manufacture and assembly in the Soviet Union at this time was still overwhelmingly a manual, human activity devoid of the automation that would become much more commonplace elsewhere.




    A picture from a 1964 booklet from the foreign trade organisation ‘Mashpriborintorg’. On display is an automatic machine that produced mainplates for Slava watches at 2MChZ. Although the equipment was on hand to mass produce the individual parts, the final assembly and checks for each movement/watch would seem to have all been carried out by hand.




    A model of the entire 2MChZ plant that gives a good impression of the size and scale of the factory, from the same commemorative catalogue mentioned previously. I believe that the photo of the admin building shown before is the building at the right on this model.



    Chelyabinsk Watch Factory - Челябинский часовой завод (Chelyabinskiy Chasovoy Zavod):ChChZ

    Chelyabinsk Watch Factory was mostly known for its pocket watch production. Although they seem to have had a limited amount of wristwatch manufacturing early on, the factory would later focus almost entirely on pocket watches and other larger-format timepieces that included civilian products as well as clocks and chronographs for fighter aircraft and other military vehicles.




    A photo of the administration building of the Chelyabinsk/Molnija factory from the 1960s or 1970s (Guido Socher).




    A worker at Chelyabinsk shows off a couple of pocket watches she has just finished assembling. The photo was apparently signed on the reverse “Production Unit 9, Ivanova Lusya Dmitrievna, 1980”. (Guido Socher)




    The Chelyabinsk/Molnija factory as it stood before its eventual closure and conversion to a shopping mall. The branding and stylised clock factory logo can be seen advertised on the top left corner of the building’s façade, and the stately admin building can just be seen at the right of the photo. (Guido Socher)


    As far as I can tell both factories used the same parts for dials, cases, hands and movements with the only differences being in the factory stamping on the movement bridges. However, the method of heat-blued finishing on the hands is often a giveaway of whether it was 2MChZ or ChChZ who produced the watch as well.

    Watchuseek user ‘ocram’ has noted that 2MChZ appears to have used a screw plate to affix and hold the hands when they went into a blueing oven, whereas ChChZ likely used a steel wire to hang the hands inside the oven.[9] This results in the 2MChZ hands having a ring of carbon steel remaining around the centre of the hands as illustrated below, along with a visualisation of the process each factory used for the blueing process:





    The blueing methods used by each factory and their results on the finished hands. Note the ring of carbon steel remaining on the minute hand from the 2MChZ process. (images from Watchuseek user ‘ocram’)




    A similar effect can be seen on this Omega which suggests that a screw-plate was also used by Omega to blue the hands on this particular watch, although the remaining steel is finished to a higher standard than that of a Molnija. (still capture from The Nekkid Watchmaker)[10]




    As explained further in the next section, 2MChZ would eventually stop producing these watches to focus on wristwatch production under the new “verbal trademarks” and reorganisations that were applied to all factories in the 1960s – in this case 2MChZ became Slava. As one of the more prominent factories that manufactured watches in the USSR there is more info readily available about 2MChZ/Slava, but as full production transitioned to Chelyabinsk quite early on there is little material directly related to 2MChZ production of Molnija that I could find.

    Chelyabinsk Watch Factory would eventually take on the Molnija name as their own “verbal trademark” and in comparison to 2MChZ/Slava there is a lot less information outside of some catalogue entries. Being focused almost entirely on pocket watches from the establishment of the factory in 1947, Chelyabinsk was something of a unique case in that it only produced wristwatches in very limited quantities which probably affected its marketability and subsequently the amount of advertising produced for its pocket watches . Even in the Soviet Union trends and attitudes towards consumer goods were susceptible to change (although there was more state influence on this than there would have been in the West)[11], and I personally think that by the 1970s even the Soviet consumer was probably looking at pocket watches as “old-fashioned” like their Western counterparts were a decade or so earlier (certainly as far as the wristwatch-to-pocket watch ratio in catalogues is anything to go by). As such I believe that remaining historical documentation relating to pocket watch production at Chelyabinsk is scarce, if there was ever much produced in the first place.





    A page from a late 1960s or early 1970s catalogue outlining the factory names and their new associated “verbal trademarks” under the second column, with the new factory marks under the third.




    Detail of the two factories’ entries. 2MChZ is now designated Slava (Слава – “Glory”), while Chelyabinsk takes on existing the Molnija (Молния) name as its new factory trademark. Both factories receive an updated factory mark as with every other factory around this time.




    MOVEMENT DEVELOPMENT AND OTHER CHANGES

    The Cortébert-derived ChK-6 calibre previously mentioned powered all Molnija pocket watches from their first production in 1947 and remained the primary Molnija movement until the middle of the 1960s. The ChK-6 was a 15-jewel movement that was nicely finished with Côtes de Genève striping just like its wristwatch counterparts installed into Pobeda watches (Pobeda used movements based on designs from French movement maker LIP), and the earliest versions of the ChK-6 also had some decoration on the mainspring ratchet wheel. These were made by both Second Moscow Watch Factory and the Chelyabinsk Watch Factory for a time, but by the end of the 1950s Chelyabinsk had taken over all production, 2MChZ factory stamps gradually disappearing from the movement bridges by this time:

    The mid-1960s saw a revision of the ChK-6 and transitioned it into a new designation with a few changes, this being the 3602 movement. The balance spring alloy was changed, the spring also having a Breguet overcoil added to aid with precision. The jewel count was increased to 18 with the centre wheel now notably gaining full jeweling where there were previously metal bearings. Along the same lines as most Soviet watch movements in the mid to late 1960s, the finishing and decoration was scaled back considerably with the introduction of the 3602 – the Côtes de Genève stripes that were present on the ChK-6 were now gone (this reduction in finishing was commonplace across all Soviet pocket and wristwatch movements after the 1960s). Additionally, the old style ‘ChChZ’ factory stamping was replaced by the new clock logo that Chelyabinsk had taken on as part of the factory reorganisations, and this would gradually move from being stamped on the movement bridges to being stamped under the balance wheel on later movements.





    Earlier (left) and later (right) stamping by Chelyabinsk. The original factory abbreviation stamp has been changed to the new clock symbol and has moved underneath the balance wheel. The clock symbol is occasionally found stamped on the bridges also – I believe this was transitional while they were moving it to the new location by the balance wheel. Also note the lack of finishing on the later movement compared to the earlier one. (photos from Guido Socher)



    The 3602 would continue to be produced in quantity until the closure of the Molnija factory in Chelyabinsk in 2007. Throughout the 1980s plastic dials became quite common on Molnija watches, and during the tumultuous transition from the communist Soviet Union to the newly free-market Russian Federation in the 1990s the movement quality really suffered, the 3602s from this time having rough finishing (if any) and a step back to a reduced jewel count. [12]




    My own Molnija ChK-6

    Looking through the catalogues that are available for Molnija their earlier designs are far and away my favourites , in particular the white and silver dial variant that seemed to be a mainstay of their earlier production such as in this 1953 Raznoexport catalogue:




    1953 catalogue pages for Molnija. The Soviet Union created a large number of foreign trade organisations, with each one usually responsible for a selection of goods and products that were to be marketed and sold overseas. In the 1950s Raznoexport was one such organisation that dealt with civilian timekeeping products. My own one is a model the same as the reference shown at the top of the page in this image.


    I got this one with the intention to have it in a box or on a stand and used mainly as a desk clock but also as a collectible example of mid-century Soviet watchmaking. The date code on the movement’s central bridge puts its production during the second quarter of 1955. The dial is in good condition, which seems to be getting much harder to come by based on my own time spent browsing through pictures and auction listings. Many of the Molnija watches made before the 1980s seem to have lived pretty rough lives and most of them show it on the dial first and foremost. The hand for the small seconds on this one looks to be a replacement from a later example, as it lacks the length and counterbalance present in the catalogue page. This is not an issue for me as I would rather have the dial in good condition than an all original piece in a degraded state. Finding a period correct seconds hand to replace it will not be too hard as there is a decent supply of spares that still exist, and the prices that go with pocket watches and their parts generally command a lower cost than their wristwatch relatives. The three-pillar “smokestack” design on the caseback was one of the standard ones for Molnija watches of this early period.
















    I figured that it would be nice to have an earlier ChK-6 movement with the striping and decorations seeing as I’m not going to be taking this everywhere I go, which makes going without the Breguet overcoil and extra jewels less of a worry. You can see the mainspring ratchet wheel is decorated with stars and the brand name (the same as Cortébert did on their ratchet wheels) and the striping is nice and uniform. This is a Second Moscow Watch Factory movement and watch as evidenced from the factory stamp, and the blued hands having the ring of carbon steel showing from the screw-plate blueing process further confirms this as a 2MChZ production as well. I don’t need this one to keep excellent time, but at the moment the balance wheel amplitude is pretty low even on a full wind, and that suggests the whole movement could do with a service before I start using it in any real capacity to avoid further wear or damage. My next task is seeing if I can find someone to clean it up, failing that it will become a project of mine to complete my first full service of a watch.









    The dial is the standout on these references, quite simple but with a nice combination of off-white and silver and the typeface on the Arabic numerals is really pleasing. Molnija is written in a small font in Cyrillic which I think lets the rest of the dial shine – later Molnija watches often combined larger branding that was often in stylised in Cyrillic script and combined with larger Roman or Arabic numerals. While there is nothing wrong with this, I feel that the more restrained branding on the earlier examples lets the more visually interesting features of the dial come into their own. Although this is not a watch that will see everyday wear the research and history that lead to my acquisition of it has been thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to bringing it back into a running condition as best as either my budget or personal ability will allow. If you have made it to the end here I hope that this has been informative for you, and listed below are all the sources I made use of if you want to read up more on this subject.








    The Molnija with some of its younger friends from Petrodvorets Watch Factory (Raketa).







    G









    Footnotes and References
    1. Alan F. Garratt, “The Birth of Soviet Watchmaking: Continuing the Hampden Story”, p. 27, https://www.cccp-forum.it/docs/books/TBOSW-Mk2.pdf (links to full PDF of the book, well worth a read if this kind of thing interests you).
    2. Jeb Inge, “We Shoot the Kiev 60 TTL: A Medium Format Monster from the Soviet Union”, https://casualphotophile.com/2017/11...camera-review/
    3. Same as above.
    4. Guido Socher, “Molnija pocket watches”, http://linuxfocus.org/~guido/molnija-pocket-watch/
    5. Alan F. Garratt, “The Birth of Soviet Watchmaking “, p. 38
    6. Miguel of ‘The Russian Watch Corner’, “Raketa Big Zero – A Design That Crossed Frontiers”, https://www.safonagastrocrono.club/r...sed-frontiers/
    7. Miguel of ‘The Russian Watch Corner’, “The Death Railway”, https://www.safonagastrocrono.club/e...-de-la-muerte/
    8. Alan F. Garratt, “The Birth of Soviet Watchmaking “, p. 69
    9. Watchuseek User ‘ocram’, posting in “Molnija pocket watches”, 27/03/2017, https://www.watchuseek.com/threads/m...#post-40144274
    10. The Nekkid Watchmaker, “Restoration of Omega Pocket Watch Vintage 1920s Service Repair 40.6LT2 Dennison a.l.d Silver, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaVx5LJ7t_c
    11. See article from Olga Gurova, “Ideology of Consumption in Soviet Union: from Asceticism to the Legitimating of Consumer Goods”, https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals...e/view/237/314
    12. Guido Socher, “Molnija pocket watches”.
    Last edited by Gauss; 28-07-20, 23:44. Reason: References and font resizing

  • #2
    OMG

    Incredible post, obviously a huge, enormous, gigantic value of time & painstaking effort has gone into this, well done - moar

    Once I have gone thru Dons latest CASIO G-SHOCK post in the Nice Pair, thread I will grab a wine (probably 2-3 bottles) and hook into this

    Incredible, you were not joking, a true wall of words and pictures (thank goodness)

    Harlan
    Timekeeper Watch Club
    New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, Earth

    Comment


    • #3
      Thoroughly enjoyable read and a great choice of watch from the range.
      Thanks for sharing the journey and research with us.

      Comment


      • #4
        +1

        This is not Karyn from FaceBook...

        Takes ages to get this info in order, and much more to post

        Constantly dumbfounded & wondering why these types of posts are not more praised

        Makes me want another one more and more frankly... I mean, just knowing a bit more, what IS important with watches


        Originally posted by Tempus View Post
        Thoroughly enjoyable read and a great choice of watch from the range.
        Thanks for sharing the journey and research with us.
        Harlan
        Timekeeper Watch Club
        New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, Earth

        Comment


        • #5
          What a marvellous post. Just when you start to think that all people want to do nowadays is post a pic of the watch they’re wearing on any given day, someone like you comes along and restores your faith in the world. Thanks for taking the time to put this piece together Gauss.
          Preparation and planning prevent piss poor performance

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you, Gauss for taking the time—it must have taken days—to write this article. For the record, the opening post is the longest post in the entire 11-year history of Timekeeper, and the most scholarly one at that, too. I myself have a very limited knowledge of pocket watches of any era, and even less when it comes to Russian pocket watches. Your write-up helps shine a kind guiding light into the part of horology someone like myself has avoided walking into.


            Originally posted by Gauss View Post
            ...
            I am not attempting to present anything here that has not already been researched by others except for some minor details, a few of my own opinions, and a couple of pictures. However I intend for this write-up to bring together into a single informative post a large number of resources that are currently widely dispersed all over the internet, and to hopefully make for a good read about an area of watchmaking that is not well covered in contemporary study of horological history outside of a dedicated enthusiast circle...
            Skilled chefs don’t invent ingredients, they invent the dish, a well-thought-out composition of said ingredients. In watch collecting, anyone can gather info and opinion, but it takes insights to curate, especially in an objective manner in which you have admirably undertaken. I see the value you’ve put into intentionally removing yourself from the historical narrative of the watch, concentrating on just the watch, and only commenting subjectively once you’ve laid out all the facts. Bravo!


            Originally posted by Gauss View Post
            Once in a while, when researching, I come across the answer to a question that I didn’t know I had. I feel very thankful when such things happen. This is certainly one of those times. Thank you.



            Originally posted by Gauss View Post
            ...
            Molnija watches primarily used 2 different movements, the ChK-6 (Rus. ‘Чк-6’) and the later the 3602. Although there was some limited chronograph production using Venus 150 movements and a later version with shock protection on the balance jewels under the designation 3603, Molnija watches for the large majority of their production would use either the ChK-6 or the 3602....


            Earlier (left) and later (right) stamping by Chelyabinsk. The original factory abbreviation stamp has been changed to the new clock symbol and has moved underneath the balance wheel. The clock symbol is occasionally found stamped on the bridges also – I believe this was transitional while they were moving it to the new location by the balance wheel. Also note the lack of finishing on the later movement compared to the earlier one. (photos from Guido Socher)
            On the movement aspect, I do know a little bit, and this is a Lepine-type pocket watch calibre. From what I’ve read—and you would be the best person to verify—the “3602” was more a movement code of sort. The first two digits 36 is the caliber diameter in mm, and 02 refers to sub second. There was also a Molnija 3608, which was 36-mm with sweep second (08), and as you’ve mentioned, a chronograph 36-mm module (17), the 3617.

            So, I wonder whether it was the case of both generations of Molnija Lepine-style movements being “3602”, and just that the earlier version was not signed as such?


            Originally posted by Gauss View Post
            Very beautiful indeed. The Streamline Moderne aesthetic was popular during the later part of the Art Deco era. Many early-1950s watches also share this clean look, one of the most famous being the IWC Portugieser Ref. 325. In their days, the Arabic execution on your Molnija would have look more modern than Schaffhausen's Portugieser.
            Last edited by Don; 29-07-20, 16:30.
            On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you all for the very kind words, but thanks most of all for reading through it! It's nice to be able to give something back when I've learnt so much from this forum myself.

              Originally posted by Don View Post

              On the movement aspect, I do know a little bit, and this is a Lepine-type pocket watch calibre. From what I’ve read—and you would be the best person to verify—the “3602” was more a movement code of sort. The first two digits 36 is the caliber diameter in mm, and 02 refers to sub second. There was also a Molnija 3608, which was 36-mm with sweep second (08), and as you’ve mentioned, a chronograph 36-mm module (17), the 3617.

              So, I wonder whether it was the case of both generations of Molnija Lepine-style movements being “3602”, and just that the earlier version was not signed as such?
              I think you are absolutely right Don, after reading your reply I remembered reading something about that code system a while back (found it here again, created by some of the people over at WUS Russian Board) and I'm surprised that it slipped my mind so completely when I was writing this up! The Soviets had indeed created a numbered reference system for watch movements and their features in the 1960s, so about the same time the transition from the ChK-6 to the '3602' occurred - the 36 being the 36mm size of the calibre and the 02 being a sub-seconds with no shock protection, just as you said

              Comment


              • Don
                Don commented
                Editing a comment
                Nice! Thank you.
                Last edited by Don; 29-07-20, 17:28.

            • #8
              Well done,
              Brilliant write up


              Sent from my SM-A505GN using Tapatalk

              Rest easy Matty , My best Mate and Son

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