Around the Web: “Watches from the Soviet Union”

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A few weeks back, Blake Rong, one of our contributors, swung by our office to record an episode of The worn&wound Podcast. In it, we spent a good bit of time discussing Russian—and specifically Soviet-era–watches. In Blake’s words, “Russian watches have been the most reliable things I’ve ever owned.” That reliability doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. Soviet-era watches were built to be utilitarian machines. Most featured simple or rather straightforward designs. Those that took liberties with embellishments were often produced to commemorate some occasion.

(Image credit: Mark Boyarsky for RBTH)

It’s that practical nature of Soviet watches, coupled with their relatively palatable price tag, that makes them so appealing to watch collectors, especially those just getting started. We wrote about one such collector here. Today, we’re sharing an article from RBTH about another collector—or rather a collector-slash-watchmaker—with a penchant for Russian watches.

Based out of a small workshop in a mall in Moscow, German (pronounced gɛrmən) services and collects Russian watches of all stripes. He’s amassed a personal collection of over a 1,000 pieces, which includes timepieces from the Tsarist period through the late Soviet era.

“Soviet watches, German says, are a key to starting a collection. They can be found in any Russian household, left behind by parents and grandparents that never managed to throw them away. It’s easy to find the second pair in a thrift store or buy it from neighbors since they are cheap and no one really needs them.”

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German was an IT consultant by trade when the “watch disease,” as he and so many others call it, took hold. What began as a hobby—collecting old watches and reading books on watchmaking—quickly became an all-consuming career.

Soviet Wostok spacecraft cockpit clock (Image credit: Mark Boyarsky for RBTH)

To read on and to see some great photos of vintage Russian horological gems, click here.

Featured image credit: Mark Boyarsky for RBTH

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