Russian watch manufacturer Vostok has an intriguing history. Formed from the First Moscow Watch Factory during World War II after being evacuated to Chistopol on the Kama River, about 500 miles east of Moscow, the company has produced millions of affordable time pieces. Undoubtedly, entire books could be written on the company and its watches. I would suggest, if you are interested, starting out with the company’s Wikipedia article. The company still exists and has a website you can visit, though, as someone who failed a Russian language class in college, I cannot tell you how good a site it is.
My interest in this watch was piqued by watching YouTube videos of folks repairing and servicing them. For a reasonable (to downright cheap) price, you can get a very serviceable and attractive watch that keeps accurate time. Add in that they come in a variety of styles from nearly an 80-year timespan, and I was sold.
Of the two main models at the time (Amphibia, Komandirskie), this watch is a Komandirskie, or Commander in English. Produced in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, it prominently features the dates and a trio of poppies. Much fading has occurred on the example I was able to get from eBay for around $30.
Mine certainly does show signs of over 25 years of use. Aside from the fading there are many scuffs on the crystal, though thankfully no cracks or deep scratches. The screw-down crown is loose and accurately getting it in position to update the time or wind the mainspring can be a challenge. Plating has flaked off some portions of the watch, revealing the steel case below.
The bracelet, which I am not sure is original to the watch, is in decent shape and not overly loose. Again, I am not sure if it is original. The color does not entirely match the watch. It is of the flex-link type that has the annoying habit of ripping out arm hairs.
Mechanically, the watch is functional. A winding, however, only seems to last about half a day. I’m pleased to note, though, that during that time, it kept pace with my computer clock. I downloaded the app Timegrapher for iOS and below is the crazy readout from this watch. I suspect my house simply has to much ambient noise, as well as a curious dog, so I’ll need to find a better way to test.
My goal now is to service and clean this watch. It will be the first watch I have attempted this on, and I hope to make a video of the process. I’ll likely find a strap for it to replace the bracelet. If it all winds up working, I will be giving it to my comrade, I mean, my wife, since it is a neat bit of history.