Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

Thread: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

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  1. #1
    Member Andrei Raevsky's Avatar
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    Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    Hi,

    I have recently purchased this rather original Russian 24 hours dive watch. This is the only 24 hours dive watch I have ever seen, and I love it. Of course, it is ridiculously big and heavy - unwearable, really - but it is also quite beautiful.

    I had read a warning on ebay about fake Russian dive watches aka fake Zlatoust watches, but I did not care that it was not the type of watch actually used by Soviet divers in the 1970s and that this was only a recent Zlatoust copy.

    After getting this watch, I got intreaged and I wrote to the "Agat" factory which makes the Zlatoust watches to ask them about my model. I got a reply from their deputy director, Sergei Ivanovich Fedotov, who told me that Zlatoust had stopped making any diving watches 30 years ago and that "somebody" had "covertly" issued a series of Zlatoust fake watches. I was rather puzzled. So not only was this not an original Soviet dive watch (which I knew), but it was not even a Zlatoust

    I then noticed on various sites on the Internet that very similar watches were sold under the brand name Moscow Classic (see here or here). I emailed Craig at Russia2all who replied that he had never seen my model in the Moscow Classic brand. So that does not appear to be a Moscow Classic either

    The guy who had written the "Beware of fake Zlatoust dive watches" on ebay had written this after opening this watch: "What I found was the same cheap wind up movement that the Russians put in those Harley Davidson Pocket watches that they sell for about $30.00 USD."

    Yeah, but mine has a 24 hour mechanism, and it seems to be very accurate, at that.

    The guy who sold me the watch, via ebay, shipped in from Finland and only told me "I bought it in Russia". Nothing more.

    So, can anyone help me identify this watch? Who is the manufacturer? What is this model? What kind of mechanism does it have inside?

    Lastly, do you think I can take it diving if I don't go too deep (say 90 feet)?

    Many thanks in advance for your pointers!

    Andrei

    PS: I don't think that this watch is chrome plated, it sure looks like stainless steel to me. On the back there is a print of an old fashioned diving helmet and the number 4574
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  2. #2
    Member mike.s's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    I have no info on this specific watch, but a whole slew of watches with Russian names are made in China. Слава Созвездие (Slava Constellation) is one example. I'm almost sure that your watch is another. Slava people claim that they wanted to prosecute, but Chinese laws make it pretty much impossible.

    I find it slightly ironic in historical sense. Soviets were widely known to "borrow" the whole designs of things, starting with watches and cameras and extending to things like space shuttle. But at least they did not put the original's name on them, carefully avoiding trademark infringements.

    Just "moi dve kopejki"

  3. #3
    Member domi's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    For what it is worth, the 'cheap' movement that the ebay writer refers to is the Molnija 3603.
    There is nothing at all wrong with the Molnija 3603, in fact it is more or less the same as a Unitas 6497. It is also known for its rock solid reliability (often called the Soviet Tractor).

    Sadly I can shed on light on you watch.
    All hope is not lost however, as there are many people in this forum who can identify both Russian and Chinese movements on sight (Chascomm and Janne, I'm looking at you). If you show us the movement, I am sure somebody will be able to tell you what you've got!

  4. #4
    Member VEV 1138's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    Andrei,

    If you can open the watch up, you should post a picture of the movement. That can often times tell the members more than even the case or the dial.

    thanks,
    Craig

  5. #5
    Member Andrei Raevsky's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    Quote Originally Posted by VEV 1138 View Post
    Andrei,

    If you can open the watch up, you should post a picture of the movement. That can often times tell the members more than even the case or the dial.

    thanks,
    Craig
    The only thing I can open and close back again without breaking it all is a computer

    Besides, it appears that this watch needs to be somehow opened from the front as the back has no opening panel at all.

    Cheers!

  6. #6
    Member domi's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    Hmm, it is likely that you need to unscrew the bezel. Underneath there will be a rubber grommit and the crystal, which both simply lift out.

    Unfortunately the movement and dial are held in by screws, which are hidden beneath the surface of the dial (so would require scraping), so this may not be so good an option as I thought.

  7. #7
    Member VEV 1138's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    yeah... well, don't break the damn thing. Whatever it's worth now it won't be worth much of anything then.

    With the standard caveat that I could be (and often am) mistaken, I don't think there is a 24-hour version of the 3603, which is what would be in that Harley pocketwatch. (Of which we have WAY too many of in stock!) Or the 3602, which is the same pocketwatch movement without the shock protector on the balance staff.

    If it's a Russian engine in there, it is most likely the 2623 or some version thereof. If it's Asian, who knows...

    But I know how much you like 24 hour watches Andrei... if it's keeping good time and you like the look of it, enjoy! (But, I would say don't dive in it... even the newer Moscow Classic models in this styling I wouldn't suggest more than just swimming or snorkeling. For real diving, stick with the 200 meter or more models that are rated for that kind of thing... just MHO).

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by VEV 1138; March 15th, 2009 at 04:00.

  8. #8
    Member Andrei Raevsky's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    Yes, I will probably not expose it to water anytime soon...

    But I find it unbelievable that an externally very nice looking watch, with what looks to be a good 24 hour mechanism (do the Chinese ever make those?) could be designed, built, assembled and sold without anybody - even on this expert forum - knowing who is doing this!

    Say its a 'Zlatoust-inspired-copy' made by 'factory X' in Russia. Would they not be more than happy to take credit for a rather original (and well made) timepiece?!

    Not even Zlatoust knows who copies there watch. That's just bizarre, no?

    I suspect a very dark, devious and mysterious KGB plot here...
    Last edited by Andrei Raevsky; March 15th, 2009 at 04:23.

  9. #9
    Member Militarywatchdude's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    I thought Moscow Classic made remakes of those watches.
    Motherlandwatch.webs.com- my current SOVIET/RUSSIAN collection... I've got some Non-Russians put away somewhere Hidden Content
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  10. #10
    Member VEV 1138's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me solve the mystery of this Russian dive watch

    Moscow Classic does make reproductions of the bell diver watches. But I've never seen this one before and the only movements I know of them using for those are the Molnija or the 3133 and 31681 (well, and now the 2824). I've just never seen a 24-hour version.

    We've been dealing with them for about two years now and I'm pretty familiar with their line up. But, maybe something new has come out I'm not aware of. I just don't consider it likely since they haven't made any 24-hour models in the past.

    thanks... Craig

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