What follows may be old news to some of you, particularly our Russian friends who have no doubt disected an alarm-clock or two in their youth (haven't we all?). However it was an unexpected discovery for me so I thought I would share it.
This story is about my Raketa mini alarm clock
For those who have never seen one before, here it is next to a Slava TV (or as our Georgian friend calls it, Stonehenge )
I've had this clock for a while and like it a lot but it has always run a bit fast. This is kind of annoying as the screw-in knobs only turn forwards. I once opened it up but was frustrated to discover that the alarm module completely covered the base movement, which was sealed with a plastic dust ring. Just lately it started running poorly, obviously due for a service, so I figured I might as well crack it open properly to find out what is inside.
Here's the back view. One knob for the bell, another one marked "Khod" for the mainspring, and a two-position knob for setting time and alarm.
And here is what it looks like inside. Small as it is, there's a lot of free air in the case. The alarm module is marked with the Raketa logo and the number '38503', which I suspect may be the movement code.
Here is where the problem is. The white ring is a spacer between the dial and crystal. The black ring is to seal the base movement from dust.
It struck me as rather odd for a Soviet timepiece to be so resistant to maintenance by the owner. Even the most basic quartz movements used to have rate-trimmers, so a mechanical clock that must be half-dismantled to regulate just doesn't seem right.
Anyway, now we move on to the interesting bit. Two screws removed allows the alarm module to pivot on the setting stem.
I was wondering what sort of tiny clock movement I might find. Would it have a pin-lever? Would it be fully-jewelled? Maybe some kind of long-forgotten pocket-watch movement?
I don't know how you feel about it when you look at this picture, but I was very surprised.
My first thought was that this movement is far too high quality for an alarm clock, but then considering how many of this series of movements was made at the Petrodvorets factory, this was probably a cheaper solution than dedicating an entire production line to a small clock movement.