Buying a strela (tips please!)
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  1. #1
    Member coldethey's Avatar
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    Buying a strela (tips please!)

    Hi everyone, I'm in the market for a vintage strela (poljot branded or not, it's unimportant) 3017 chronograph and I would like your advice as to what I should look out for to not get screwed over. Be as specific as possible, please!

    The photo attached is one watch I looked at but not necessarily the one im going to buy.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Re: Buying a strela (tips please!)

    That one looks fine at first glance. I would want to see a few better photos including the movement to be 100% sure.

    In general, know what all correct hands should look like, and the dial for this particular style should be more of a bone color than bright white. Consider posting any watch here first, as a 3017 is a pretty expensive.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Member stevarad's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a strela (tips please!)

    Quote Originally Posted by coldethey View Post
    Hi everyone, I'm in the market for a vintage strela (poljot branded or not, it's unimportant) 3017 chronograph and I would like your advice as to what I should look out for to not get screwed over. Be as specific as possible, please!

    The photo attached is one watch I looked at but not necessarily the one im going to buy.

    Thanks in advance!
    Have the same as that one on photo. Looks fine to me.

    Послато са SM-N950F уз помоћ Тапатока

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    Member Odessa200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevarad View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by coldethey View Post
    Hi everyone, I'm in the market for a vintage strela (poljot branded or not, it's unimportant) 3017 chronograph and I would like your advice as to what I should look out for to not get screwed over. Be as specific as possible, please!

    The photo attached is one watch I looked at but not necessarily the one im going to buy.

    Thanks in advance!
    Have the same as that one on photo. Looks fine to me.

    Послато са SM-N950F уз помоћ Тапатока
    the dial/hands/body is very important but for a watch like that, the state and correctness of the mechanism is also very important. It is not a 50$ vostok 26xx that can be swapped easily. So, aside from the external appearance, I would be looking to see what is inside, service history, how well does it run now.

  6. #5
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    Re: Buying a strela (tips please!)

    1. Buy one in the best cosmetic and mechanical condition. Don't cheap out on a watch that needs TLC, because it will probably never happen due to a lack of spares (and no, Venus parts will not work). Also, restoration here will likely do more harm than good, so take that into consideration as well. Therefore, go big or go home.
    2. The dials are often reprints. White Soviet dials - no matter how pristine - has a slightly cream white (a bit yellowish) tone to it from age. Gleaming, A4 paper-white dial? Walk away. That said, I've yet to see a reprinted black dial, however.
    3. The hands are also often mismatched or cannibalized from other watches (mainly from 3017 stopwatches). Make sure you know the correct combinations before buying by asking on the forums or by consulting credible documentation.
    4. It's possible to guess the year of manufacture from the balance cock serial numbers. Remember, Strelas were made from 1959 to the mid 70s so it's not uncommon to see a watch with a replaced balance cock from a different era. If you are pedantic like me and would like to find one that's presumably original, search "strela serial numbers" online for a variety of guides.
    5. The cases, crown, and pushers were made from pretty terrible quality brass, so it's not a big deal if there's some minor wear & tear.
    6. Crystal and crown replacements are very common. The original acrylic crystal is slightly domed, no edges, with a relatively low/slender profile. I've seen some ridiculous aftermarkets that's as tall as the glass machine gun canopy on Lancaster bombers. There tends to be a variety of crown replacements and it's impossible to narrow them down, so this is something you have to to research on.

    These are just a few things to watch out when buying a Strela. Other than that (and possibly some finer details that I've missed), it's just like buying any other rare vintage watch. Do lots of prior research, have an appropriate budget, raise questions about any concerns, and avoid impulse buying. As for the golden rule: "If it's too good to be true, it isn't."
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  7. #6
    Member TwentiethCenturyFox's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a strela (tips please!)

    Reissue! Thats what I did---Name:  A1B312B9-B9D8-4992-A539-6B3916C9A7AC.jpeg
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  8. #7
    Member stevarad's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a strela (tips please!)

    And avoid something like this....

    Does anybody knows what this strange, strange thing is?

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F333220990372

    Послато са SM-N950F уз помоћ Тапатока

  9. #8
    Member arktika1148's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a strela (tips please!)

    Quote Originally Posted by stevarad View Post
    And avoid something like this....

    Does anybody knows what this strange, strange thing is?

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F333220990372

    Послато са SM-N950F уз помоћ Тапатока
    Prefer the cream dial with Strela than the Volmax export Stermy myself.
    Alarm with inner bezel , ace .... price though :(

  10. #9
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    Re: Buying a strela (tips please!)

    To get this back on track for the OP, here are some general tips on how to spot the differences between a fake, and a real 3017.

    1. Color of the dial. An original 3017 will be matte, and will be bone white. The fake ones have a mother-of-pearl sheen, and are usually bright white.
    2. Color of the print. The blue "Telemeter" ring for 3017's that have them should be a darker navy blue, not a bright royal blue.
    3. The shape of the "Strela" font. If you look closely at fakes, you can see that the "C" in Strela thickens in the center, and is a very thin tail at the bottom and top. In an original, the letters are all of more uniform thickness throughout.
    4. The shape and size of the gold indices. An original will have more narrow ones that come closer to a point. For fakes, you can see they are still very broad at the bottom.
    5. The distance from the end of the gold indices to the minutes is too close on fakes, there should be a bit of space in between.
    6. The main chronograph hand should be blue, with a spade-shaped tail.

    Good luck! I'd suggest posting any potential purchases to this site before you buy.

  11. #10
    Member coldethey's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a strela (tips please!)

    Thanks for all the replies guys. What a great body of knowledge here. I will keep post any potential models I see any let you know if buy anything!

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