I originally wrote this as a response to a comment on the Komandirskie thread, but it turned into a bit of a cathartic novel so I decided to make a separate post.
I have a personal connection with the Tankist, an "emotional void" if you will...
I was gifted one of these watches shortly before my family immigrated from Russia to the US in '93. I was 11 at the time. I loved this watch. Unfortunately, it was stolen my first year in an American school. It was hot and my wrist was sweaty, so I took the watch off and laid it on my desk. Next thing I knew, it was gone and nobody around me would fess up (I know it was you, Tina!). Obviously I was pretty distraught at first, but eventually I moved on and forgot all about it. Like many others, I spent the next decade and a half wondering why I would even need a watch when I have a cellphone (first a flip phone, then a smart phone).
Flash forward to now... I am knee deep in my watch obsession, so naturally I decide to find that Komandirskie watch I had as a kid. I still remember exactly what it looked like. From Meranom I figured out that the tank dials have model numbers ending in 306. Unfortunately they no longer carry the exact case shape and bezel that I remember. So working from memory, I took to eBay. I looked for one that was of early 90s vintage, cause you know...the emotional void. I looked for one with those thick crown guards that I distinctly recall, a crown at 3 (not 2), the dash/dot bezel (no triangle), boxy numbers (not the modern rounded ones), caseback with the rising sun, a small seagull, and serial number. The only thing I couldn't quite recall was whether my watch had a flat or rounded crown. After pouring over old Vostok catalogs for a few hours I came to the conclusion that these were produced with both domed and flat crowns without any rhyme or reason.
I now have 3 of these in varying quality. Among the three, this one is the best contender for a genuine NOS early 90s Komandirskie Tank. (Do let me know if you disagree and why.) Every time I wind it, the tactile feeling takes me back. The wobbly spin that ends in satisfyingly springy resistance. Or when you're being a bit fast and loose and the thread accidentally catches, suddenly you're prematurely screwing down the crown. I love it!