[Many apologies to shandy for "stealing" his thread, as he was expecting a Vympel today only to be greeted by a disappointment!]
Well, what do you know.....another day, another sub-collection complete....only this one was a bonus, as with the arrival of one watch, TWO sub-collections have been completed. Since there's a lot to cover, I'm going to split this into two threads.
But first, a little background. If you're reading this, you probably know of this watch -- I'm talking, of course, about the thin and svelte 2209 "ultra-thin" that was branded by Vympel, Poljot, Luch, and Sekonda throughout the '60s and '70s. These watches have been covered ad nauseam in prior WUS threads, so I'll try my best to summarize the known facts into a quick overview. As always, I'd like to be as accurate as possible here, so please feel to make any corrections as necessary.
The 2209 movement was first introduced with great fanfare by the First Moscow Watch Factory in 1961. At 2.9mm in thickness, it is astonishingly thin, even today (the movement was awarded the Gold medal and a Diploma at an international Fair in Leipzig in 1963). The earliest examples were branded Vympel ("pennant") on the dial and had had a unique quadrilateral logo stamped on the movement:
In 1963, just two years after introducing the Vympel 2209, the First Moscow Watch Factory underwent a major rebranding in which all subsequent watches were to be marketed under the Poljot ("flight") brand. Thus, in 1963, Poljot replaced Vympel using the same 2209 movement, but with a different logo on the movement:
You will find other logos stamped onto these 2009 movements as well (e.g. Minsk Watch Factory, Luch "beam", and the generic "SU"), but the original Vympel from 1961 was unquestionably the first. Many watch enthusiasts refer to all 2209 movements as "Vympel", whether or not they have the quadrilateral logo or the Vympel brand on the dial. This seems common practice with other watches as well, where the original title sticks around for future iterations (i.e. all 3017s being referred to as "Strela", and all Raketa 2609s being referred to as "Baltika"). It's a harmless misnomer, but important to keep in mind, as the original Vympels were only produced for about three years from 1961-1963 and are much rarer than other watches that use the 2209 movement.
As I said, there are countless threads covering this topic, but if you'd like to learn more, you can look here and here to get you started. And don't forget google.
To my knowledge, three original Vympal dial designs were produced, all of which were subsequently re-branded as Poljot variants with the same design. Today marked the arrival of this handsome devil:
This numbered dial joins the two other dial designs in my collection. This next variant has the more "classic" dial design that's most often associated with Vympels, I think. While I don't know for sure, if I were to guess which variant came first, I'd bet my money on this one. I actually have two examples of this dial design with only very slight differences aside from condition (can you see them?):
The third and final design is what I believe to be the newest (closer to 1963, perhaps?). As you'll see, the Vympel lettering is quite different. This watch is not quite NOS (there are two hairline scratches on the case back) but as close as I've ever seen.
And finally, we have the big happy family:
Lastly, a word on thickness (or, in this case, thinness). As previously mentioned, these movements were remarkable thin at just 2.9mm. However, this does not account for the crystal, which adds significant thickness to the overall profile. Many, many 2209 watches (I would wager over 99%) currently have a replacement crystal. I now have 53 watches with the 2209 movement, and of those I believe only one has the original crystal. And it is incredibly thin. The crystal forms a seamless curve with the bezel of the watch, creating a profile not unlike a UFO:
This is the thinnest crystal I have seen on any watch, including the "ultra low profile" crystal replacement I sourced from Seele. Those are, indeed, very thin, and much thinner than most replacements. But still not as thin as this one. (This is not a Vympel, by the way, but rather a Luch from Minsk.) This leads me to believe the original thinness of these watches is not 7mm as commonly cited but more like 6.5mm:
This also explains why the second hand on these 2209s is stubby -- shorter, actually, than the minute hand. A longer seconds hand would have made contact with the ultra-thin crystal and prevented proper functioning of the watch. Of course, with the multitude of thicker replacement crystals, a full-lenth second hand does not pose any problems, and you will therefore see some longer replacement hands on eBay.
Again, this is the only 2209 crystal I've ever seen that I believe to be truly original (perhaps they are actually more common than I realize?), as all others I've seen/experienced are thicker or have some noticeable shoulder around the bezel. With this crystal and the lack of any shoulder at all, I don't know how I would grab it with a crystal lift if I had to. Truly, amazingly thin.
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming shortly, and thanks for allowing me to share!