Why Ukraine?
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  1. #1
    phd
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    Why Ukraine?

    Anyone who collects Russian watches knows that most of them seem to come from Ukrainian dealers.

    [Edit: I'd originally said that a proportion of them are also "created" by Ukrainian watchmakers, which was tactless and rude of me. For the record, I have bought about 900 Russian watches from dealers in Ukraine and elsewhere, and the proportion of "Franken" watches is equally high amongst dealers from all countries! Apologies for singling out Ukraine.]

    So the question is: why Ukraine, in particular? Is there some ancient Ukrainian law that says "Every man over the age of 18 must be able to wield a sword, drive a plough and assemble a Raketa from random parts"? Is watchmaking considered to be a really macho thing in Ukraine, so that all young men compete for girls on the basis of how quickly they can redial a Strela? Is there some famous Ukrainian TV show called "Pimp my Poljot"? I mean, just, why Ukraine? Why not one of the other small countries in the former USSR like, oh, I dunno, say, Russia?
    Last edited by phd; July 8th, 2010 at 23:50. Reason: Tactless remark in original
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  2. #2
    Member Dr Watchmaker's Avatar
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    Re: Why Ukraine?

    Quote Originally Posted by phd View Post
    Anyone who collects Russian watches knows that most of them seem to come from Ukrainian dealers (and, indeed, a large proportion of them are apparently "created" by Ukrainian dealers).
    I beg to differ. I'm Ukrainian and I know many honest Ukrainian sellers. I know many non-ukrainian sellers who are on the black lists of the factories. They dominate the market.
    May be I'm not aware of something important.
    Last edited by Dr Watchmaker; July 8th, 2010 at 23:53.

  3. #3
    phd
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    Re: Why Ukraine?

    Oh dear, Dr. Watchmaker, I am sorry - I meant no disrespect. What I am saying is not that Ukrainian watchmakers are any more or less likely to create "Franken" watches; but that there are a huge number of Ukrainian watchmakers compared to those in, for example, Russia, and I am curious as to why.

    But you are right, my phrasing was tactless, and I will edit it. Please accept my apologies.

    Meanwhile, my genuine question still stands: given that most of the watches originated in Russia, why are there so many more dealers in Ukraine than in Russia or other former Soviet countries?

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  5. #4
    Member Dr Watchmaker's Avatar
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    Re: Why Ukraine?

    I think because the ukrainians first realized that they can sell via Ebay. Delivery from Ukraine abroad is easier. It's a more European country than ..., well I do not want to go into this
    Actually, at least what I noticed, there are many of them from Ukraine but they sell/offer not a lot of items. The "serious" guys are not from Ukraine.
    Last edited by Dr Watchmaker; July 8th, 2010 at 23:58.

  6. #5
    phd
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    Re: Why Ukraine?

    But, there are clearly a great number of skilled watchmakers in Ukraine. Even dealers outside Ukraine seem to have their watches (often) serviced or repaired in Ukraine before selling them - I can even recognise a few specific watchmakers by the way they have serviced the watch.

    So, are you saying that the entire USSR was rich with watchmakers, and Ukraine is the only one to have exploited this? If not, why so many Ukrainian horologists?

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    Member Dr Watchmaker's Avatar
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    Re: Why Ukraine?

    Well, it's nice to hear that there are many skilled watchmakers in Ukraine.
    Though I do not have an overview you have (I trust statistics a lot), I do not see an immediate reason for that. As we know the vast majority of the watch factories were in Russia.
    On the other hand, I remember that the profession itself was very popular in Ukraine in the times of SU.

  8. #7
    phd
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    Re: Why Ukraine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Watchmaker View Post
    On the other hand, I remember that the profession itself was very popular in Ukraine in the times of SU.
    Aha! So, we are half-way to an explanation. But (as children always discover), this only prompts the question of "why" again - why was watchmaking so popular in the SU-Ukraine? But probably this is lost in the mists of time.....

  9. #8
    Moderator Strela's Avatar
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    The reason is means, motive, and opportunity...

    People are after all buying these watches.
    Стрела

    Russian Watch Forum, Rolex & Tudor Watch Forum, & Pilot's and Military Watch Forum Moderator

  10. #9
    Member pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Re: Why Ukraine?

    Why no high-profile dealers located in Belarus, or Georgia, or Estonia???
    Regards from Sunny San Diego..........Tom
    ____________________________________________________
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    guns and those who dig!"................Blondie to Tuco in TGTB&TU (1966)


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    Re: Why Ukraine?

    Paul, I actually would second the statement that "watchmakers" of Franken-types are heavily concentrated in Ukraine. I had a chance to visit several the last time I've stayed in the country in 2006-2007. I was appalled, but not surprised as I've seen enough of their handiwork on eBay.

    As to why there's a concentration of both Franken-types and regular honest watch sellers in Ukraine - I still do not understand. There's nothing particularly special about Ukraine i regards to watches. As a matter of fact Ukraine had one watch factory and it was making Poljots in fairly small numbers. That factory is still there, btw, they make Kleynod watches out of Swiss and Chinese parts. That, vs. Belarus with a fairly rage Minsk watch factory (Lutch, Electronica) that is still in operation today. And Russia with at least 4-5 operating watch factories.

    Now, I would say that Russia produces its own numbers of Franken-watches. However they seem to be sold more locally, both on the streets and markets and on molotok.ru, russian auction site. While Ukrainian sellers, both good and bad, favor eBay. Which might be the actual explanation of why they are more visible.

    The other explanation is more interesting and requires some knowledge of national character. In my experience ukrainian people are generally much more enterprising on small scale. In other words Russian character tends toward more grandiose things done collectively. Ukrainian enterprises are usually smaller and land themselves perfectly to selling something like watches in small numbers. I'm not familiar enough with Belarus, but believe they are closer to russians than ukrainians. And I say all this as a person who've basically spent half his life in Ukraine.

    So... hope it sheds some light and doesn't upset anyone too much. That's how I see it. If I can put the franken-people out of business I'd be happy to do so regardless of origin. And if I can help honest sellers, I do so regardless of origin as well.

    PS. Oddly enough, it was damn near impossible to find a good watch repair person in Kiev, a city of 4+ million people. Found one that was OK, not great, and only through recommendations

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