Molnija 3602/3 revisited

Thread: Molnija 3602/3 revisited

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  1. #1
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    Molnija 3602/3 revisited

    What I think I know ....

    For the last couple of years, off and on, I have been trying to pin down reliable information on the history of production of the 3602/3 watch movement by USSR/Russia.

    So far I am reasonably confident that the design (and probably the tooling) was purchased from Swiss firm Cortebert immediately after the end of the Great Patriotic War - as USSR sought to jump start its industries after the devastation of the war.

    The production of wrist watch movements received a similar 'jump start' with the help of French company LIP.

    The manufacture of pocket watches was initially from two sites, Moscow Watch Factory 2 and the newly completed (1947) factory in Chelyabinsk. The movements were 15 jewel and finished to a high standard. The bulk of production was for the Soviet Defence Forces.

    My main source of data has been eBay listings. The earliest date I have found so far for 2nd Moscow Watch factory movements is third quarter 1948 (3-48) and for Chelyabinsk first quarter 1951 (1-51). The cases are 43mm in diameter and slim, 12mm.

    The latest date for 2nd MWF is from a 17 jewel movement manufactured third quarter 1956 (3-56) and from Chelyabinsk fourth quarter 1965 (4-65) from a 15 jewel movement !!!

    In 1964 the Chelyabinsk logo changed from ЧЧЗ to a stylised clock face with hands at 'ten to two'. The new logo is almost completely obscured by the balance/balance cock. The date stamping on movements seems to have ceased at the same time.

    What I would like to know ...

    When was the design updated from 15 to 17/18 jewels?

    When was the larger 50mm / 15mm open face case introduced ?

    When were the commemorative Hunter cases introduced ?

    I have to accept that the data I have been collecting may be 'tainted' by the ingenious and resourceful Ukranian watchmenders who happily combine parts from several watches to make 'a runner'.

    Rowley

  2. #2
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    Re: Molnija 3602/3 revisited

    Mark Gordon, of USSR Time, has a large database of Russian watches. I didn't see answers to your specific questions but would recommend you either email him or post in the Russian forum here where someone more knowledgeable in that area might be able to assist you.

    I have 2 Molnija pocket watches from the 70's in transit now and expect them to arrive within the next couple weeks. The person I purchased them from has a few watches of the vintage you describe for sale as well and is a reputable dealer.
    Last edited by OCDood; June 10th, 2013 at 18:49.

  3. #3
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    Re: Molnija 3602/3 revisited

    Hi Rowley,

    I have just two samples in my archive:
    bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements: Molnia 3602

    Both have a date stamp and 18 jewels. The one from 1965 has still the Cyrillic abbreviation of "Chelyabinsk Watch Factory", the one from 1967 already the dial logo under the balance.

    This is not much, but it nails down the change of the logo to 1965...1967, and the change from 15 to 17/18 jewels to 1965

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

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  5. #4
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    Re: Molnija 3602/3 revisited

    Thanks to you both. I have emailed Mark and hope his knowledge will assist us to be even more precise about the significant dates.

    I'm currently trying to find a link to 'local' press in Chelyabinsk - made a little more difficult by my complete ignorance of Russian.

    As an aside I have seen Chelyabinsk described as 'the Switzerland of Russia' and also as 'the most polluted place in Russia'. Lots of sites about the meteor strike, many offering 'genuine' fragments for sale. I wonder how many tons of Mother Russia will be finding a new home !!!

    Rowley

  6. #5
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    Re: Molnija 3602/3 revisited

    Hi Rowley,

    I just investigated my do-it-anytime-box, and found another with Geneva stripes and precision regulator. It has the date stamp 2-66 and the dial logo. So the periode for the change between Chelyabinsk logo and dial logo shrinks to 1965...1966.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  7. #6
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    Re: Molnija 3602/3 revisited

    Some pix of my Soviet era Molnjia packet watches made in the Chelyabinsk Watch Factory with the 18 jewel 3602 movement:







    The one with the red XII is on the left, the case is slightly slimer:



  8. #7
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    Re: Molnija 3602/3 revisited

    Hi Rowley,

    Quote Originally Posted by Rowley View Post
    What I would like to know ...

    When was the design updated from 15 to 17/18 jewels?
    A further question solved by further browsing my records:
    They contain an old sample (thin, flat hairspring, 15 jewels) with the date code 2-60, and a new sample (thick, Breguet hairspring, 18 jewels) with 4-60. So if ever the change was near sudden, it was in the 3rd quarter of 1960.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  9. #8
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    Re: Molnija 3602/3 revisited

    I found a nice article about Molnjia pocket watches the other day when researching mine. It states:


    • Molnija pocket watch movements has from 1947 to 1960 normally 15 jewels.
    • Molnija pocket watch movements has from 1955 to 1960 had sometimes 17 jewels.
    • Molnija pocket watch movements has from 1965 to 2007 had normally 18 jewels.


    Molnija pocket watches

  10. #9
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    Re: Molnija 3602/3 revisited

    Hi there,

    there are many such sites, but if you filter out the informations where all agree, pretty few are left. Many speculations are circulating, sometimes taken from samples cobbled together out of parts from several decades. Moreover there are many speculations about the serial number. After my oppinion it is useless for any specuation. It has always 6 digits, sometimes with leading zeros, and the only reasonable conclusion is that it was reset when reaching 999 999.

    The summary above is already short with its three lines, but I still have some doubts:

    1) Molnija pocket watch movements has from 1947 to 1960 normally 15 jewels.
    Likely right, but start years vary from 1946 to 1949. I prefer the last unless I meet a sample earlier than 1-49.
    2) Molnija pocket watch movements has from 1955 to 1960 had sometimes 17 jewels.
    May be, but others state samples with 16 jewels only up to 1955, and moreover illustrate it with a sample which is signed to have 17 jewels. Pretty confusing though, but not actually important.
    3) Molnija pocket watch movements has from 1965 to 2007 had normally 18 jewels.
    Surely, but as I have never seen flat 15-jewels samples with date stamps later than 1960, and never high 18-jewels samples earlier than 1960. The transition was likely in 1960, and not 1965.

    Anyway, I took this thread as reason to enter my (few) informations, readable from existing watches, into my archive:
    bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements: Molnia 3602
    Most of the text describes the reasons why there are only few facts, but hopefully I get further with every Molnia passing my table.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

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