Name: 1957 Sputnik
Model Reference: ПОЛЁТ
Movement: Vostok 2431 (or 2416, see below), automatic, 24h, 31 jewels, shock-resistant, power reserve min. 31h
Time display: 24 hour, minute, seconds
Case: all stainless steel with screw on back (stainless steel or glass caseback)
Size: 45 mm diameter, with crown 54 mm
Height: 15 mm
Face: four differently colored quadrants for morning(yellow), day(white), evening (grey), night (black)
Text on dial: 1957 СПУТНИК, Made in Russia
Text on back: * ПОЛЁТ SPUTNIK * 200 M * 4 октября 1957 г. СПУТНИК СССР * 159/450
Hands and markers: luminous hour and minute hands
Water-resistance: 200m (20 ATM)
Crown: with extra water resistant cover
Crystal: flat mineral crystal
Lug: 20 mm
Bracelet: rubber strap and fold over clasp with safety and push button
Production: 450 numbered watches
I don’t like U-boat (or submarine) watches. For me they are oversized, rude and ridiculous. But as a collector you have your curse. Recently, in December 2012, I bought a U-Boat watch made by a small Russian brand 1957 Sputnik. The reason I bought this 24h watch was its unique dial, dividing the day into four quadrants. And last but not least, I got it for a reasonable price – about €150 incl. shipping. Usually the prices are up to two times higher.
I was brave enough to order it from one Russian seller (russian-watches.info), who has not the best reputation here, in WUS (see also Do not buy at russian-watches.info). I ordered and paid on December 3. The watch was posted on December 5 in Helsinki, Finland (this Russian seller is doing it in this way). I got it soon and everything was OK with this watch. The watch was delivered with box and papers.
Later I asked one additional question by email on December 13, to get some additional information for this review, and got prompt answer from Igor next day.
Note. Thereafter something went wrong. My next question from December 18 remains unanswered. And as I read from WUS, all the customers lost the communication with this seller on these days before Christmas.
This picture is taken from seller.
I’m not a specialist and can’t find any detailed explanation on differences between Vostok 2416Б and 2431, but I think that 2431 is Vostok’s new movement code for 24h version of the automatic 31 jewel movement, which is based on 12h movement 2416Б. The only difference is 24h gear and visually both movements look identical.
In passport is written, that 1957 Sputnik watches are equipped with movements either 2415 or 2425. This is not correct and is one of the many typos and errors in the passport.
The 2431 movement looks surprisingly good, with blue screws and text on the rotor “31 jewels Russia”, and deserves a transparent caseback.
On the timing machine the (dial up) results were good:
Daily rate: +15 sec/day
Beat error: 0,3
Beat rate: 19800
This is a very popular U-Boat or diver case you can see on many Russian watches, mostly from small “grey” brands, but including also some Poljot models. The case is usually Chinese and many “Germasian” and other watches have it, example – 24h Tauchmeister T0189. 1957 Sputnik watches have all crown on the left side. The crown has an extra water resistant cover. According to passport watch is 20 ATM (200 m) water resistant. This is standard with this type of case.
Crystal is flat mineral glass. My watch has stainless steel caseback with text:
“ * ПОЛЁТ SPUTNIK * 200 M * 4 октября 1957 г. СПУТНИК СССР * 159/450
The other option I’ve seen is glass caseback with identical text. As you can see this model is numbered limited edition of 450. Text “Poljot Sputnik” is misleading. This watch is not related to the Poljot brand at all. Most of the “grey” Russian brands try to use one (or maybe both) of the magic marketing words – Poljot or Raketa.
Dial and hands
Dial is very special and because of the dial I was interested in this watch at all. 24 hours are divided into 4 differently colored quadrants with titles in Russian:
Morning – 5-11 – yellow
Day – 11-17 – white
Evening – 17-23 – grey
Night – 23-5 – black
The dial (actually the whole watch) is designed by Russian designer and watchmaker Alexander Umnyashov. On similarities and differences between 1957 Sputnik and Umnyashov watches read below.
Dial is not lumed. Watch has lumed hour and minute hands and central red seconds hand. The length of the hands is correct for this dial, both hours and minutes are easy to read
Lugs width is 20 mm. My watch has a rubber strap and fold over clasp with safety and push button. Other option, as I see it in the web, is genuine leather strap.
I don’t know what to say? The best part of this watch is movement. The case, strap, everything tangible you have, are actually OK. The level of quality? I would say that if you can get it for about €150, then it is adequate. For €300 you have to expect more.
The passport is meaningless. The description is erroneous. The warranty (12 months according to the passport) is non-existent, because the producer is hiding. The only chance to get some support is when reseller is providing some warranty from his side.
For me this watch is just a representative of a certain type of watches in my 24h collection, and laying in a drawer needs no support.
Attachment 981105 Attachment 981106 Attachment 981108 Attachment 981109 Attachment 981110 Attachment 981111
Attachment 981113 Attachment 981115
1957 Sputnik and Umnyashov
Very little is known on 1957 Sputnik. The website mentioned in the passport - www.1957sputnik.ru - never existed and even the domain 1957sputnik.ru is available. They have email address, but are not responding to the emails. I suppose that 1957 Sputnik is a kind of one-man company, who has no production itself and all the components and assembly are outsourced.
The first series of 1957 Sputnik watches were four models with almost identical designs to corresponding Umnyashov brand models. Umnyashov models have always glass caseback, the series is limited to 300, and the prices are usually somewhat higher than 1957 Sputnik.
Last weeks I see a lot of new 1957 Sputnik models emerged. Some of them featuring similar dials as 24h post-Raketa bootleg production - Polar, Lunokhod etc. Other models have modified first series dials. And I would say, that in compare to the original mr. Umnyashov desig, the modified dials are just ... ugly.