The 18th Long-Range Tactical Missile Division of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, abbreviated as the 18-я дивизия ТРПК (Тактическое ракетное противостояние), is a specialized military unit dedicated to the management and deployment of long-range ballistic missiles. This division plays a significant role in Russia’s national defense and strategic security.
The primary objective of the 18th Long-Range Tactical Missile Division is to ensure a swift and powerful response to external threats. Equipped with state-of-the-art intercontinental ballistic missiles, the division can be deployed across various operational bases within Russian territory.
The division’s operations demand a high level of training and technical expertise. Specialists within the 18th Division must possess advanced qualifications in missile management, strategic planning, and constant surveillance of potential threats. The division’s personnel are continuously engaged in exercises and simulations to maintain elevated standards of operational preparedness.
As one of the numerous units within the Russian Armed Forces, the 18th Long-Range Tactical Missile Division contributes to nuclear deterrence and national security. Its presence and capabilities serve as a deterrent and a stabilizing factor in global geopolitics.
It is important to emphasize that this text aims to provide neutral and objective information about the 18th Long-Range Tactical Missile Division of the Russian Armed Forces. There are no patriotic or political intentions; rather, the goal is to offer a general description of the unit and its strategic role within the Russian military context.
Why are there Raketa watches without the Raketa inscription?
In some cases, it is possible to find watches without the Raketa inscription, but they are produced by the cooperatives of the PWF (Petrodvorets Watch Factory). I have also had the opportunity to encounter them and have several specimens in my collection. These watches are authentic Raketa timepieces, sometimes very unique due to dials made of stone or meticulously crafted designs.
The cooperatives of the Petrodvorets Watch Factory.
During the Perestroika, three cooperatives were established:
Петергофские Мастера (Peterhof Masters (PM))
In the watch models produced by these cooperatives, the Raketa brand is not featured, despite them being actual Raketa watches. The dials are consistently of high quality and exhibit impeccable craftsmanship.
The Confirmation by Alexander Brodnikovsky
As confirmation of what we already knew, at the beginning of 2021, I came across a post by Александр Бродниковский (Alexander Brodnikovsky) that stated the following:
“Часы «Атомный Ледокол Ямал» с одинарным календарем на базе механизма «Плоская Россия» 2614.Н кооператива «Петергофские Мастера».”
Во второй половине 1980-х годов в Советском Союзе Михаил Сергеевич Горбачев провозгласил перестройку и объявил, что можно организовывать кооперативы. На базе Петродворцового Часового Завода образовалось 3 кооператива: Ренессанс, Престиж и Петергофские Мастера.
1-й кооператив-«Ренессанс». Специализировался на наручных (механические и кварцевые) и карманных часах с каменными циферблатами из нефрита, яшмы и малахита.
2-й кооператив-«Престиж». Специализировался на часах с необычной зеркальной накладкой.
3-й кооператив-«Петергофские Мастера». Специализировался на часах с печатными циферблатами на разные темы.
The translated text
“Watches ‘Atomic Icebreaker Yamal’ with a single calendar based on the mechanism ‘Flat Russia’ 2614.N of the cooperative ‘Peterhof Masters’.”
In the second half of the 1980s, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev proclaimed perestroika in the Soviet Union and declared that cooperatives could be organized. Based on the Petrodvorets Watch Factory, three cooperatives were formed: Renaissance, Prestige, and Peterhof Masters.
The first cooperative, Renaissance, specialized in wristwatches (mechanical and quartz) and pocket watches with stone dials made of jade, jasper, and malachite.
The second cooperative, Prestige, specialized in watches with an unusual mirror overlay.
The third cooperative, Peterhof Masters, specialized in watches with printed dials on various themes.
As highlighted in the text, and understandable to those who understand Russian, the creation of work cooperatives was permitted during the Perestroika.
We are talking about watches created in the late ’80s and early ’90s. As can be inferred from the text, each cooperative had its own specialization.
The Renaissance Cooperative
Specialized in wristwatches and pocket watches, both mechanical and quartz, with dials made of semiprecious stones such as jade, jasper, and malachite. Personally, I would also add nephrite to the stones crafted by the cooperative.
The Prestige cooperative
Specialized in watches with an unusual mirror dial. They are unique and very beautiful.
The Peterhof Masters (PM) cooperative
specialized in watches with high-quality printed dials on various themes.
I hope it is now clearer why there are some Raketa watches with other brands. They are not extremely rare timepieces, but they are not so common to be found every day on auction sites either. Personally, I believe it is worth seeking to have at least one of these watches in your collection. They tell a story of a very unique historical moment and the transition from a centrally planned economy like the Soviet one to a more liberal system.
Is the commemorative dial of the Soviet rover Lunochod 1 real or fake?
The answer is very simple, in my opinion the commemorative dial of the Pobeda Lunokhod 1 is a FAKE.
Today, another collector contacted me asking for information about a watch with the commemorative dial of the Lunokhod 1 rover.
What you can see above is one of the many models available for sale online with this dial. The dials, with perhaps a couple of exceptions, are all identical, only the case model varies.
The watch is a common Zim Pobeda powered by a Pobeda 2602 caliber with an inexpensive thin steel stop-seconds mechanism. As mentioned before, there are as many versions of this watch as there are existing Zim Pobeda cases.
What makes it so sought after?
Russian and Soviet space-themed watches have always been highly sought after. They were one of the Soviet Union’s flagship items, which used them frequently as internal and external propaganda. I myself avidly collect commemorative watches from the Soviet and Russian space race. It is therefore normal for a collector with limited experience to be attracted to “made in USSR” and space-themed items. After all, the Lunokhod was the first remotely controlled rover to land on another celestial body.
The Lunokhod Rovers
There is a wealth of information that can be found on the internet in Italian, English, and of course, Russian. Needless to say, we can briefly say that Lunokhod (Луноход in Russian) is the name of four Soviet remotely controlled rovers intended for lunar exploration.
The Soviet Lunokhod 1 was the first remote-controlled lunar rover to explore the surface of the moon. It was launched by the Soviet Union on November 10, 1970, and landed on the moon on November 17. Lunokhod 1 was designed to explore the lunar surface, analyze its soil and study the moon’s magnetic field.
Lunokhod 1 was controlled by a team of scientists and engineers on Earth through a complex system of radio communication. It was equipped with a number of scientific instruments, including a spectrometer, a penetrometer, and an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, which allowed it to study the chemical composition of the lunar soil.
The rover traveled a total distance of 10.5 km (6.5 miles) during its mission, which lasted 11 months. It also took over 20,000 television images of the lunar surface, which provided valuable information about the moon’s geology and topography.
The success of Lunokhod 1 paved the way for future lunar exploration missions and demonstrated the capabilities of remote-controlled rovers in exploring the moon. The rover’s legacy lives on as a symbol of the Soviet Union’s pioneering spirit in space exploration and its contribution to our understanding of the universe
Lunokhod 2 was a Soviet lunar rover that was launched on January 8, 1973, aboard a Proton-K rocket. It was the second of two unmanned missions in the Lunokhod program, following the successful landing of Lunokhod 1 in November 1970. The main goal of the Lunokhod program was to explore the Moon’s surface and conduct scientific experiments.
Lunokhod 2 was equipped with a range of instruments, including a drill for collecting soil samples, a spectrometer for analyzing the chemical composition of the Moon’s surface, and a laser reflector for measuring the distance between the Earth and the Moon. The rover was controlled remotely from the Soviet Union using a series of commands that were transmitted to it via radio signals.
Over the course of its four-month mission, Lunokhod 2 covered a distance of 37 kilometers and transmitted more than 80,000 images back to Earth. It was the first rover to travel to the Moon’s hilly and mountainous regions, including the Apennine Mountains and the Leibnitz Mountains. The data and images collected by Lunokhod 2 provided valuable insights into the Moon’s geology and helped to advance our understanding of the Earth’s nearest celestial neighbor.
Despite the success of the Lunokhod program, it was eventually discontinued due to funding issues and the shift in focus towards human space exploration.
Lunokhod 3 was never launched and is currently in a museum in Moscow.
And the fourth?
The first Lunokhod was destroyed along with the carrier during the failed attempt in 1969.
Why is the Pobeda Lunokhod 1 dial a FAKE?
There are many reasons. First of all, as far as I know, Soviet watch catalogs do not feature any wristwatches dedicated to Lunokhod rovers. Secondly, the watches, cases, and mechanisms should be older than they are since the moon landing occurred in 1970, a period when the watches were different from the one in the photo. Third, there are too many of them, and they are all in perfect condition. Lastly, but not least, upon closer inspection, the dial has characteristics that suggest an ink print. Regarding this last point, it is possible to better understand by looking at some details of the dial.
The use of black and white is definitely clever as it allows for better printing on uniform surfaces, but the indexes suffer where you can see the mixture of colors.
Therefore, I would say without much doubt or reconsideration that it is an ink print made with equipment that is definitely not for domestic use but still a print. Upon closer inspection, even the dial, in its arrangement, colors, and fonts, is not very “Soviet”. The inscriptions are not concentric, the Cyrillic inscription “Made in USSR” prominently displayed on the dial, and the approximate profile of the Lunokhod only confirm my hypothesis of the dial’s inauthenticity.
Description of the Pobeda Lunokhod 1 watch:
The rest of the watch in my possession is a classic Zim Pobeda. The case is generally not highly appreciated by collectors, made of chromed brass. The minute and second hands are silver-colored, as well as the small seconds hand.
The finishing of the caliber 2602 is similar to that of the Zim Pobeda watches from the last period, which are very rough and poorly finished. The caliber is held in place in the case by a simple steel ring. Fortunately, it works correctly.
All the above is the result of my analysis and hypotheses and cannot be considered absolute truth. I have never seen these dials printed by anyone or anywhere, so my ideas are based on punctual observations. If what I have written is correct, then I can only advise against purchasing them to avoid promoting an industry that, even if marginal, can profit from producing watches with fake dials.
Muromets is a legendary hero of Slavic culture, also known as Illya Muromets. His figure has been celebrated in epic poetry and folk tales, making Muromets one of the most iconic characters in Russian tradition. In this article, we will explore the figure of Muromets and his legend, seeking to deepen his importance in Russian culture.
The legend of Muromets has its roots in the 12th century when Kievan Rus was threatened by the incursions of nomads from the steppe. According to the legend, Illya Muromets was a young peasant who, after being paralyzed by an illness, was forced to live as a hermit in a forest. One day, while praying in an abandoned church, he met an old hermit who predicted a great destiny as a warrior for him. The old man told him to eat the grass that grew on the tomb of a warrior, whose spirit would infuse him with the strength and courage necessary to face life’s challenges.
Muromets followed the old man’s advice and, after eating the grass, miraculously recovered. He then decided to serve Prince Vladimir of Kiev and began to distinguish himself for his strength and ability in battle. During his military career, Muromets faced numerous enemies of Rus, including the Tartars and Mongols, becoming a living legend for his courage and skill.
The figure of Muromets has inspired numerous Russian artists and poets over the centuries, giving rise to a vast cultural production that still influences Russian culture today. The character of Muromets is often associated with strength and resilience and is often evoked as a symbol of the resistance of the Russian people against foreign invasions.
In Russian popular culture, Muromets has been represented in numerous ways. In some versions of the legend, he is described as a giant with long legs and a massive body, capable of lifting enormous rocks and facing entire armies alone. In other versions, Muromets is depicted as a cunning and astute warrior, able to defeat enemies thanks to his skill and courage.
The figure of Muromets has been the subject of numerous interpretations over the centuries. Some scholars have suggested that his legend may have been inspired by historical figures such as Prince Vladimir of Kiev or the Viking warrior Rurik, while others have argued that the character of Muromets represents a symbol of the Russian people and their struggle for independence.
In addition to its importance in Russian culture, the figure of Muromets has also influenced the culture of other Slavic nations, such as Serbia and others. His legend has been passed down orally for generations and has influenced literary, artistic, and cultural production in Serbia.
In Serbia, Muromets is known as “Ilija Bircanin,” and his legend has been passed down through popular ballads and epic tales. As in Russian culture, the figure of Ilija Bircanin in Serbia has also been associated with strength and courage and has often been evoked as a symbol of the resistance of the Serbian people against foreign oppression.
Moreover, the legend of Ilija Bircanin has inspired numerous artistic and literary works in Serbia. One of the most famous is the popular ballad “Ilija Bircanin,” which tells the story of how the protagonist, after being wounded in battle, is brought to a Serbian village where he receives care and protection from the local inhabitants. The ballad celebrates the solidarity and generosity of the Serbian people, who are capable of protecting and caring for a foreign warrior.
The figure of Ilija Bircanin has also been represented in works of art, such as paintings and sculptures, and has inspired numerous film and television productions. Additionally, his name has been associated with various Serbian organizations and institutions, such as the Ilija Bircanin School in Belgrade, which aims to educate young Serbian leaders.
In other Slavic nations, such as Bulgaria and Poland, the figure of Muromets has had a similar impact on culture and literary production. In Bulgaria, Muromets is known as “Krali Marko,” and his legend has been passed down through folk ballads and epic tales. Similarly, in Poland, the figure of Muromets has been adopted in popular culture, and his legend has been transmitted through ballads and stories.
In conclusion, the figure of Muromets is a symbol of Slavic culture and resistance against foreign forces. His legend has influenced literary and artistic production in numerous Slavic nations, including Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Poland, and has contributed to shaping the collective imagination of these cultures. His importance in Russian culture and that of other Slavic nations is evidenced by his constant presence in the literature, art, and popular culture of these countries.
ZIM watch dedicated to the city of Minsk of the 80s that mounts the proven calibre ZIM 2602 without shockproof. The dial commemorates the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II.
In particular, it honours the city of Minsk, the capital of present-day Belarus, which has been awarded the title of Hero-City.
13 cities of the Soviet Union, which distinguished themselves for courage and heroism during World War II, received the honorary Soviet title of Hero-City.
A symbolic award attributed to the city that corresponds to the individual honour of Hero of the Soviet Union, which was recognized together with the medal of the Gold Star.
Minsk during the Second World War.
But how did Minsk earn the honour of Hero-City? In June 1941, German troops surrounded the Belarusian city. During the clashes, the Soviet soldiers, despite the strenuous defence, had to yield, in early July. Over 300,000 Soviet soldiers were taken prisoner. The Minsk area became the focus of partisan resistance despite the very high number of civilian casualties during Nazi control.
In 1974, Minsk was awarded the honorary title of Hero-City.
To commemorate the honour today there is an important monument in Victory Square which is today one of the main squares of Minsk.
The monument of victory in Minsk.
The Victory Monument, designed in 1946 and built-in 1954, is the monument visible on the watch face.
It is a 38-meter high obelisk topped by a reproduction of the Order of Victory representing one of the highest Soviet honours.
On the four sides of the pedestal are a series of high reliefs celebrating the exploits of Belarusian civilians and soldiers during Great Patriotic War.
Reliefs present on the base are:
Liberation of the motherland
Soviet army during the Great Patriotic War
homage to the heroes who gave their lives for liberation
Under the square was built an underground memorial to pay tribute to the liberators of Belarus. On the walls of the restaurant are engraved the names of 566 people who stood out during the battles against the Nazi soldiers.
The watch is a classic Zim Pobeda in a rectangular case with rounded sides. On the dial is the Victory Monument with the dates “1945” and “1985” at the base to commemorate the forty years since the end of the war.
Written “МИНСК ГОРОД-ГЕРОЙ” meaning “Minsk Hero-City” heads the white dial of the watch beside the obelisk. Black hands and small seconds at 6 o’clock. The calibre is the classic 2602 used on many ZIM of the 80s.
This watch is part of the Sovietaly collection. Please ask for permission to use the photographs of the watch.
It goes back several years. I remember very well that a friend of mine showed me a Komandirskie with a strange logo instead of the “B” of Vostok. At the time the Internet was not very widespread and finding information about these mysterious Ostwok was not easy.
He told me that he had ordered it by mail via a form found in a magazine in Switzerland, the country where his father worked. It took me a while to find one for myself.
Here you can see my small collection: Ostwok – Vostok – SOVIETALY™
The brand name Ostwok
Ostwok is evidently Wostok’s anagram. The Vostok mark for German-speaking countries was written with the W in order to be pronounced correctly, the pronunciation of the “V” in German more resembles the Italian “F”. Moreover, perhaps by a simple coincidence, the first three letters of the brand form the word “OST” which in German means “East”, useful to underline that the watch comes from countries of Eastern Europe.
A Swiss or Russian watch?
The most useful information I found in a thread of 2014 on the Italian forum Orologiko.it to which we refer the reading and deepening (DIRECT LINK TO THE FORUM) in which we talk about the creation in 1993 of a company based in Switzerland named Ostwok SA. In 2002 the company was officially liquidated after having, as it is said, imported one and a half million Komandirskie watches. One of the unanswered questions is whether the watches were assembled in Switzerland or arrived directly in Switzerland ready to be marketed. There seems to be no certainty about that at the moment.
What is the difference with the Vostok “normal Komandirskie?
From what you can see, apart from the replacement of logos, there are no other obvious variations. The watches are in all respects, including the calibre, the usual Vostok of which you can find the corresponding in the catalogues of the 90s. The choice of models fell in many cases on cases finished tin. Personally, I cannot tell you if the choice of colour starts from tastes related to the market in those years or for commercial issues related to greater availability.
The watches were sold in a specially made kit consisting of a cardboard box in black or grey and a sheet with instructions and warranty indications.
Where to find information
Si trovano in rete informazioni riguardo agli Ostwok ma in maniera abbastanza frammentata e sporadica. Qui di seguito un elenco dei siti internet dove è possibile trovare informazioni:
It’s a relatively simple operation and knowing how to change the date to a Vostok is always convenient. Since there is no rapid exchange system given you have to operate on the normal daily exchange. This is how it is done:
Remove the winding crown and place it in the position where you normally change the time.
Bring the time forward until a date click occurs and continue until 1:00 AM
Bring the time back until approximately 8:00 PM.
Bring the time forward until it exceeds 12:00 AM, when the date changes.
Repeat the operation until you reach the desired date and you’re done!
Clearly, the delicacy is a must when carrying out the operations described above.
Are there other ways to change the date?
If we exclude stopping the watch until the day of the right month or disassembling the dial and changing the position of the wheel of the date I would say that the answer is clearly no. Although it seems a cumbersome system, for those accustomed even to quartz watches from a few euros to a quick date change, it must be recognized that the system is simple and does not complicate the calibre with additional springs and components.
Change the date, what does the instruction manual say?
Vostok watches that came to Italy in the 1980s were often accompanied by an instruction manual. Blue cover for Komandirskie and red cover for chronographs.
This is what is reported in the instruction manual
CHANGING THE DATE
Pull the crown out to position 2 and change the date by turning the hands in a clockwise direction.
Push the crown back in (Position 1)
QUICK DATE SETTING ( Position 2)
To change the date, follow these steps:
Turn the crown in a counterclockwise direction until the hands read 12 o’clock
Turn the hands in a counterclockwise direction back to 8 o’clock. Move the hands to 12 o’clock to advance the date by one day. Tepeat this operation until the desired date has been reached.
Before following the steps for quick date settings, be sure that the watch is fully wound.
How do you change the date in the modern Vostok Komandirskie?
The answer is always the same in general since the calibre used is always the same 2414 manual of the Soviet era. Other calibres have also been included in modern production, so the above instructions may not work. Please refer to the instruction manual provided with the watch to make the various adjustments including the date change.
Instructions from eBay
Interesting to know that you happen to receive a leaflet of instructions along with the watches purchased on eBay along with the Vostok watches. It is a simple A5 sheet that shows in English the basic instructions for use and adjustment of the most common Vostok calibres such as 2414.
On the leaflet, under “UPDATING OF A CALENDAR” you will find the following instructions in English:
Set the winding head into position 3. Set the correct date by turning watch head clockwise. After that, set the winding head into position 1.
The instructions on how to change the date are not very precise and above all do not correspond to the instructions given by the manual. It is then suggested to continue to change the time by continuing to turn clockwise in order to take advantage of the normal date change of the watch.
I would be very curious to know if there are other manuals or other methods to change the date in the Vostok Komandirskie. If anyone had any other information, I would ask very kindly to share it.
In Samara there is an important monument made with a fighter Il-2 Shturmovik. is located in one of the most important squares of the city and has a very curious history.
The Ilyushin Il-2 Šturmovik (NATO Bark code) was a single-engined low-wing attack engine produced in more than 26,000 units and widely used during World War II. For its great versatility, it proved to be one of the decisive aerial resources in combat.
The ZIM watch
On the dial of this ZIM watch, commemorating the 400 years of the city of Samara, you can read the inscription “400 лет Куйбышев”. In the upper part there is a stylized drawing of the monument made using a real restored Il-2.
The important role played by the city of Samara during the conflict justifies the presence of many monuments commemorating the Second World War.
The monuments of the city of Samara
At the beginning of the war, Many activities that were based in the cities near the war zones were relocated to the easternmost regions of the Soviet Union including the No. 1 factories in Moscow and the No. 18 factory in Voronezh which were moved to Samara which was then called. Kuybichev. Both began mass production of Il-2 in 1941.
The restoration of Il-2
About 25 years after the end of the war it was decided to build a memorial. The search for an Il-2 specimen to be used began. Unfortunately, it was not possible to recover any aircraft that could be used in the factories and hangars of the Soviet Union. A well-preserved specimen was found in the marshes near the town of Murmansk. The old workers of factory no. 18 took care of the restoration of the specimen.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the end of the war, in 1975, the monument with the restored Il-2 was installed in a central square of the city of Samara.
This watch is part of the Sovietaly™ collection. Please ask for permission to use the photographs of the watch.
It has existed since 1973 and certifies the quality of the calibres when they leave the laboratories of analysis. So be careful, from the analysis laboratories and not from the production cycle of the watch.
As for the accuracy, it must be considered that the movement must have a daily average deviation between -4 and +6 seconds.
The movements are controlled at temperatures of 8, 23 and 38 degrees celsius, with tolerances of +/-1 degree and in different positions for 15 days. If the tests are passed a certificate is issued.
As you can see so we are talking about average discards of a few seconds a day. Often in the common imagination, we imagine precisions much higher and close to absolute precision.
Reducing those few seconds of average deviation and therefore surpassing the “simple” chronometer certification requires a very high design and construction effort and very few calibres succeed.
The Soviet quality mark GOST
Returning to the accuracy of Russian watches we begin by saying that even in the Soviet Union there was a mark of quality of industrial products, including watches, called “ГOСT” (GOST), an acronym that derives from the Russian words Государсвенный Станнадаррр (State Standard).
Born in 1967 on the official decision of the government of Brezhnev, the goal was to improve the products made in the Soviet Union. It had a duration of three years and the penalties in case of affixing the mark without an effective valid certification were very severe.
The brand is found in watches often on the dial or imprinted on the case back. There are, however, examples where the mark was affixed to the label or outer packaging.
In hindsight, experts say that one of the main defects of the GOST brand was to certify the product and not the production process. Certifying the production process tends to guarantee a better result at the exit and therefore allows you to be more sure of the goodness of the final result.
How accurate are Russian and Soviet watches
But then, after all this information, how accurate are Russian clocks?
Compared to a Swiss chronometer, not much. The range from -20 to +40 seconds per day at a temperature of 20μ (+/- 5 μa) is typical, for example, of a Vostok 2414A caliber.
The measurements are also shown on the passport that accompanied the watch at the time of sale.
As you can see then a range that is very different from the parameters of the C.O.S.C.
In certain cases, however, the precision of Russian watches is also the result of a series of fortuitous circumstances. Individual clocks are often very accurate.
Far be it from me to lump everything together, the criteria of production and quality differed greatly, depending on the factories and the period of production. The individual calibres are also in some cases more accurate than others.
We also consider that Russian and Soviet watches were forced to ensure levels of strength and longevity of all respect. Ten years was the necessary time indicated on the passport before a review.
Most of the watches that arrive in our collections, at least I speak for mine, have in many cases been reworked, assembled, repaired. Except in very rare cases, they do not give evidence of periodic checks or revisions.
The vast majority of Russian watches in my collection march with the stated discard despite never having seen an overhaul or watchmaker.
Personal conclusions about how accurate are russian watches.
In everyday life when I want to know the time automatically I look at the phone and only in rare cases the watch. So I would say, with all the technology around us, the main function of clocking today, it’s outdated. Even when you wear a very precise watch on your wrist, such as a chronometer, we can consider it more, almost as a sign of prestige rather than actual utility
My great-grandfather, who grew up in the country, based his day on church bells ringing because he couldn’t afford a wristwatch. For a long time, the concept of precision has been much, much more labile than today.
Nevertheless, it is always a good rule to check the correct functioning of the watch when making a purchase and verify that in the various descriptions it is not indicated as not working. I personally take it for granted that a used watch is not very accurate and for this reason, I bought a chronocomparator and over time I learned to adjust the calibre to try to optimize it as much as possible.
The military postal service, in the two World Wars, proved to be an essential service to maintain the morale of the troops. It was often the only way to maintain contact with loved ones for months or even years.
The importance of the military postal service
In some cases, the urgency of the mobilization did not even allow greeting their loved ones. It’s precisely for this reason that in all wars a lot of importance has been given to the efficiency of the postal service. Often receiving a letter or postcard simply meant that your loved one was still alive. On the other hand, news of their loved ones displaced often in remote areas and far from the front revived in the soldiers the desire to fight to protect their loved ones from the invading enemy.
The postal service counts as the ammunition transport
Specially prepared railway wagons were intended exclusively for the transport of letters. The service was free. The priority of the correspondence was the same date as the supplies and ammunition. In some areas of the country, where delivery was particularly dangerous or difficult, mail or, in some cases, secret messages, was entrusted to carrier pigeons. The Germans often shot pigeons trying to intercept mail. Hawks specially trained also killed carrier pigeons.
Where did the triangle come from?
The triangular letter in Russia, or rather in the countries of the former Soviet bloc, was a symbol of the military postal service, of the letters of war.
Many were the formats of the letters sent to and from the front but the triangular letter is certainly the most famous and symbolic. It is said that all children knew how to fold a sheet of paper correctly.
Censorship controlled all the letters that passed. The folding system of the triangle letters allowed the opening and closing of the letters quickly and safely.
The Luch watch
A ladies’ watch with a very pretty dial. You can see 3/4 triangular letters and on being a red postmark with the inscriptions CCCP and Victoria in Russian. The watch was made in 1995 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War, as it is called the Second World War in Russia.
Monument to the postman of the first line
There is in the city of Voronezh a monument dedicated to front-line postmen. The statue is inspired by Corporal Ivan Leontiev who died during the war while delivering mail in the front line and was awarded the medal “To military merit”.
This watch is part of the Sovietaly collection. Please ask for permission to use the photographs of the watch.
This watch belongs to the sub-collection dedicated to space, specifically the Russian Space Military Forces. It was acquired through a less competitive auction on eBay.de and was delivered this morning via Deutsche Post. The description provided was inadequate, resulting in the watch not appearing in regular searches conducted by collectors.
THE VOSTOK RUSSIAN SPACE MILITARY FORCES WATCH Brand: VOSTOK – KOMANDIRSKIE Category: SPACE – MILITARY Movement: AUTOMATIC MECHANICAL Availability: RARE
The dial is the most captivating aspect of the watch, featuring a complex and visually engaging design. It can be divided into two distinct concentric parts, both circular in shape.
Outer Part: The outer part of the dial is light brown in color, showcasing white Arabic numeral indices, excluding the number 3 to accommodate the date window, as well as the numbers 6, 9, and 12. Instead of these indices, there is a white four-pointed star with a brown inner part. The star has the same height as the numerals.
Small minute indices are present, and the hour markers feature a yellow/green luminescent dot. Two luminescent dots are positioned at 12 o’clock.
The absence of any text suggests that it is a transitional era watch.
Inner Part: The inner part of the dial has a sugar blue color and displays various pieces of information.
At the top, there is a Cyrillic inscription: Военно Космические Силы, which translates to “Military Space Forces.”
In the center, there are abbreviations: МО РФ, representing “Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.”
Immediately below, one of the winged emblems of the Aerospace Forces is depicted.
At the bottom, the Vostok symbol and the inscription “Komandirskie” can be found, although it should be noted that the case is clearly Generalskie.
The dial may have faded over time, as the central part of the emblem should be blue. It is likely that the outer part was originally closer to blue than brown in color.
No additional details are present on the dial.
The hour and minute hands have a gold color and feature the classic shape found in Komandirskie watches. The luminescent material on the hands matches the yellow/green color on the dial.
The seconds hand is red and lacks a luminescent dot.
CASE AND CROWN
The case is of the 097XXX type, indicating a Generalskie case finished with TiN (Titanium Nitride).
The screw-down crown is also finished with TiN and has a domed outer part.
No notable features are present on the case.
The gold-colored bezel, also finished with TiN, complements the case. It is a standard bidirectional bezel with 5 red dots, one of which is larger, and the remaining 7 dots are black. The bezel does not click.
The original caseback of the watch has been replaced with a transparent mineral glass one, making it impossible to determine the original caseback. It is likely that a standard caseback was initially in place.
The watch is powered by a Vostok 2416Б automatic mechanical movement with manual winding capability.
The balance wheel features the Vostok symbol.
Jewels: 31 jewels Frequency: 19,800 vibrations per hour Power reserve: 40 hours
HISTORICAL NOTES ON THE RUSSIAN SPACE MILITARY FORCES
The Russian Space Military Forces (Russian: Космические войска: воздушно-кос
мические силы; transliterated: Vozdušno-Kosmičeskie Sily Rossii) constituted a branch of the armed forces of the Russian Federation responsible for military operations in space. The military command was based in Moscow.
Established on August 10, 1982, as a separate branch of the Soviet armed forces, the organization became part of the military forces of the newly formed Russian Federation on May 7, 1992. In 1997, the VKS (Vozdušno-Kosmičeskie Sily) were incorporated into the Strategic Missile Forces. In June 2001, they were officially reconstituted as an independent section of the Russian armed forces.
On August 1, 2015, the Space Military Forces merged with the Air Force, forming the Russian Aerospace Forces.
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE RUSSIAN SPACE MILITARY FORCES
The emblem of the Space Military Forces, which is displayed on the watch dial and is common among Soviet, Russian, and modern watches, is quite distinct. Finding credible information about it through regular search engines can be challenging. However, I discovered a credible discussion on a Russian antiquarian forum: https://forum.ww2.ru/index.php?showtopic=46257
In a post from 2007, a user reported the following:
Приложение к Приказу Министра обороны СССР 1989 г. №160 ОПИСАНИЕ нагрудного знака для классных специалистов из числа лиц офицерского состава, прапорщиков и мичманов, проходящих службу в соединениях, частях и учреждениях Управления начальника космических средств Министрерства обороны СССР. Нагрудный знак представляет собой развернутые крылья золотистого цвета. В центре знака на фоне вселенной темно-синего цвета – изображение земного шара светло-голубого цвета. Земной шар опоясан золотистой орбитой спутника. Контур вселенной обрамлен лавровыми ветвями, на крайнюю часть которых наложена пятиконечная звезда, покрытая красной эмалью, на нижнюю часть – ромб, в центре которого соответственно классу расположены цифры – 1, 2, 3 или буква “М”, покрытые белой эмалью.
“Appendix to the Order of the Minister of Defense of the USSR 1989 No. 160 DESCRIPTION of the breast badge for class specialists among the officers, warrant officers, and midshipmen serving in the units, units, and institutions of the Office of the Chief of Space Forces of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. The breast badge is an extended wing of golden color. In the center of the badge, against the background of the universe of dark blue color, there is an image of a light blue globe. The globe is surrounded by a golden satellite orbit. The contour of the universe is framed by laurel branches, on the outer part of which a five-pointed star covered with red enamel is superimposed, and on the lower part, there is a diamond, in the center of which, depending on the class, numbers – 1, 2, 3, or the letter “M” covered with white enamel are located.”
This watch is an appropriate addition to sub-collections featuring watches with both space and military themes.
The Raketa Marine, a classic among Russian watches with a little secret…
Raketa Marine is one of my favourite classics, one of the most famous and sought after Raketa 24h watches. Produced during both the Soviet and Russian periods. Often listed by collectors as a “must-have” to start or complete a collection. One of the most aesthetically pleasing Russian watches.
If we look carefully at the dial we can easily distinguish three main functions.
1) Raketa Marine – 24h hours
The watch is fitted with a Raketa calibre 2623.H ( 26mm in diameter, manual winding only, 24h with antishock). HERE is a small guide on Russian calibres. So it’s a typical, if not the typical 24h Russian watch. The time reading is not as complex as you might think, just consider that the hour hand makes a turn on a full day and not twice as in the watch we are used to. This involves a gap between the hour indices and the minute indices that we will explore later. The watch in its various versions, Russian, Soviet and branded GOST, differs little. The Raketa Marine is always clearly visible and easy to read.
2) Raketa Marine – Watch duty
One of the distinguishing features of this watch is the rotating inner ring, adjustable by a special crown placed under the charging hour “8”. The ring has a very simple use and serves to identify the times of the watch shifts. The latter in the navy are made by 4 hours of the guard and 4 hours of rest. The three watch shifts and the three rest shifts, therefore, make up the total 24 hours. The ring is swivel to conveniently set the beginning of the first round. At this point, however, the mysteries of the Raketa Marine begin… Does the fact that one of the four-hour shifts is in red and the other two in blue have any meaning or is it just to highlight what is the first round? Experience tells me that the Russians are very precise and never do things randomly. On this aspect, I have yet to investigate, although probably the hypothesis of indicating the first round remains the most plausible.
[EDIT: 05/03/2022] There’s also another theory on the internet about the dashed lines on the quadrant. Some say they give sailors shower times. From what I have been told the issue has been dealt with on some Russian forums, it seems watch.ru, but personally, I can not find any trace of it.
3) Raketa Marine – Radio Silence
But the densest mystery that has surrounded the Raketa Marine for some time, which I hope I have solved once and for all (maybe for someone it was clear, but many people, if asked they could not answer ), concerns the blue lines on the dial between 6:00:00 and 7:00 and between 18:00 and 19:00. It is these graphic symbols that it is not very intuitive to give a purpose within the day. The “mystery” of Raketa Marine is solved as usual with careful observation and a little’ in-depth research.
As I said before, the Russians are very precise and looking at the dial of this Russian watch you can see that the lines are blue, like the minute indexes and not like those of the hours, which are black.
If you pay even more attention you can see that the lines are aligned with the hour indices and not with the hour indices. Made this observation and collected information on what can happen for three minutes every half hour and not for two hours every 24 is found in a well-known practice inside the ships (on a Raketa Marine everything makes sense), namely the “radio silence period”.
Animation helps to understand correct
What is “Radio Silence”?
In a very simplistic way, it is a few minutes (precisely 15-16-17 and 45-46 and 47 minutes of each hour) in which radio operators are asked not to carry out transmissions but to listen to allow to pick up any SOS launched from ships in danger. This period concerns only the telegraphic listening frequency of 500 MHz. There is also another period of listening of a different frequency to pick up any radio messages of MAYDAY.
On the net, there are many examples and two often used are of famous Soviet clocks and watches:
The 500 kHz frequency
Probably due to issues related to the legibility of the dial of the watch, only the period related to the 500 kHz telegraph transmissions was highlighted.
The practice of listening on medium waves at a frequency of 500 kHz went into disuse in 1999 after about 90 years, replaced by systems much more modern and reliable. At the time of the design of the Raketa Marine so the practice was still in use.
Vostok Astronaut, or Vostok Cosmonaut, is generally the name given to this beautiful Soviet watch. The name is clearly given by the design of the dial that represents the profile face of an astronaut inside a helmet of a spacesuit.
Much sought after by collectors around the world because of the direct reference to the Soviet space adventure (you can see very well the iconic CCCP on the helmet) exists in various versions that we will go as far as possible to analyze.
The charm of this watch also comes from not knowing exactly who the astronaut is portrayed inside the helmet. We will try to understand together what are the plausible theories about it.
Vostok Astronaut, but how many versions?
We can mainly identify three variants of the watch, two of the Soviet period and one of the transactional period. There are other versions that differ for the type of case or ring. Difficult to understand if they are original of factory or watches with the pieces replaced.
The Soviet versions.
These two versions, especially the one with the blue dial and the Neptune case, are the less common ones. In both cases the dial is identical except for the background colour.
The version with black dial is normally found in Generalskie 091xxx chrome case with the Vostok calibre automatic 2416b. Produced in the 80s and mainly intended for the Italian and German markets. The example in the picture has the typical unidirectional ring with small dots that are easily found in the automatic Vostok intended precisely for these two markets.
The blue version of the Soviet period, much more difficult to find than the previous one, is in the Neptune case and has an automatic Vostok calibre.
The dial for both versions is substantially identical and differs only in colour.
The transactional period version.
There is also a post-Soviet version of the Vostok Astronaut. It’s possible to assume that, given the success of the Soviet version, it was taken over by Vostok for the production of an Amphibia with a very similar dial.
Below you can see two versions with the same transactional period dial. Both in case 020xxx with clearly different ferrules. At the moment I cannot say which is the correct ring.
The Vostok Astronaut’s dial.
The most beautiful and characteristic part of the watch. The profile of the astronaut with the helmet in the background evokes deep space. The Soviet and transitional versions are very similar, similar but not the same.
At first glance, one does not easily realize the differences between the two versions. The astronaut’s design differs in many details that can easily be seen if we compare the two prints.
Easy to see how the reflections on the helmet and the visor are reported in a different way. Just take to reference the position of the “P” on the helmet.
Who is the person in the suitcase?
Three are currently the most popular theories if we exclude the one in which we hypothesize a “generic” astronaut.
The Soviet astronaut, or rather the Soviet cosmonaut, is generally identified with Y. Gagarin, the first man to have gone into space. The theory is based on the fact that Gagarin’s features, as you can see from the photos, were quite delicate and not particularly marked.
Anna Lee Fisher
Fascinating theory but a bit imaginative because it is difficult to imagine, if not jokingly, an American astronaut in a Soviet suit, especially in the 80s. The image of Anna Lee Fisher, however, recalls very much the one on the dial and I would not exclude that those who designed the dial could not have been inspired by this photograph.
The theory I perhaps prefer and perhaps even the most probable. On the dial of the Vostok Astronaut could be represented Valentina Tereshkova, The first woman to have gone into space. He left aboard a Soyuz capsule from Baikonur in June 1963 and, above all, returned safely to Earth after a three-day solo mission. We’re in the ’60s, and at the time, the very thought of getting a woman into space was innovative. But the Soviet Union has often given us on a silver platter these gems of emancipation and feminism probably also the result of studied political propaganda.
Vostok Astronaut has clones?
There is also a “dubious” version with a design very similar to the Vostok but that looks less pleasant in my opinion. It is a hand-wound Slava watch with calibre 2428. On the light grey/white dial, we find the profile of the astronaut seen before but in blue colour. The design clearly recalls the Soviet version but is less defined and convincing.
Another curious fact is that in the lower part of the quadrant we find the name of Yuri Gagarin in Cyrillic (Ю. А. ГАРИН), which could support the argument that the astronaut represented is Gagarin and not Valentina Tereshkova.
The watch, or rather watches, are definitely a milestone in any collection dedicated to space and especially to space watches. Beautiful to show and wear. Regardless of the model or version, the simplicity of the design and the cleanliness of the dial makes it one of the most successful Soviet watches of the 80s. As to who is represented on the dial, I would say that it is irrelevant. Maybe it was the desire of those who realized the design to leave the doubt and keep thinking about those brave men and women who opened the way to space exploration.
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