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.