Ostwok: The Story and Mystery of Russian Watches Marketed as Swiss

Ostwok: The Story and Mystery of Russian Watches Marketed as Swiss

Introduction to Ostwok

The Ostwok brand represents a fascinating chapter in horological history, blending the reliability of Soviet military watches with Swiss prestige and precision. Founded in 1993, Ostwok SA was based in Fehraltorf, Switzerland, and specialized in importing and distributing Russian Vostok watches under a brand that suggested Swiss origin. This article explores the company’s history, the details of its products, and the mysterious 1994 contest, providing a comprehensive overview of this intriguing phenomenon.

The Foundation of Ostwok SA

Ostwok SA was founded in 1993 in Fehraltorf, Switzerland, at Wingertstrasse 50, 8308 Illnau, Illnau-Effretikon, Switzerland. The company imported Vostok watches from the Soviet Union, known for their robustness and reliability, and distributed them in Europe under the Ostwok brand. With a share capital of 800,000 CHF distributed in 800 nominal shares of 1,000 CHF each, the company operated until 2002, when it was liquidated (kompany – global company intelligence)​​ (kompany – global company intelligence)​.

Updated Values in Euros:

  • 800,000 CHF in 1993: Assuming an average exchange rate of 1.50 CHF per euro and an annual inflation rate of 2%, this amount would be approximately 800,000 CHF x 0.66 = 528,000 EUR today.
  • 1,000 CHF per share in 1993: Similarly, each share would be worth approximately 1,000 CHF x 0.66 = 660 EUR today.

Operational Address of Ostwok

From the attached image, it is seen that the operational address on the watch box was Ostwok SA, Postfach 200, Allmendstr. 30, CH-8320 Fehraltorf, Switzerland.

Primo piano di una scatola nera con l'indirizzo della società OSTWOK SA. Proprietà di Sovietaly.
Primo piano di una scatola nera con l’indirizzo della società OSTWOK SA. Immagine di proprietà di Sovietaly.

The Ostwok Brand

Ostwok is an anagram of Wostok, the German name for Vostok, chosen to facilitate correct pronunciation in German-speaking countries. The Ostwok logo, which replaced Vostok’s Cyrillic “B” with a “W”, was a distinctive feature and often included graphic symbols such as stars or military emblems. This branding aimed to create an image of Swiss watches, leveraging Switzerland’s reputation in watchmaking (WatchUSeek Watch Forums)​​ (SOVIETALY™)​.

Ostwok Watches

The watches sold under the Ostwok brand were actually Vostok Komandirskie and Amphibia models, known for their robustness and durability. These watches, originally produced for the Red Army, featured mechanical movements and often had cases finished in titanium nitride. They were sold with a kit that included a cardboard box and a leaflet with instructions and warranty (TrademarkRegistrationOnline)​​ (SOVIETALY™).

russian swiss watch Ostwok Vostok Komandirskie Generals-Uhr
Ostwok Generals-Uhr
Vostok Ostwok Komandirskie Paratrooper
Ostwok Paratrooper
swiss russian ostwok watch gagarin
Ostwok Kosmonauten-Uhr

Registration in Canada

Ostwok SA registered several trademarks in Canada starting in 1994, including trademarks for horological and chronometric instruments and related accessories. However, the registration procedures were interrupted, and the trademarks were abandoned by 1998. This registration was part of a strategy to expand the brand’s international presence and protect it in global markets (TrademarkRegistrationOnline)​​ (WatchUSeek Watch Forums).

The 1994 Contest

In 1994, Ostwok SA launched a contest to promote its watches. The contest offered significant prizes, including sums of money (SFr. 10,000 for the first prize and SFr. 5,000 for the second prize) and Ostwok watches. Participants had to correctly answer three questions regarding Ostwok SA’s headquarters, whether the watches required batteries, and the presence of a quality certificate. The deadline for submissions was 31 May 1994, and the winners were to be selected under notarial supervision. No further specific information about the contest’s outcome or winners has been found (SOVIETALY™)​​ (SOVIETALY™)​​ (WatchUSeek Watch Forums).

Pubblicità in tedesco di orologi militari russi Ostwok con immagini di diversi modelli. Proprietà di Mchap.
Pubblicità in tedesco che promuove orologi militari russi Ostwok con diversi modelli visibili. Immagine di proprietà di Mchap.

Translation of the Advertisement:

Jetzt schlägt’s OSTWOK

OSTWOK, die russische Original-Militäruhr

Jetzt sind sie da! Die einzig echten Original-Kommandirskie-Militäruhren aus der ehemaligen Sowjetunion. Diese weitgehendst handgefertigten, mechanischen und robusten Spezialuhren sind bereits im härtesten Testmarkt Schweiz der absolute Renner. Nun ist die erste Kollektion, die eigens für die ehemalige sowjetische Armee-Elite kreiert wurde, auch in Deutschland eingetroffen. Weitere Serien werden folgen!

Die schweizerische Handelsfirma OSTWOK SA hat den alleinigen weltweiten Vertrieb exklusiv in Händen und bietet sie im Direktverkauf unter der Marke OSTWOK mit Lederarmband, Qualitätszertifikat vom Werk und 1 Jahr Garantie an. Sichern Sie sich dieses batteriefreie, wasserdichte und stoßfeste Liebhaberstück. Es besteht ein Ansichts- bzw. Rückgaberecht innerhalb 5 Tagen. Die Uhren bleiben bis zur vollständigen Bezahlung im Eigentum der Lieferfirma.

Verlangen Sie unseren Prospekt für weitere Kommandirskie-Uhren!

Bestell-Telefon: 0130 815 888 (gebührenfrei)
Bestell-Telefax: 004119 551 313


AnzahlArmband braunArmband schwarz
KGB (automatisch)DM 215.-[ ]DM 220.-[ ]
GeneralDM 195.-[ ]DM 200.-[ ]
AdmiralDM 195.-[ ]DM 200.-[ ]
MarinefliegerDM 195.-[ ]DM 200.-[ ]
KosmonautDM 89.-[ ]DM 94.-[ ]

Gewünschte Zahlungsart: [ ] Bar/Check
[ ] Rechnung
[ ] Nachnahme

Preise zuzüglich MwSt., Verpackungs- und Versandspesen

Datum, Unterschrift:

Bitte einsenden an: Ostwok SA, Postfach 200, CH-8320 Fehraltorf

Now it’s time for OSTWOK

OSTWOK, the original Russian military watch

Now they are here! The only genuine original Komandirskie military watches from the former Soviet Union. These predominantly handmade, mechanical, and robust special watches are already the absolute hit in the toughest Swiss test market. Now the first collection, specially created for the former Soviet army elite, has also arrived in Germany. More series will follow!

The Swiss trading company OSTWOK SA has exclusive worldwide distribution rights and offers them for direct sale under the OSTWOK brand with a leather strap, factory quality certificate, and a 1-year warranty. Secure these battery-free, waterproof, and shockproof collector’s items. There is a viewing and return right within 5 days. The watches remain the property of the supplier until full payment.

Request our brochure for more Komandirskie watches!

Order Telephone: 0130 815 888 (toll-free)
Order Fax: 004119 551 313

Reservation/Order Certificate

QuantityBrown StrapBlack Strap
KGB (automatic)DM 215.-[ ]DM 220.-[ ]
GeneralDM 195.-[ ]DM 200.-[ ]
AdmiralDM 195.-[ ]DM 200.-[ ]
Naval PilotDM 195.-[ ]DM 200.-[ ]
CosmonautDM 89.-[ ]DM 94.-[ ]

Preferred Payment Method: [ ] Cash/Check
[ ] Invoice
[ ] COD

Prices plus VAT, packaging, and shipping costs

Telephone Number:
Date of Birth:
Date, Signature:

Please send to: Ostwok SA, Postfach 200, CH-8320 Fehraltorf

Contract with Switzerland

A period newspaper article describes the contract between a Swiss company, BN, and the Vostok watch factory. This contract involved the supply of 1.5 million “Commandant” watches and exclusive distribution in the West. Vostok’s administrative director, Vladimir Irnjiev, confirmed the details without revealing specific information about the Swiss partner or the contract amount (WatchUSeek Watch Forums)​.

Articolo di giornale in francese intitolato "Contrat avec la Suisse" che parla dell'accordo tra la fabbrica di orologi russa Ostwok e una società svizzera per la fornitura di orologi Commandant (Komandirskie)
Articolo di giornale francese che annuncia il contratto tra la fabbrica di orologi russa Ostwok e una società svizzera per la fornitura di 1,5 milioni di orologi Commandant. Immagine di proprietà di Mchap.

Text of the Article:

Massive, inelegant, but reliable, the Russian “Commandant” watch was once reserved for Red Army officers. For three years, it has made its appearance in the West, with some success. So much so that a Swiss company, BN, has just signed a contract with the “Vostok” watch factory, which will supply 1.5 million “Commandant” watches in the coming years.

The Swiss firm has also acquired exclusive sales rights in the West. Available on the Russian market for about 5000 rubles (about 45 francs), these massive watches are now distributed internationally.

Contacted in Chistopol, in the Tatarstan region (central Russia), the administrative director of “Vostok”, Vladimir Irnjiev, remains very evasive.

He confirms the data published by the Russian agency Interfax but says nothing more, neither about the Swiss partner nor about the amount of the contract, “a commercial secret”.

As for the BN company, it is unknown to the Swiss Watch Federation, which keeps a register of all Swiss companies that produce and market watches.

With an annual production of about 70 million watches, Russia is one of the “giants” of watchmaking, along with Japan, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.

Updated Values in Euros:

  • 45 Swiss francs in 1994: With the same exchange rate and inflation, this amount would be about 45 CHF x 0,66 = 29,7 EUR today.

Additional Resources and Links


With this information, we can better understand the history and uniqueness of Ostwok watches, an intriguing blend of Soviet reliability and European style. Ostwok represents a fascinating example of how watchmaking can unite different cultural and technical traditions, creating unique and sought-after products for collectors.

The CARDI Vostok Watch Brand: A Collaboration Between Design and Russian Mechanics

cardi vostok russian watch


The CARDI Vostok watch brand represents a unique collaboration between Western design and Russian mechanical precision. Founded in the early 1990s, this brand distinguished itself with unique designs and the use of high-quality movements produced by the renowned Vostok watch factory.

Origins and History

The history of CARDI Vostok begins in 1991, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The name “Cardi” is derived from the abbreviation of “Car Design Studio,” a Russian company specializing in automobile customization. In an attempt to diversify its activities, Cardi began collaborating with the Vostok watch factory to produce watches with a more “Western” aesthetic​ (WatchUSeek Watch Forums)​​ (WatchUSeek Watch Forums)​.

The early models of CARDI Vostok were known for their innovative design and the use of materials such as brass and cheap alloys, mainly produced by the Minsk Watch Factory. These watches were considered high quality, but over time the quality of the materials declined, leading the brand to lose popularity and cease production around 2009​ (Sovietaly)​.

Design and Movements

cardi vostok russian watch
Cardi Vostok Racingtime GP

CARDI Vostok models combine Cardi’s creative design with Vostok’s robust mechanical movements. The designs were often inspired by the automotive world, with names like “Capitan,” “MVM Sport,” “GP,” “Racing Time,” and “Radar”​ (WatchUSeek Watch Forums)​.

The watches used high-quality mechanical movements, such as the 2409 caliber produced by the Vostok factory. Some later models used movements from the 1st Moscow Watch Factory (Poljot) and the Slava factory, in addition to the original Vostok movements. However, after being acquired by Interex-Orion in 2000, the brand began using Chinese movements to reduce costs, further impacting the overall quality of the watches​ (WatchCrunch)​​ (WatchUSeek Watch Forums)​.

cardi vostok russian watch
Cardi Vostok Racingtime GP

Decline and End of Production

Despite initial success, various factors led to the brand’s decline. The quality of the materials used decreased over time, and the introduction of Chinese movements compromised the brand’s reputation for quality. These changes led to a drop in sales and, ultimately, the cessation of production around 2009. Today, Cardi has withdrawn from the watch market and refocused on automotive design​ (Sovietaly)​​ (WatchUSeek Watch Forums)​.


CARDI Vostok watches represent an interesting chapter in the history of Russian watchmaking, characterized by a mix of Western design and Russian mechanics. Although production has ceased, these watches remain collectible items for vintage watch enthusiasts and symbolize a period of transition and innovation.

For more information, you can consult the sources used in this article: WatchCrunch, WatchUSeek, Sovietaly, and SovietWatchStore.

The Unveiled Mystery: The Commemorative Watch of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

The Unveiled Mystery: The Commemorative Watch of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Zaporizhzhia is the answer to the question that has intrigued many people for a long time. On December 31, 2020, in the Facebook group “Russian Watches Passion,” user Gianfranco posted a photo of a watch asking for information about it:

Initial Hypotheses

The responses from group members and other collectors were numerous. Here are some summarized hypotheses:

  • Astronomical observatory
  • Precision instrument
  • Camera lens
  • Textile frame
  • Microcircuit

None of these hypotheses proved correct.

The Accidental Discovery

The solution emerged by chance while I was writing in this same blog about a commemorative watch for the 10th anniversary of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The History of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and one of the ten largest in the world. Located near the city of Enerhodar in Ukraine, its construction began in 1980, and the first reactor was commissioned in 1984. The plant consists of six VVER-1000 reactors, each with a production capacity of 1,000 megawatts, making the total capacity of the plant 6,000 megawatts.

The plant has been a symbol of technological and industrial progress for the Soviet Union and, subsequently, for independent Ukraine. Over the years, it has played a crucial role in supplying electricity to the country and the surrounding region.

The Meaning of the Dial

Thanks to this discovery, the mysterious dial now has a solution. It is one of the Raketa commemorative watches for the 10th anniversary of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The black silhouette represents the buildings housing the nuclear reactors. In the photo below, it is possible to see how they have a dome on top and, next to it, a lower building, probably housing the steam turbines. The building containing the reactor also has a particular shape that mirrors the silhouette on the watch dial.

The vertical yellow and black rays crossing the black silhouette probably represent nuclear energy or energy in general.

The Plant’s Timeline

As evidenced by the timeline on the official website of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the first nuclear reactor was commissioned in 1984, and subsequent reactors were completed in 1994.

The Current Situation in 2024

In 2024, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remains a focal point not only for Ukraine but also for the international community, especially due to the geopolitical situation in the region. For updated information, you can visit the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) website, which monitors the safety and operation of nuclear power plants globally.

The mysterious dial is thus a tribute to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, a detail that enriches the history of this particular Raketa watch model. This piece is a fascinating example of how everyday objects can hold deep stories and meanings, linked to significant moments in industrial and technological history.

Poljot Khrunichev Space Center Watch: A Tribute to Russian Space History

Poljot Russian Watch Space Center Khrunichev


In the 1990s, during the political and economic transition from the Soviet Union to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the renowned watch company Poljot produced a series of commemorative watches. Among them, the Poljot Khrunichev Space Center watch stands out as a tribute to the importance of the Khrunichev Space Center in Russian aerospace history. This article will explore in detail the features of this watch, the caliber that powers it, and the crucial role of the Khrunichev Space Center.

Poljot Russian Watch Space Center Khrunichev
Poljot Space Center Khrunichev

Watch Features

The Poljot Khrunichev Space Center watch is a perfect example of design and function, combining aesthetics and history in a single piece.

  • Dial: The dial is dominated by a stylized representation of the Northern Hemisphere, complete with parallels and meridians, and an artistic representation of interstellar space with stylized stars. At the center of the dial, the MIR space station, active at the time of the watch’s production, is clearly depicted. The “SPACE CENTER KHRUNISHEV” inscription emphasizes the center’s international significance. The raised metal indices and gold-plated hands add a touch of elegance.
  • Case: The round case is made of steel with a dual satin and gold finish, giving the watch a refined appearance. The bi-color dial, white and blue, creates a visually appealing contrast.
  • Back: The back of the watch is simple, with an engraved serial number (118218). Signs of attempted battery replacement by inexperienced hands are visible.

The Caliber

The watch is powered by the Poljot quartz caliber, known for its simplicity and reliability. This movement uses an AG1 button battery and does not contain jewels, a choice reflecting cost-consciousness without compromising functionality. The movement is secured inside the case by a white plastic component, a common solution for watches of this period.

russian poljot watch Khrunichev
Poljot Khrunichev Space Center
russian poljot watch Khrunichev
Poljot Khrunichev Space Center

Khrunichev Space Center: A Beacon of Russian Space Technology

The Khrunichev Space Center, founded in 1916 near Moscow, is one of the most influential institutions in Russian space exploration history. Originally engaged in the production of “Russo-Baltique” automobiles, the company quickly evolved, significantly contributing to the production of military aircraft such as the Ilyushin Il-4 and Tupolev Tu-2 during World War II.

In the 1960s, the center expanded its scope to include the production of missiles and space modules, becoming a key player in the Soviet space era. Notable achievements include modules for the MIR, SALYUT, and the current ISS space stations, as well as the Proton rockets, still in use today.

Further Reading on the History and Productions of the Khrunichev Space Center

For those interested in delving deeper into the history and innovations of the Khrunichev Space Center, here are some useful links:

Collecting Russian Watches: A Valuable Addition

The Poljot Khrunichev Space Center watch is a gem for collectors of space-themed watches. Purchased for about €20, it represents not only a piece of mechanical precision but also a tribute to Russian space history. Despite some signs of use on the back, the watch is in good condition and offers an excellent combination of history and functionality.

Dating the Watch

The presence of the MIR station on the dial helps date the watch between 1992 and 1998. The MIR station, operational from 1986 to 2001, is a key indicator. The absence of references to the Soviet Union suggests a post-1992 production, while the launch of the ISS in 1998 marks the end of the production period for this specific model.


The Poljot Khrunichev Space Center watch is more than just a timepiece; it is a piece of history. For collectors, it represents a unique opportunity to own an item that celebrates the remarkable achievements of the Khrunichev Space Center and Russian space history. This watch is perfect for enriching any collection with a piece of technological and cultural history.

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