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

cardi vostok russian watch

Introduction

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 Today, Cardi has withdrawn from the watch market and refocused on automotive design​ (Sovietaly)​​ (WatchUSeek Watch Forums)​.

Conclusion

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.

Vostok Codes: A Complete Guide

Tabella identificativa dei codici degli orologi Vostok con modelli Amphibia e Komandirskie, diverse forme di casse e materiali, e elementi di sfondo dell'era sovietica e militare.

Vostok watches, produced in Russia, are icons of reliability and robustness in the watchmaking world. Known for their ability to withstand extreme conditions, these watches are cherished by both collectors and enthusiasts. Their history dates back to the Soviet era, during which they were developed to meet the needs of both the military and civilians. In this article, we will explore in detail the identification codes used to describe the movements and cases of Vostok watches. For convenience, the notation ABCDE/FGHIJKH is taken from the site: netgrafik.ch.

Understanding Vostok Watch Codes

Russian/Soviet movement and case codes follow a specific format: ABCDE/FGHIJKH.

ABCDE

  • AB: Movement diameter in mm.
  • CD, CDE: Soviet movement specification. For more details, refer to the table at the bottom of the page.

FGH

  • FGH: Case variation. Each combination of numbers represents a different case design or style.

I

  • I: Case material. Here are some examples from Vostok models:
    • 0: Stainless steel and other metals without plating.
    • 1: Chrome plated.
    • 2: Gold plated.
    • 3: Gilded (at least 5 microns).
    • 4: Colour coated.
    • 5: Synthetic, polymer, rubber.
    • 7: Titanium alloy.
    • 9: Glass, crystal, ceramics, marble.

JKH

  • JKH: Handset. Each combination represents a specific type of hands used on the watch.

Classification of Vostok Cases

The table below categorises the different cases used in Vostok watch models. The information is organised by case code (FGH), case material (I), watch model, and case shape.

Vostok Case Table

Case Code FGHMaterial IHandset Code JKHModelCase MaterialCase Shape
350XXXAmphibiaStainless steelTonneau
1190XXXAmphibiaStainless steelOctagonal
710XXXAmphibiaStainless steelOctagonal
470XXXAmphibiaStainless steelCarre
320XXXAmphibiaStainless steelTonneau
9370XXXAmphibiaStainless steelRound
960XXXAmphibiaStainless steelBig Lug
250XXXAmphibiaStainless steelMinistry
020XXXAmphibiaStainless steelRound
420XXXAmphibiaStainless steelRound
627XXXAmphibiaTitanium alloyTonneau
381XXXKomandirskieChrome platedRound
383XXXKomandirskieGold platedRound
781XXXKomandirskieChrome platedRound
783XXXKomandirskieGold platedRound
441XXXKomandirskieChrome platedCarre
443XXXKomandirskieGold platedCarre
791XXXKomandirskieChrome platedRound
793XXXKomandirskieGold platedRound
1391XXXKomandirskieChrome platedRound
1393XXXKomandirskieGold platedRound
291XXXKomandirskieChrome platedRound
293XXXKomandirskieGold platedRound
341XXXKomandirskieChrome platedCarre
349XXXKomandirskieTiNCarre
331XXXKomandirskieChrome platedTonneau
339XXXKomandirskieTiNTonneau
091XXXGeneralskieChrome platedRound

Case Materials

Vostok watch cases are made from various materials, each with its own durability and aesthetic characteristics:

  • Stainless Steel (0): Offers exceptional resistance to corrosion and long durability. It is the predominant material for Amphibia models, known for their robustness.
  • Chrome Plated (1): Primarily used in Komandirskie models, providing a shiny finish and good corrosion resistance.
  • Gold Plated (3): Found in some Komandirskie models, giving a luxurious and refined appearance.
  • Titanium Alloy (7): Lightweight and highly resistant, used in models like the Amphibia for increased durability.
  • TiN (Titanium Nitride) (9): Known for its extreme hardness and scratch resistance, providing a distinctive golden finish.

Case Shapes

Vostok watch cases come in various shapes, each with a unique design to suit different tastes and aesthetic preferences:

  • Tonneau: An elegant, barrel-shaped design.
  • Octagonal: An eight-sided design often associated with robustness.
  • Carre: A square or rectangular shape offering a classic look.
  • Round: The most common and versatile shape, suitable for any style.

Main Models

  • Amphibia: Famous for their water resistance and robust construction, these watches feature cases in stainless steel or titanium alloy. Originally designed for the Soviet naval forces, they have become popular among divers and adventurers.
  • Komandirskie: Inspired by military style, these watches, though not officially used by the military, are available in chrome plated, gold plated, and TiN versions. They are known for their classic design and reliability.
  • Generalskie: These watches also feature a military-inspired style but lack evidence of official military use. They often include models with chrome plated cases.

Conclusion

Vostok watches perfectly combine history, engineering, and design. The diversity of cases, in terms of materials, models, and shapes, offers enthusiasts a wide range of choices. Whether you are a collector or simply a watch lover, Vostok models with their unique characteristics and reliability make an excellent choice. Their history and continuous evolution make them a fascinating topic for anyone interested in horology.

Vremia Watches: Soviet Charm and European Quality

swiss watch Vremia Chrono black

Vremia watches, also known as Vremja (in Cyrillic время), are a fascinating example of how international collaboration can create unique and high-quality products. These watches were created in the late 1980s, thanks to the Italian company Binda, with the aim of capitalising on the growing popularity of Soviet culture in the West.

swiss watch Vremia CCCP
Vremia CCCP

The Birth of the Vremia Brand

The BPEMR (BPEMA) CCCP brand was officially registered on 24 March 1989, during a period of commercial opening in the USSR under Gorbachev’s leadership. This opening allowed for the export of various Soviet products to Western markets, where they were enthusiastically received thanks to their exotic charm and robust quality.

russian watch Vremia B&W
Vremia B&W

Features of Vremia Watches

Vremia watches are distinguished by a range of models with reliable mechanical movements such as the Slava 2414, Poljot 2612.1, and Poljot 3133. Their dials, essential and clean, embody the Soviet style of the era. Some models feature distinctive symbols like the Red Star, while others are more subtle, with a small “cccp” inscription in the centre of the dial.

swiss watch Vremia Gold
Vremia Gold

Binda: The Italian Heart of Vremia Watches

Founded in 1906 by Innocente Binda, the Binda company has played a crucial role in the watch sector for over a century. Under the leadership of his grandsons, Simone and Marcello Binda, the company continues to produce and distribute high-quality watches. Binda Italia is known for its ability to combine innovative design and advanced technologies, offering a variety of products ranging from fashion models to more classic and technical watches, including “Swiss Made” timepieces.

swiss russian watch Vremia Pocket
Vremia Pocket watch

The Uniqueness of Vremia Watches

Vremia watches represent a perfect fusion of Russian tradition and Western craftsmanship. The “zerone rosso” model is an emblematic example of this mix, with a design that could easily have been produced by Poljot. Even the time-only and alarm clock models are highly appreciated for their quality and design.

These watches are a true hybrid: Italian construction with Russian mechanics. While they are adapted to the Italian market, they retain a unique charm that distinguishes them from traditional Russian watches. Despite the criticisms of purists, Vremia watches offer exceptional value, with accessible prices ranging from 100 to 150 euros.

swiss russian watch vremia
Vremia Red Zero

Unique Details on the Case Back

A distinctive detail of Vremia watches is the inscription on the case back, which reads:

“Часы собранные в Швейцарии, двигатель механический подлинный русского производства. Mechanical movement originally produced in Russia, watch assembled in Switzerland.”

This inscription highlights the combination of Russian mechanics and Swiss assembly, ensuring the authenticity and high quality of these watches.

swiss watch Vremia Red Star black dial
Vremia Red Star black dial

Conclusion

Vremia watches are a fascinating chapter in the history of watchmaking, characterised by a unique mix of Soviet aesthetics and European quality. Thanks to Binda’s initiative, these watches reflect the best of both worlds, combining attractive design with high standards of quality. A true treasure for watch enthusiasts looking for something unique and meaningful.

How to read a Raketa 24h watch: a comprehensive guide

russian watch raketa 24h

How to read a Raketa 24h watch

Raketa 24h watches are a type of mechanical watch produced by the Raketa factory in St. Petersburg, Russia. These watches are characterized by a 24-hour dial instead of the usual 12-hour dial.

russian watch Raketa 24h Marine
Raketa 24h Marine

How the hour hand works

The hour hand on a Raketa 24h watch is the longest hand and is located in the center of the dial. The hour hand completes one full rotation in 24 hours, from midnight to midnight.

To read the time on a Raketa 24h watch, you need to identify the index on the dial that corresponds to the position of the hour hand. The index indicates the time of day.

For example, if the hour hand is at the 12 o’clock index, it is midnight. If the hour hand is at the 6 o’clock index, it is 6:00 am. If the hour hand is at the 18 o’clock index, it is 6:00 pm.

russian watch Raketa 24h Zestril
Raketa 24h Zestril

How the minute hand works

The minute hand on a Raketa 24h watch is the shortest hand and is located in the center of the dial, next to the hour hand. The minute hand completes one full rotation in 60 minutes.

To read the minutes on a Raketa 24h watch, you need to identify the number on the dial that corresponds to the position of the minute hand. The number indicates the minutes of the day.

For example, if the minute hand is at the 12 o’clock index, it is 00:00. If the minute hand is at the 6 o’clock index, it is 00:30. If the minute hand is at the 18 o’clock index, it is 06:00.

Soviet and Russian Raketa 24h watches

Raketa 24h watches were often used in closed environments or above the Arctic Circle, when it is not possible to accurately determine the time of day by observing the sun.

In fact, above the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets during the summer and never rises during the winter. In these cases, a Raketa 24h watch is the only way to know the correct time.

russian watch Raketa 24h Red Star
Raketa 24h Soviet navy

Discovering the Charm of Soviet and Russian Watch Collections

Ritaglio schermata pagina Lancette Sovietiche Collezionare Sovietaly intervista

Strange as it may sound, even a collection of Soviet and Russian watches can be appreciated and recognised by non-enthusiasts. Andrea Manini, a 44-year-old from Milan, has been collecting these timepieces since 1992 and now boasts over 400 examples. “What amuses me greatly is that, unlike Swiss watches, the Russian ones always hide a story to tell,” says Manini.

Ritaglio schermata pagina Lancette Sovietiche Collezionare Sovietaly intervista
Lancette Sovietiche collezionare online

The world of Soviet watchmaking is rich with stories, particularly those surrounding Yuri Gagarin, the first man to conquer space. The exact watch he wore during his 1961 mission remains a topic of debate. Some claim he wore a Poljot Sturmanskie, produced by Moscow’s First Watch Factory, while others argue it was the Type One by Sturmanskie, citing a photograph as evidence. “But who can say for certain? Perhaps it’s just a shot taken during a simple exercise?” muses Manini, highlighting the mysteries often associated with these famous timepieces.

Manini’s passion for Russian watches began in 1992, the year following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Russian watches started appearing in Italian jewellery stores, sparking his interest. His first purchase was a Vostok Komandirskie, bought for a few lire at a roadside stall. The military look and the rocket on the dial intrigued him, only later discovering its significance related to Gagarin’s historic flight.

Manini’s collection focuses on Russian space adventures and Soviet watches designed for the Italian market. There are also categories dedicated to Soviet polar explorations and Russian railways. Watches commemorating space milestones, like Sputnik, Laika, and Gagarin, are particularly numerous and fascinating.

The evolution of Russian watchmaking is complex, intertwining with the country’s social, political, and military history. Initially, Russian watches were crafted by artisan workshops during the Tsarist era. The Soviet era brought industrialisation, with factories producing watches en masse for civilians and the military, using machinery acquired from American companies.

Famous brands emerged, like Poljot (meaning flight), Raketa (rocket), and Pobeda (victory). Each name reflects a historical or cultural significance, such as Chaika, named after Valentina Tereshkova’s code name during her space flight.

Despite mass production, watches from the 1960s and 1970s are of superior quality, often misunderstood due to their low export prices and the Italian proximity to Swiss watchmaking. Many Russian watches were rebranded for export, like Raketa, Slava, and Poljot becoming Sekonda for the UK market.

For the Italian market, unique models were created, like the Slava Fri Fri with a pink dial and the California with a black dial and pink indices. Two unique chronographs used Vostok cases and Poljot movements, packaged in wooden boxes and sold at high prices.

One common misconception is that Vostok watches were used by the Russian military. In reality, they were state-commissioned but not exclusive to the military. The Amphibia model, developed for divers, is another highlight, featuring a unique screw-back case.

Among Manini’s rarest pieces is a Raketa Big Zero with a nephrite dial. Finding such rare models requires caution as the online market is rife with fakes and assembled watches. Manini advises consulting knowledgeable collectors and forums to avoid pitfalls.

0 Item | 0,00 
View Cart
Verified by MonsterInsights