Are Soviet Clocks Only Wristwatches? Absolutely Not!

vintage clock ussr

Soviet clock production is not limited to wristwatches but includes a vast range of table clocks, wall clocks, cuckoo clocks, and alarm clocks. These clocks often feature unique designs and are surprisingly delicate and graceful. Although I am not an expert, I want to share a fascinating personal experience that greatly increased my appreciation for these timepieces.

Historical Context

In post-war Europe and the Soviet Union, mechanical alarm clocks and wall clocks were essential household items, unlike today’s more luxury-oriented perspective. Reliable mechanical clocks, whether on the wall or bedside, were crucial for regulating daily life in a community. Wristwatches were often scarce and expensive, especially in remote, less industrialized regions. The planned economy of the Soviet Union recognized and industrialized this need.

My Personal Experience

This interest stemmed from a random encounter on social media. Recently, while exploring my Instagram feed, I came across images of a beautiful table clock under repair, which immediately caught my attention. Amidst a sea of Russian wristwatches, these large mechanisms stood out, captivating me.

I discovered the Instagram account old_clock_ussr, which belongs to a passionate individual named Roman. His love for restoring these vintage clocks is evident, and his profile is worth exploring for anyone interested.

Who is old_clock_ussr?

I can tell you a bit about myself and how my hobby started.
It all began in my early childhood; probably somewhere in my subconscious, I remembered how my father was engaged in repairing clocks. I lived and still live in the city of Samara (Kuibyshev); in this city was one of the largest watch factories, ZIM, where my father worked.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, all industries began to be looted and closed; it was painful to see how once great people and the country began to sink into poverty and injustice. Well, but let’s not talk about that here. Years passed, I grew up, became the head of a family, and my wife and I had a son. He is now 3 years old. During this time, I studied civil engineering and rose to the position of manager.
Just last year, on August 25, while walking through the flea market with my family early on a Saturday morning, I saw a clock on an old man’s stall lying in a pile of junk. It was magnificent; the condition was excellent, and the 1970s design struck me immediately. I took this desk clock and was pleasantly surprised that it worked not with a battery but with the help of mechanics.
Two months later, I unfortunately had a heart attack. I was in intensive care and thought about how lucky I was to be alive and that I would soon be with my family: my son, my wife, and my parents. During the time spent in the hospital, I really missed my hobby.
Before my illness, I only had three clocks in my collection. But in just a few months, precisely three, it grew to 30 pieces. I love my hobby, and my family supports me in everything. I buy clocks that need repairs, abandoned, broken, I bring them home and give them a second life. I really hope that my son will be interested in this when he grows up, because some of these clocks will be 100 years old and more?!!!

For more on Soviet clocks and Roman’s restorations, visit his Instagram profile

Types of Soviet Clocks

Soviet clocks come in various forms, making it challenging to categorize them all. However, they can be grouped into several main categories:

  • Table clocks
  • Wall clocks
  • Pendulum clocks
  • Bedside alarms
  • Travel alarms
  • Street clocks
  • Clocks for municipalities and bell towers

Many Soviet factories had dedicated departments for designing and manufacturing these clocks. Notable brands include Slava, Jantar, Vesna, Druzhba, Oryol Watch Factory, Rostov, and Vostok. Some desk clocks even utilized wristwatch movements from brands like Raketa and Zim.

Clock Movements

The movements of these clocks differ significantly from wristwatch calibers, being larger and simpler due to their size. This allows for greater precision and features like hourly chimes or musical alarms, adding to their charm.


While my collection of Soviet table clocks and alarms is modest compared to Roman’s, I treasure the few pieces I have. Finding these clocks in Italy is challenging due to their size and weight, but I hope to expand my collection in the future.

A Zim Watch That Tells a Glorious Story

russian watch Zim 400 years Kuibyshev monument of Glory

One of the most fascinating aspects of collecting watches is discovering what they commemorate or represent. This passion led me in November 2020 to discover a Soviet Zim watch with a champagne-colored dial and a monument depicted on it, which was unknown to me at the time.

The Zim Watch

This Soviet Zim is well-preserved, with a champagne-colored dial that is rich in detail but aesthetically very pleasing. The main elements are well distinguished, and the dial depicts the Monument of Glory in Kuibyshev, now known as Samara. The dial also bears the inscription “Kuybyshev,” the name Samara had from 1935 to 1991 in honor of the Bolshevik leader Valerian Kuybyshev.

russian watch Zim 400 years Kuibyshev monument of Glory
Zim 400 years Kuibyshev monument of Glory

Details of the Watch

The hands, including the small second hand, appear to be original. The dial is in excellent condition, although the watch seems to have been used. The plexiglass may have been replaced. On the dial, between three and nine o’clock, are the waves of the Volga River, adding a touch of elegance and geographical context to the watch.

The Back of the Watch

The case shows signs of wear that have removed the plating, revealing the brass underneath. The stainless steel case back is fixed with a screw-down ring, also in steel. The back bears a serial number: 524715. Although the serial numbers of Soviet watches do not have a particular significance, they are useful for identification through the watch passports.

The Movement of the Watch

The heart of the watch is a simple yet effective Pobeda 2602 caliber without antishock.

Characteristics of the Pobeda 2602 caliber

The Monument of Glory in Kuybyshev

History and Construction of the Monument

Located in the city of Samara, the Monument of Glory is dedicated to the workers of the aviation industry who contributed significantly during the Great Patriotic War. Built between 1968 and 1971, the monument was created by sculptor Pavel Bondarenko, artist Oleg Kiryuhin, and architect A. Samsonov. The structure, over thirty meters high, is made of a stainless steel alloy. The inauguration took place on November 5, 1971.

More information on the history of the monument

Historical Images of the Monument

A selection of historical images allows you to appreciate the monument in various periods, probably starting from its construction in 1971.

The Monument of Glory Today

The monument is located in Slavy Square, with the Volga River in the background. This detail is also depicted on the watch’s dial. The monument, made of an aeronautical alloy, features vertical lines at the base and shiny steel representing rays of light directed towards the sky. The statue on top, 13 meters high, depicts a figure with wings spread.

Video of the Monument

Various videos online show the grandeur of the Monument of Glory and the adjoining square. Here is one of the best from 2019:

The City of Samara

The watch dial shows the founding date of the city of Samara, 1586. Interestingly, one of the earliest representations of the city is on a 14th-century Italian map when Samara was considered a pirate haven.

The two dates on the dial refer to the city’s 400th anniversary (1586-1986).

History of Samara

This watch perfectly represents why I love collecting Russian and Soviet watches: each piece is a journey through time and space, allowing me to visit historical moments and fascinating places just by looking at the dial.

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