The Soviet Watch Exporter: TENTO

Logo rosso del marchio Tento con indicazione "SSSR - Moskva".

TENTO, a significant name in Soviet manufacturing, was renowned for its high-quality optical instruments, particularly binoculars, and various household appliances. Although initially thought to be involved primarily in watch exports, TENTO’s main focus was on producing and exporting a range of other products that gained international recognition during the 1980s and 1990s.

Origins and Products

TENTO was associated with the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant (ZOMZ), which began operations in 1935. The company produced a variety of optical devices, including binoculars that were highly regarded for their durability and optical clarity. Popular models like the BPC 7×35 and BPC 20×60 were known for their excellent performance and were widely used both within the Soviet Union and abroad. These binoculars were praised for their robust construction and high-quality optics, making them a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts, bird watchers, and hunters​ (Optics Trade)​​ (​​ (Vplate)​​ (​.

Export Activities

In addition to optical devices, TENTO also exported household appliances, including electric irons, which were known for their reliability and practicality. The brand’s extensive product range and quality manufacturing made its products highly sought after in international markets​ (CycloWiki)​​ (Реальность против мифологем)​.

TENTO played a role in exporting Soviet watches, although this was more of a complementary activity. The company helped distribute watches from renowned Soviet brands like Vostok, creating catalogs that showcased a range of timepieces. This activity was reflected in multilingual catalogs written in Russian, English, French, Spanish, and German, indicating the broad international reach of TENTO’s marketing efforts​ (CycloWiki)​​ (Реальность против мифологем)​.

International Markets

During the 1980s, the Soviet Union, under the economic restructuring policies of Perestroika, sought to increase its hard currency earnings through the export of various goods, including TENTO’s products. TENTO’s exports reached numerous countries across Europe, Asia, and beyond, facilitated by the Soviet Union’s efforts to engage more deeply with international markets. Countries such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and several others were notable destinations for TENTO’s exports​ (CycloWiki)​​ (Реальность против мифологем)​.


TENTO’s legacy in producing high-quality binoculars and household appliances, alongside its role in distributing Soviet watches, showcases the breadth of Soviet industrial capabilities. The brand’s products continue to be appreciated by collectors and enthusiasts around the world. As interest in vintage Soviet technology grows, TENTO’s contributions to various fields are increasingly recognized and celebrated.

Slava АМНТК Союз: A Watch that Tells a Story of Aeronautical Excellence

russian watch Slava АМНТК Союз

The Slava Watch

The Slava АМНТК Союз watch is much more than a simple timepiece. This watch, made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Aero-engine Scientific and Technical Complex «Soyuz» (АМНТК “Союз”), represents a piece of Soviet and Russian aeronautical history.

russian watch Slava АМНТК Союз
Slava АМНТК Союз

The watch dial is simple yet rich in meaning. It features a stylized drawing of an aircraft, symbolizing the technological innovation and power of the engines produced by the institute. The second hand is characterized by a large red dot near the tip, typical of some Slava watches. The dial also includes the dates “1943-1993,” marking the fiftieth anniversary of the institute’s founding.

The watch is powered by a standard manual winding Slava 2414 mechanical movement with a date function. The case is a 3991XXX chromed model, similar to the Perestroika models intended for the Italian market. The back of the watch is stainless steel and bears the serial number 419, a detail that adds a touch of uniqueness.

History of АМНТК “Союз”

The АМНТК “Союз” complex has a fascinating and successful history. Founded during World War II, the institute was created with the Resolution of the State Defense Committee No. 2916 on February 18, 1943. Initially located on the bank of the Moskva River in Luzhniki, the factory was evacuated to Kuibyshev (modern-day Samara) during the Great Patriotic War.

Innovations and Technological Developments

Who builds the engines for the MiG-21, MiG-25, or Tu-104? The answer is the Aero-engine Scientific and Technical Complex «Soyuz». This institute has been a pillar in the Soviet and Russian aeronautical industry, dedicated to the maintenance and production of engines for helicopters, missiles, and aircraft.

The MiG-25, known for its extraordinary performance, owes its speed and power to the Tumansky R-15B-300 engines. These engines are among the most powerful turbojets ever built and have enabled the MiG-25 to set numerous speed and altitude records. HERE you can find detailed information about the АМНТК Союз engines, including the Tumansky R-15B-300 that powers the MiG-25.

The Engine Factory Today

Today, АМНТК Союз is a publicly traded company, with activities primarily focused on the production of turbojets for aircraft and gas turbine drives for generators and gas pumps. The institute has been active for 78 years and continues to be a leader in aeronautical engine technology.

HERE you can access the institute’s website for more information about the designed engines and the institute’s history.


Once again, a simple Slava watch has allowed me to delve into a often overlooked aspect. When a layperson like me looks at a military jet, it’s rare to think about the engines and their characteristics. We focus on the fuselage and shapes, but the engines, hidden within the aircraft, remain a mystery to most. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to take an interest, albeit superficially, in this topic. I’ll probably look at aircraft differently in the future.

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