Pobeda Sputnik 1: A Commemorative Space Watch

russian watch Pobeda 45 years Baikonur

Introduction to the Watch

The Pobeda Zim commemorative watch for the 45th anniversary of the Sputnik I launch is a timepiece of great historical and technical significance. This unique piece not only celebrates a significant milestone in the history of space exploration but also embodies the skill and innovation of Soviet watchmaking.

The Dial and Its Symbols

The blue dial of the watch features a series of symbols and images closely linked to the Sputnik I mission. At the top, below the 12 o’clock marker, we see the double-headed crowned eagle, a significant emblem representing the power and authority of the Soviet nation. At 10 o’clock, the Cyrillic inscription “45 лет” (45 years) marks the anniversary of the mission​ (Wikipedia)​​ (VintageDuMarko)​.

Proceeding to 2 o’clock, there is an image of Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite launched into space. This central symbol celebrates the beginning of the space age and the Soviet ingenuity that made this historic event possible.

Historical Context: Sputnik I

The launch of Sputnik I on October 4, 1957, marked a crucial moment in the history of space exploration. It was the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, signaling the start of the space race, a technological competition between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The satellite remained in orbit for three weeks before its batteries died, and then for another two months before re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere​ (Wikipedia)​​ (VintageDuMarko)​​ (WatchUSeek Watch Forums)​.

The R-7 Semërka Rocket

In addition to Sputnik, the dial features a stylized image of the R-7 Semërka rocket, which launched Sputnik I into orbit. The R-7 was the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a significant technological achievement for the Soviet Union. This rocket was later used to launch Sputnik 2, carrying the first living being into space, the dog Laika​ (Wikipedia)​​ (VintageDuMarko)​.

The Movement of the Watch

The Pobeda Zim 2602 movement, powering this commemorative watch, is known for its simplicity and reliability. This mechanical movement, with a fixed python and a shock-resistant jewel, reflects the robustness and practicality of Soviet engineering​ (Wix site)​​ (Soviet Watch Gallery)​.


This Pobeda Zim watch is not just a timepiece, but a piece of history that celebrates a fundamental event in space exploration and world history. The combination of symbols and technical details on the dial offers a visual narrative of the Soviet technological triumph and its lasting impact on the world.

Links for Further Reading

  1. Wikipedia: Sputnik 1
  2. Wikipedia: R-7 (missile)
  3. YouTube: R-7 Rocket Launch

Simple Guide to Soviet and Russian Watch Movements

Vostok 2416b Rannft (C)

How to Recognize Soviet and Russian Movements?

One of the key features of Soviet watches is that they contain only Soviet movements. These watches do not feature any external parts; all components were produced within the USSR. The quality of these movements varied depending on the factory, with some periods of excellence and others less so.

Here are some fundamental and curious pieces of information about these movements.

The Codes on Soviet Watch Passports

The codes used to identify Soviet movements were developed and standardized in the 1960s. These codes can be found on the passports that accompanied every watch produced during the Soviet era:

    Passaporto sovietico Vostok 2609A
    Passaporto sovietico Vostok 2609A
    Passaporto sovietico Molnija 3602
    Passaporto sovietico Molnija 3602

    What Do the Codes Mean?

    Deciphering the code is not particularly complicated. The movement code consists of 4 digits and one or two letters. After the fall of the Soviet Union, more codes were added, and the two digits often became three.

    • The first two digits represent the movement’s diameter in millimeters.
    • The next two/three digits represent the specific characteristics of the movement.
    • The following letters represent the variations that occurred over time.

    Movements with the same characteristics produced by different companies have the same code, but this does not mean they are identical. Usually, the movement is identified by the manufacturing company followed by the movement code.

    A classic example found on many websites includes:

    • Slava 2416
    • Vostok 2416
    • Poljot 2416

    All three movements have a diameter of 24mm, and the 16 identifies them as:

    • Automatic
    • Central seconds
    • Date
    • Shockproof

    For detailed characteristics of the movements, you can find an exhaustive list here.

    Online Resources

    There is another valuable online resource often used to identify movements and gain related information: Ranfft Watches.

    Other useful resources include:

    A good understanding of Russian/Soviet movements can often help quickly identify when a watch has been assembled or is not contemporaneous.

    Examples of Movements

    Some common Vostok movements include:

    • Vostok 2409
    • Vostok 2414A
    • Vostok 2416b

    For more detailed characteristics of these movements, you can refer to the Ranfft database.


    The subject is vast and complex with many nuances. This guide aims to provide a brief introduction to help you start understanding the complexity of the Russian/Soviet watchmaking world.

    All images of the movements can be found at: Ranfft Watches.

    Discovering the Charm of Soviet and Russian Watch Collections

    Ritaglio schermata pagina Lancette Sovietiche Collezionare Sovietaly intervista

    It may seem unusual, but sometimes a collection of Soviet/Russian watches can capture the attention and appreciation of even those who are not experts in the field. This intriguing niche of collecting has recently been highlighted in an interview published by the magazine “Collezionare,” available in both print and digital formats (www.collezionare.com).

    The Magazine “Collezionare”

    The magazine “Collezionare” is a specialized publication focused on the world of collecting, offering in-depth articles, news, and interviews on a wide range of collectible items. From vintage to antiques and modern collectibles, the magazine serves as an authoritative and up-to-date resource for enthusiasts. Available in both print and online versions, “Collezionare” stands out for the quality of its content and the passion with which it tells the stories of collectors and their unique collections.

    Two years ago, I contacted several journals related to collecting to promote my father’s Pirelli advertisement collection, including “Collezionare”. The interview with my father can be found at this link. Given the existing contact, a couple of months ago I reached out again to the journalist who conducted the interview, suggesting she might also be interested in my collection of Soviet/Russian watches. A few days later, she contacted me to schedule a phone interview.

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

    On April 14, 2018, the online version of the interview was published and can be read at this link.

    Soviet Watches

    In the interview, Andrea Manini, a 44-year-old from Milan who has been collecting since 1992, shares insights into his collection of over 400 Russian watches. “What I really enjoy is that, unlike Swiss watches, Russian ones always have a story to tell.”

    The Stories Behind Soviet Watches

    Many stories surround Soviet watchmaking, particularly those involving Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. The watch he wore during the 1961 mission is still a mystery. Some claim it was a Poljot Sturmanskie, produced by the First Moscow Watch Factory, often referred to as the Russian equivalent of the Speedmaster used by Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon. Others believe it was the Type One by Sturmanskie, citing a photo where Gagarin wears this model over his red suit. “But who can say for sure? Maybe it was just a training shot,” says Andrea, emphasizing the mystery that often surrounds these famous timepieces.

    The Influence of History on Soviet Watchmaking

    The end of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s marked the beginning of a new era for Russian watchmaking in Italy. Andrea, like many other enthusiasts, started his collection in 1992, the year after the USSR’s dissolution. “1992 is my year zero, the year I began to appreciate these beautiful watches. That year, the first after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, all the unique goods from the former USSR became very sought after, including Russian watches, which started appearing in our jewelry stores. Over the years, I have expanded my collection to about 400 pieces.”

    Early Discoveries

    Andrea’s first purchase was a Vostok Komandirskie wristwatch. “The military look and the rocket on the dial attracted me, and only later did I discover that it was a Vostok Komandirskie model, with the Vostok 1 rocket that Gagarin used to orbit the Earth in 1961.”

    Collection Categories

    Russian watches are categorized in various ways. Andrea focuses on Russian space adventures and Soviet watches made for the Italian market. Other themes include Soviet polar explorations and Russian railways, particularly the BAM line.

    The History of Russian Watchmaking

    Russian watchmaking has a complex history intertwined with the country’s social, political, and military developments. During the Tsarist era, watches were mainly produced by artisanal workshops. With the advent of the Soviet Union, watch production became essential for both civilians and the military. Initially, pocket watches were produced, but gradually, wristwatches became the focus.

    Watch Factories

    Numerous companies arose in the Soviet Union, named after war or space adventures. “The First Moscow Watch Factory, later named Poljot (which means flight), Raketa (rocket), Pobeda (victory, dedicated to WWII), and Chaika (seagull, which was Valentina Tereshkova’s code name during her space flight).”

    Export and Marketing

    In the 1960s and 70s, Soviet watches were exported at low prices to promote sales. This was a state-imposed strategy. In Italy, Russian watchmaking has often been underrated due to its proximity to Switzerland. However, the Russians understood the importance of marketing and created watches with logos for export or specific models for certain markets.

    Rare Models

    Among the rarest models in Andrea’s collection is a Raketa Big Zero with a nephrite dial, a green stone similar to jade. Finding rare models is challenging, especially online where many fakes and assembled pieces are sold.

    Tips for Collectors

    To avoid buying fakes, Andrea advises consulting more experienced and reliable collectors. “Today, there are many forums and groups where you can exchange opinions and advice.”

    This collection of Soviet/Russian watches, with its rich history and intriguing models, continues to captivate not only enthusiasts but also newcomers to the world of collecting.

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