Soviet Incoming!

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stales
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Soviet Incoming!

#1 Post by stales » Fri May 04, 2018 12:55 pm

Words that would have promoted fear in the 50s to 80s but, for me at least, not so today.

Soon after I got serious about collecting watches in 2009 I learned of Soviet era, Russian manufactured watches. Per the Soviet stereotype, the watches had a reputation for solid build quality, practical complications, utilitarian style and affordability. A good example was the brand "Poljot" and, for me at least, there was an attraction to their mechanical alarm models. I've always intended to acquire one but hadn't yet pulled the trigger. No reason why, just hadn't got around to it.

On a business trip to Moscow in April (my first trip to Russia) I found myself with a spare day and thought it was a good time to start the Great Poljot Search. After five minutes of research (Google: Moscow peoples market) I headed for the Izmailovsky flea market. Wow. Amazing. Never seen anything like it - certainly not at the same scale. Stalls ranged from proper shops to old timers selling a few items on a blanket spread on the ground - and everything in between. I spent a very happy four or five hours checking out a bewildering array of "stuff" - including thousands of old watches. Poljot watches were everywhere - but only a few were alarm models. Luckily they were easy to spot (often in shopping bags full of old watches) because of their twin winding crowns. Prices ranged from RUB10,000 (USD160) in a shop to RUB800 (USD13) from a small time trader. There were different levels of commitment to price negotiation, typically related to the level of sophistication of the vendors' business. (Fancy shop, higher price, less negotiability - it's the same the world over).

I only intended to buy one but went after a second because the prices were so cheap, the hunting so much fun and I saw merit in having a spare movement in case one watch needed to be made from two. I paid RUB800 (USD13) for the first and RUB1,000 (USD16) for the second and may have been able to get better prices but thought the value for money was already there so didn't push too hard. That said, I went after a third one but the seller would not move on the RUB3,000 (USD62) asking price despite all my usual tricks such as showing the money, walking away and rechecking over several hours. To my surprise and pleasure (and despite looking quite tired and covered in 'old man funk') the time and alarm works on both those I purchased! I've worn them both and they kept good time.

Both are on their way to our friend in PA for a spa treatment. He tells me he's not worked on an alarm watch before so I'm pleased to have provided him with that opportunity. What I'm really wondering however is if they will have sufficient merit to appear on the Hamilton Chronicles website ;)

A very useful guide to the watches and their restoration HERE (In the UK they were sold as Sekonda watches - who knew!)


Izmailovsky Market entrance - a small part!
180421_Izmailovsky_LoRes.jpg
180421_Izmailovsky_LoRes.jpg (215.1 KiB) Viewed 498 times

From bear skins to military ordinance to workshop implements to watches - it's all to be found at Izmailovsky!
180421_Izmailovsky1_LoRes.jpg
180421_Izmailovsky1_LoRes.jpg (179.29 KiB) Viewed 498 times

16 bucks and 13 bucks well spent!
Poljots_LoRes.jpg
Poljots_LoRes.jpg (245.37 KiB) Viewed 498 times

Although appearances may deceive, here's the happy seller (Note $13 acquisition at front of the table)! Green lucite roof playing hell with the pic.
180421_Izmailovsky2_LoRes.jpg
180421_Izmailovsky2_LoRes.jpg (220.22 KiB) Viewed 498 times
Roger

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stales
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Re: Soviet Incoming!

#2 Post by stales » Fri May 04, 2018 3:54 pm

stales wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 12:55 pm
Words that would have promoted fear in the 50s to 80s but, for me at least, not so today.

Soon after I got serious about collecting watches in 2009 I learned of Soviet era, Russian manufactured watches. Per the Soviet stereotype, the watches had a reputation for solid build quality, practical complications, utilitarian style and affordability. A good example was the brand "Poljot" and, for me at least, there was an attraction to their mechanical alarm models. I've always intended to acquire one but hadn't yet pulled the trigger. No reason why, just hadn't got around to it.

On a business trip to Moscow in April (my first trip to Russia) I found myself with a spare day and thought it was a good time to start the Great Poljot Search. After five minutes of research (Google: Moscow peoples market) I headed for the Izmailovsky flea market. Wow. Amazing. Never seen anything like it - certainly not at the same scale. Stalls ranged from proper shops to old timers selling a few items on a blanket spread on the ground - and everything in between. I spent a very happy four or five hours checking out a bewildering array of "stuff" - including thousands of old watches. Poljot watches were everywhere - but only a few were alarm models. Luckily they were easy to spot (often in shopping bags full of old watches) because of their twin winding crowns. Prices ranged from RUB10,000 (USD160) in a shop to RUB800 (USD13) from a small time trader. There were different levels of commitment to price negotiation, typically related to the level of sophistication of the vendors' business. (Fancy shop, higher price, less negotiability - it's the same the world over).

I only intended to buy one but went after a second because the prices were so cheap, the hunting so much fun and I saw merit in having a spare movement in case one watch needed to be made from two. I paid RUB800 (USD13) for the first and RUB1,000 (USD16) for the second and may have been able to get better prices but thought the value for money was already there so didn't push too hard. That said, I went after a third one but the seller would not move on the RUB3,000 (USD62) asking price despite all my usual tricks such as showing the money, walking away and rechecking over several hours. To my surprise and pleasure (and despite looking quite tired and covered in 'old man funk') the time and alarm works on both those I purchased! I've worn them both and they kept good time.

Both are on their way to our friend in PA for a spa treatment. He tells me he's not worked on an alarm watch before so I'm pleased to have provided him with that opportunity. What I'm really wondering however is if they will have sufficient merit to appear on the Hamilton Chronicles website ;)

A very useful guide to the watches and their restoration HERE (In the UK they were sold as Sekonda watches - who knew!)


Izmailovsky Market entrance - a small part!
180421_Izmailovsky_LoRes.jpg


From bear skins to military ordinance to workshop implements to watches - it's all to be found at Izmailovsky!
180421_Izmailovsky1_LoRes.jpg


16 bucks and 13 bucks well spent!
Poljots_LoRes.jpg


Although appearances may deceive, here's the happy seller (Note $13 acquisition at front of the table)! Green lucite roof playing hell with the pic.
180421_Izmailovsky2_LoRes.jpg
Roger

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stales
Posts: 887
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:04 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada

MODS - PLEASE DELETE

#3 Post by stales » Fri May 04, 2018 3:58 pm

Pushed the wrong button and created a post

Apols
Roger

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Dadistic
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Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:51 am

Re: Soviet Incoming!

#4 Post by Dadistic » Tue May 08, 2018 4:38 am

Thanks!

I occasionally find Soviet watches at flea markets here, but it must be a blast to be at the source!

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