Soviet Watch eBay Listings Round Up #3:
A 1950s Pobeda 2602 and a 1950s Zvesda 1802
By: Kaz Mirza
Classic Pobeda 2602 (eBay ID: 232856983926)
In my opinion, Pobeda is probably one of the more pure and readily accessible vintage Russian watches available. Stalin himself chose the name of the brand and was said to have ordered when the first batch of Pobeda timepieces would be available. About 8 months after the order was given the Pensa Watch Factory completed the first prototypes (since they had access to the latest movement technology from LIP) and then about 3 months after that (11 months after Stalin gave the order) the First Moscow Watch Factory (then known as Kirov Watch Factory) rolled out the first ever publicly available Pobeda timepieces.
Pobeda became hugely popular since the timepieces represented a great industrial milestone for the government as well as the individual people and factories who worked hard to meet the deadline. Plus, the word “Pobeda” means victory in Russian and it was said that Stalin chose this name for the brand to commemorate the surrender of Germany to the Red Army during WW2. As a result there are a whole boat-load of really fun Pobeda pieces out there to explore. But one in particular I’d like to draw you attention to is this one here – a 1950s very clean Pobeda 2602 from the Second Moscow Watch Factory.
It was common for multiple factories in the USSR to manufacture pieces with the same dial. This was only possible as long as the factory had the necessary equipment to manufacture the movements required. Some factories in the USSR at this time were still rocking the original type of machinery that the Type-1 Pocket Watch was based off of (like Chistopol where Vostok would eventually be based). However at the time the latest and greatest horology tech in Russia had come from the French Manufacturer LIP. Pensa Watch Factory (which prototyped the first Pobeda) was the first factory to get the equipment until eventually it was replicated and rolled out to other factories, including the second Moscow Watch Factory.
This Pobeda 2602 has the appropriate Second Moscow Watch Factory marking at the bottom of the dial as well as on the movement in roughly the 6 o’clock position. It looks like a “423” in the shape of a gear or crown. The mainspring barrel is also appropriately decorated with classic Russian stars and the word Pobeda in Cyrillic. This Pobeda 2602 really exemplifies what I love about early Soviet movement calibers. The decorating is really on point whereas a several years before this decoration standards weren’t quite up to par, but then fast forward about 20 years into the future and this decorating disappears.
The dial of this Pobeda 2602 is really special too. I’t s very simple and could easily be mistaken for a lot of other watches around in the 40s and 50s. But after a moment you’re able to take in all the nice and distinct details. This Pobeda 2602 is very clean and to my eye everything looks right – dial aging is appropriate, font is right, and the hands have even retained some of their original bluish hue if you look hard enough. The only thing that stands out with the hands is that the hour hand looks a touch too long – however that could just be the angle of the photo or possibly a normal variance down to the factory workers who were making these pieces by hand.
The case, case back, and crown also look good. The crystal may be replaced, but that’s not a big deal. Pobeda as a whole offers a lot of fun variety for collectors while also offering the opportunity to own a pretty cool piece of Soviet history, and this mid 50s Pobeda 2602 caliber is a really good opportunity to do just that.
- Highlights: Case, hands, dial, crown and movement look good – this 2602 is old enough to have that really cool decoration Soviet watch makers used to put on movements
- Problem Areas: Other than the hour hand (minor or possibly not even an issue), the shipping price may push this Pobeda 2602 into a price range that may be a little higher than what most folks want to spend on Soviet watches at the moment. Also, the seller doesn’t seem to have a lot of transactions under their belt. However, this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker – their rating still seems good. But please exercise normal eBay caution
- Seller: taeset (Photo Credits)
- Buy It Now price: $50.00 USD
1950s Zvesda 1802 (eBay ID: 223045331712)
You tend to see a lot of weird shit when it comes to Russian watches on eBay. But I can say that this is the first time I’ve ever seen a vintage Soviet piece inexplicably photograph with seashells ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Regardless of the shells, this is a pretty cool piece that doesn’t get a lot of exposure when it comes to Soviet Watch talk. This is the Zvesda 1802 ladies watch. Remember that Pensa Watch Factory I mentioned in the Pobeda piece above? Zvesda was one of the flagship dial designations for Pensa after acquiring the LIP machinery and materials.
If you scour the internet hard enough, you may find some examples of this Zvesda fashioned out of silver and featuring LIP branded movement components. Those were from the early days when the first 18xx movement was still being prototyped. Eventually they’re efforts would lead them to the Pensa Watch Factory 1802 Caliber, which we see here in this listing.
The big issue with these Zvesda lady timepieces is that the dials are either usually fake or they look like dog crap. That’s because the material they were making these dials with back in the day was very fragile and really didn’t age well. However, the dial in this listing seems to look alright. It’s clean in the right places, but not too clean. The photos show that it has some damage towards the top – the material seems to be cracking or warping. The only slight red flag here is that when disassembled, listings usually try and show the dial without the case covering it. If this was a listing that was being considered, I would ask to see photos of the dial without the case covering it. It’s possible we’re dealing with a redial, but it’s hard to make the call without seeing additional photos. And the seller seems to have a good rating, so it’s possible communication is on the table in order to get more helpful photographs.
The thin wire lugs and crown look good. The hour and minute hand look good as well. However the second hand is hard to really scrutinize. This is actually indicative of a larger issue with the listing. The quality of the photos isn’t the best – the stupid seashells do nothing. This isn’t Demolition Man. Half the photos you can’t zoom in on, but the other half you can. Luckily the half that you can zoom in on are the movement ones. The movement looks about right as well – it features the “Zvesda” branded mainspring barrel as well as the Russian stars.
Even though there are some uncertainties, I pulled this piece to highlight because the price makes it incredibly prospective. To own a piece of really cool Russian watch history for so little is what makes collecting USSR watch so much fun.
- Highlights: Movement looks good and really clean – case seems right as well – plus the price is also on point
- Problem Areas: The dial is really the main point of friction here. Everything else looks good on the Zvesda 1802, however these things are notorious for being redialed since the original dials were so delicate. The current photos make it hard to definitively decide the authenticity of the dial
- Seller: vitos1333000 (Photo Credits)
- Buy It Now price: $24.65 USD
Kaz has been collecting watches since 2015, but he’s been fascinated by product design, the Collector’s psychology, and brand marketing his whole life. While sharing the same strong fondness for all things horologically-affordable as Mike (his TBWS partner in crime), Kaz’s collection niche is also focused on vintage Soviet watches as well as watches that feature a unique, but well-designed quirk or visual hook.