So...Are Soviet Watches Any Good?
It'd be unfair of me to say here that the answer is complicated... but (sorry) it's complicated. What I will say though is that Soviet watches are more than just good - they offer watch collectors of all types timepieces that are fun, intriguing, affordable, and offer incredible touchstones for history. However, much like wine and stamp collecting, there are nuances to understand with Soviet watches and the overall horoligical history of Russia.
Determining if Soviet watches are any good starts with understanding the three phases of Russian watchmaking: Pre-Revolution (1300-1917), Post-Revolution/USSR (1917-1992), and the Modern era (1992 - Present). Most Russian watch discussions will immediately jump right into talking about Soviet Watch brands, which is understandable considering the Russian watch industry wasn’t really a competitive global factor until the Soviet Union got its hands on it....
However, jumping right into Soviet watches implies 2 different things: (1) Russian watches weren’t really a thing pre-soviet union and (2) There weren’t really any precipitous events that informed the creation, function, and implication of Russian watches worth noting. Both of these are obviously untrue. There were watches and horlogical works in Russia before the Soviet Union and Russia’s economic, agricultural, social, and geopolitical history played a huge (emphasis on huge - “HUGE”) freaking role on Soviet watches. Arguably, the same factors that precipitated the creation of Marxism ultimately influenced how Russians under the Soviet Union created watches.
But the Russian Watches that existed before the revolution were mainly based in Swiss origin. The notion of a purely Russian watch brand didn't exists until the Soviet Union existed, where notable brands like Vostok, Raketa, Poljot, and Slava came to be. This is probably why most people default to discussing Soviet Watch Brands when any discussion on Russian Watches comes up.
In pursuit of figuring out if Russian watches are any good, I've created an ongoing series detailing the history of Russian watches, which can be found above. These pieces are designed to offer insight into Russian Watches before Soviet Watch Brands existed in addition to the history of some of the more popular Soviet watches brands. Then concluding with a writeup about the current vague status of modern Russian watches.
The History Of Soviet Watches
The Two Broke Watch Snobs ongoing series detailing the origins, golden age, and current status of Russian and Soviet Watches. The first part of the History of Soviet Watches Series discusses the use of time-telling and function of horology in pre-revolution Russia. The next few sections highlight the origins of Russia’s most well-known Soviet Watch Brands: Poljot, Vostok, and Raketa. Then the final section outlines the current status of Russian watches
Podcast Episodes Featuring Soviet Watches
Given our infatuation with Russian and Soviet watches, it’s inevitable that they would be discussed on certain episode of the Two Broke Watch Snobs podcast. Please find a scrollable list of episode below where we discussed Russian watches in some capacity. Just click on an episode and check out the show notes to see the details.