History of Russian Watches
Russian watches have a rich and interesting history dating back over 80 years with the creation of the First Moscow Watch Factory, which today manufactures Poljot watches. A highlight of Russia's watch history came in 1961 when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took the first ever flight into space with a watch from the First Moscow Watch Factory.
Here's a chronological summary of key events in the history of Russian watchmaking.
1927 - The Labour and Defense Council passed a decree to establish a watch industry to serve government and Red Army needs. The Soviet watches were to be accurate, reliable and not inferior in quality to their Western counterparts. The equipment for the production of these watches was purchased from the USA. This was the origin of the First Moscow Watch Factory.
1930 - The first 50 Russian-made watches were presented at a ceremonial meeting in the Revolution Theatre, now known as the Bolshoi Theatre.
1940 - The "Commander" watch produced by the First Moscow Watch Factory was commonly used by officers of the Red Army. Watches with distinctive engravings were given by the army as a form of reward. In the ten years since the factory opened it produced 2.7 million pocket and wrist watches.
1941 - During World War II The First Moscow Watch Factory was evacuated to the city of Zlatoust. Throughout the war the factory worked for needs of the front producing aircraft watches and sea and aviation chronometers.
1942 - The Chistopol Watch Factory was created and began manufacturing products for needs of the front. This is the origin of today's Vostok brand.
1943 - The Chistopol Watch Factory started production of the K-43 man's watch.
1946 - The First Moscow Watch Factory began production of Pobeda (Victory) watches. The name, design and characteristics of these watches were personally approved by Stalin himself.
1949 - The First Moscow Watch Company began production of the Shturmanskie watch. These watches were produced for the air force and were not available for the open market.
1957 - The Sputnik watch was produced, in honour of the launch of the first Soviet satellite. This watch was produced in two versions: with a central second hand and with a transparent disk with a mark in the form of a satellite instead of a second hand. In the same year, by special request, the watch Antarktida (Antarctica) with a twenty-four-hour scale, was designed. This watch was intended for the participants of the first Soviet expedition to the South Pole. Both Antarktida and Sputnik are today a collection rarity, due to the fact that both models were only in production for one year.
1959 - The first Soviet mechanical watch with an alarm function, Signal, was developed. The manufacturing of the watch-chronograph Strela with a one-hand stopwatch and 45-min minute counter commenced. Its dial had extra telemeteric and tachometric scales. Strela watches were not available for open sale, as they were specifically developed for the commanding officers of the air force.
1960 - The First Moscow Watch Factory produced the first watch under the Poljot brand.
1961 - The first ever flight into space in the history of mankind took place. Yuriy Gagarin took the watch of the First Moscow Watch Factory into space with him.
1962 - The "Vostok" watch was awarded a gold medal at the Leipzig international fair. Production of "Komandirskie" watches began at the Chistopol Watch Factory. The factory becomes the official supplier of these watches to the Ministry of Defence of the USSR.
1963 - The Vimpel watch produced at The First Moscow Watch Factory won a Diploma and gold medal at the international exhibition-fair in Leipzig.
1964 - The manufacturing of the watch Orbita with an automatic winding system and 29 rubies was mastered. From this year on the watches of The First Moscow Watch Factory are marked with the trademark Poljot.
1965 - Cosmonaut Andrey Leonov took the Strela watch on the first ever space walk. In the same year the USSR Council of Ministers passed the decree wherein The First Moscow Watch Factory was appointed as the head enterprise in the exportation of mens wrist watches. The watches were exported to 70 countries: USA, Great Britain, Belgium, Italy, Federative Republic of Germany, Hong Kong, Greece, etc. Vostok was appointed an official supplier of watches for the Defense Department of the Soviet Union.
1966 - For successfully developing the national watch industry The First Moscow Watch Factory is awarded with the highest Soviet award the Order of Lenin by the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
1969 - All watches manufactured by Chistopol Watch Factory now use the Vostok brand.
1972 - Vostok exports watches to 54 countries of the world.
1972 - The First Moscow Watch Factory increased the volume of production of mechanical wristwatches to 2.7 million. 70% of what the factory produced was sold abroad. Among the new designs was the water-tight watch Amphibia, capable of working under water at a depth of up to 200 meters.
1976 - The First Moscow Watch Factory commenced the production of a the 3133 model. For this development the association of the designers of the The First Moscow Watch Factory was rewarded with the USSR State Prize. Since these watches were intended for the needs of the army and navy, they were produced in limited editions and were not available for open sale. The cosmonauts of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany took these watches with them into space, and together with V. V. Polyakov, this chronograph set the record for the duration of a space flight.
1992 -The administration of the Russian president selects Poljot to be the rewarding watch "From the President of the Russian Federation".
2000 - Volmax is formed by ex-Poljot employees.
2004 - Vostok-Europe is created.
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