Russian Watch Expert Julian Kampmann on Poljot Watches
14 Oct 2014 by Editor, RussianWatchGuide.com
Julian Kampmann is proprietor of the popular and well-respected Russian watch store Poljot24.de based in Munich, Germany. He's been dealing in Russian watches for nearly twenty years.
We had the opportunity to ask Julian a few questions about Russian watches, in particular the popular Poljot and Poljot International brands.
What's the difference between Poljot and Poljot International?
Poljot manufactures the well known mechanical watches in Moscow. The company Poljot-International was founded exclusively as a branch for export to western countries, especially Germany, and is located in Kahl am Main in central Germany.
Mr. Alexander Shorokhov founded Poljot-International and he now also produces very exclusive Russian watches under his own brand www.alexander-shorokhoff.de.
The Poljot-International watches have the same mechanic and quality as the normal Poljot watches – just the design and marketing/distribution is different (and also the price is higher). They are distributed exclusively through established jewelers with local watch shops.
Some jewelers spread the rumor (they have problems justifying the higher prices) that only the Poljot-International watches are authentic and the normal Poljots and anything else are copies made in Asia. This is certainly not true. You can compare for example the movements. They are identical.
I also have some Poljot-International chronographs on stock. Since quite recently, Poljot-International also produces the lower priced product line "CCCP-Watches", which I also sell. These watches have also the imported Russian mechanics and are designed and built in the German Poljot International headquarters. These CCCP-watches are very nice, fair-priced watches with a classic, retro-design, but not yet well known.
Where are Poljot and Poljot International watches manufactured?
The mechanics/calibers are made in Moscow as before. Only some calibers like the ETA Automatic calibers are imported from Switzerland and only the end production of the Poljot International watches is made in Kahl am Main in central Germany.
What is the relationship between Poljot and Maktime?
This is difficult to answer because there are different opinions in Russia. As far as I know Maktime is the owner of the machines which produce the calibers in Moscow.
Are the movements in Poljot watches actually manufactured by Maktime?
As far as I know, yes.
Is there any difference between the Poljot movements used in new Poljot watches and the Poljot movements used in Volmax watches?
I have not experienced any differences yet.
Is the quality of new Poljot watches as good as Poljot watches made during the Soviet era?
No, it is much better. The mechanic has the same high quality, some details are even improved, but the quality of the watch cases is now much higher and could be compared to much more expensive Swiss or German watches.
For example most chronographs of the Soviet era had a chromed or gold plated brass case. The chrome or gold could fade away after some years. Since about the year 2000 the watch cases are now made of stainless steel in perfect quality.
Anyway the final control in the factories is not really perfect, though it has also improved, but cannot match the Swiss standards. This is why it is very important to test and check and also regulate the watches carefully before selling. I test and regulate every watch carefully in order to avoid problems.
I give a 2 year warranty (as most dealers do) and therefore it is also in my own interest to sell only watches without problems. A problem with a mechanical watch can occur sometimes, but generally customer complaints are infrequent, and a repair is not expensive even if it's not under warranty.
What are the current best-selling Poljot watches at your store?
Also difficult to answer because this changes from time to time, but currently it's the very nice and classic Strela Chronographs, the elegant Journey or Sturmanskie civil Chronographs. Also the typical flightwatches like the Aviator and Berkut Chronographs are selling well.
What is your favorite model of Poljot watch?
I like many different Russian watches and I have most of my private Russian watches hanging on a wall at home so I can chose every day another. But currently I really like the Strela Chronograph with white dial, cyrillic letters and a bright-brown leather strap.
Is there anything else you would like to say about Poljot watches?
The actual policy, marketing etc., is a little bit chaotic in Russia, but to be honest, I think this "chaos" is a big advantage! Some Swiss and German companies like Frank Mueller tried to buy the Russian watch companies already some years ago and they did not make it because of this chaos. If everything would be clear and normal in Russia, then I am sure the Russian watch industry would not exist anymore or would only produce calibers for the expensive Swiss/German watches. Or they would sell these Russian watches for a similar price like the Swiss/Germans do.
Certainly, you never know what happens in the next 5 years. The Russians stopped the production of the alarm calibers already and also the nice Molnija caliber is not on production anymore but maybe they will do other, new models.
I often have customers who tell me that they already own very expensive Swiss watches like Patek, Breitling, Rolex etc., but they go for a Russian watch because no collegue of theirs has such a watch and they want something special and rare. (Compare the production of over 1 million Rolex watches ever year to only around 20,000 Russian chronographs).
I have traded with the Russian watches since 1992 and it's fun to sell something that you really like yourself.
Visit Julian's website at http://www.poljot24.de/
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