Home Articles Soviet movements (Part 1)

Soviet movements (Part 1)

Reviewed by Andrew Babanin

Having checked TimeZone and other watch sources I found that most visitors consider that Russian watches are unreliable, the Russians cannot produce good quality movements, most watchmakers know only several calibers: Ex Valjoux 7734 - Poljot 3133, quite common 2612 with alarm and Molnija - a pocket movement 3602. Somewhat it's true - Russia had stopped producing many calibers, designing new ones. The quality of finishing is bad, you can notice an aberrance in technological process, find replacements: for example some jewels are replaced on metal inserts.

Only Poljot tries to improve situation and still makes unique watches, pocket watches, marine chronometers. Otherwise Russia was very strong in watchmaking traditions and produced really interesting movements. For example, Russia became producing quartz watches at the same time like other countries, in 1975 Russians had started producing LCD and LED watches. Russia produced tuning-fork watches like Bulova Accutron. Also there were electric watches with balance. There were really interesting slim movements including self-winding. I'm not inclined to present you all movements but still...


The first watch - is Sportivnyje (Sportive) produced since 1955 until 1962 at the 1st Moscow Watch Factory (1st MWF). This watch had been produced in February, 1956. This movement based on older Pobeda (Victory), has central seconds, Incabloc, Stop seconds feature, a Water resistive case. There're 17 jewels, 18000 bpm. You can notice nice watch finishing: Cotes de Geneve pattern on bridges, polished screws, high quality engraving of letters, anglage, balance has Breguet hairspring. One more interesting point - the caseback of most Russian watches consists of two parts - a caseback as is with a tip to position it properly in the case and a special ring screwed into the case. This watch uses more a common screwed caseback.

Another one - is ladies' movement - Zvezda (Star) based on an older French "Lip" movement T18 (tonneau). This one produced in January, 1953. It has small seconds, 15 jewels. You can also notice high quality engraving: Cotes de Geneve, polished steel parts, some parts have anglage, balance has Breguet hairspring. That time it was an inexpensive movement.

Here you can see an old pocket caliber Molnija 3602. This one had been produced in 1956th. 15 Jewels, small seconds. Nice finishing: lovely for USSR Cotes de Geneve, circular graining (I had to dismount balance to show it), polished screws, Breguet style balance. Its predecessor "Salut" produced at 2-nd Moscow watch plant based on French "Lip" R36. Then all equipment had moved to Chelyabinsk. Slava began producing quartz watches, double barreled mechanical watches, automatics. Later Molnija movement had got two more jewels on escapement and central wheels. There were also quite rare variations of this movement, for example "Ural" with central seconds. "Salut" also has very nice complication, based on this pocket movement. It was a chronograph with 30 min counter (see Part 2). Very rare watch. Nowadays unfortunately, a quality of this movement is out of discussion. Till now it has no shock absorbing device:( Btw Molnija means lightning.

This one is 2209 Caliber, produced at Vostok manufacture. You can find this movement in first Komandirskije watches. Many of them had stop seconds, date. You can also notice high quality finishing - brushed bevelled bridges, anglage, Colimaconnage, polished screws, Breguet hairspring. You can also notice Russian type of incabloc.


One of the slim movements caliber 2209 "Vympel" (Pennon). Its thickness is about 2,9 mm, central seconds, shock protecting system, 23 jewels. The thinner was only 2200 caliber - 1,85 mm (22mm diameter, no central seconds, no shock protection) - extremely rare, it was not successful - bridges deformed easily, produced from 1965. This one is more common. In 1963, during an international Fair in Leipzig, the “Vympel” watch was awarded with a Diploma and a Gold medal. These watches were on production from 1961 until 1975, later the technology was passed to Minsk Watch Factory and produced there till 1979. This one is made by Belarus Luch plant (Luch means a Ray). All bridges are brushed and bevelled, all screws are polished. As to hairspring - it's flat. Pay attention to the case. It was common to plate 20 microns of gold. Caliber 2200 had inserted only in gold cases, more democratic 2209 - fifty-fifty.

Another one is my favourite. Caliber Poljot 2415 -"Orbita"(Orbit) and 2416 - "Cosmos"(Space) with date. You can meet it only in De Luxe series. First one started produced from 1962, the second one - from 1963.Pretty nice slim automatic (about 3,9 mm) with hand winding ability. Nice brushed bridges, Cotes de Geneve on oscillating weight, 29 jewels. Because of small height it also have flat hairspring. Besides a pallet fork has an unordinary shape - at side-view its tail is higher than jewels. Original reverse device is made as a fork. I put pics of reversed weight so you can inspect this fork. under pivot of the weight there's a pinion of central seconds. The last two movements were designed fully by Poljot engineers. It was quite expensive in producing and that's why Poljot had to refuse from this caliber.


This one is also extremely rare caliber 2015 (Zarya), mostly common to Poljot 2415. Unfortunately I do not have any info about this caliber, and also have only a movement with almost lost keyless works. Anyway the movement is in the working condition.



A quite ordinary caliber Poljot 2409. Nice brushed bridges, polished screws. Escape wheel is protected with an additional jewel. The balance wheel had made with a Breguet spiral. It was a work horse but later it was replaced on more reliable 2609 (26 mm diameter). In 1966, the factory started production of a new basic movement model, a 26 caliber with anti-shock appliance, screw less balance wheel and a flat spiral, and different accessories. New movements were distinguished by small height and long time of run.

This one is also rare caliber Rodina (Poljot),based on 2409, but with automatic winding. There are 22 jewels in the movement.



Having read an article by Walt Odets about Cornavin Dolphin I found on his pics that legendary Poljot 2614.H (with calendar). A few words about H. At first there was plain 2609. It wasn't successful, so it was fully redesigned into 2609.H. "H" is a Russian letter means New. As to Cornavin - it's an export trademark of Poljot and Slava. You can also find Cardinal watches - also Poljot brand.

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