01 Aug History of Vostok Watches
Vostok Watch Makers Inc. is a Russian watch manufacturer based in Chistopol, Tatarstan, Russia. Vostok means "East" in Russian. The company manufactures mainly rugged military and Amphibia mechanical watches. They also make clocks and watch movements for other watch brands.
Vostok brand was created as a Joint Stock Company in 1942 when one of the Moscow watch-making plants of the First Moscow Watch Factory was moved to Chistopol. This small town is located on the Kama River in Tatarstan. Vostok produced only defense equipment during the war years, but immediately the war was over, the company commenced production of rugged mechanical watches.
However, the company did not start using the "Vostok" brand name until the early 1960s, and it is most likely that the "Vostok" brand was named after the Vostok space programme, as were some other Russian watch brands at that time, including Poljot and Raketa.
The company was selected to be the official supplier of watches for the Russian Ministry of Defence in 1965. In the same year, the company also created the widely known Komandirskie (Commander's) watch.
The expertise and skills gained in the process of developing army watches led to the creation of the popular Amphibia watches. This watch is a stainless steel diving watch which can withstand up to 200 meters depth.
By 1980, the Vostok Watch company was already producing 4.5 million timepieces per year. The watches Vostok sold to the military were marked with Russian symbols, depicting "Ordered by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR."
These military model watches were sold exclusively through Voentorg stores, which catered only to military personnel with proper identification only.
Today, these army watches have become collectables that are well sought after all across the globe. In 1957, the Vostok watch brand released a series of precision watches namely East, Mir, Volna, Saturn and Cosmos with lateral and central second hands.
These watches showcase shock proof movements and other impressive features. In this same year, the export of Chisopol watches increased up to 7 times.
Later in 1972, the Vostok brand released a new 24 Calibre men's watch with a numerical calendar and powered by an automatic movement.
The Vostok brand also started exporting their products to over 54 countries of the world. In 1976, Cosmonaut G. Grechko, during a customary visit to the Vostok factory, commended the watchmakers for manufacturing quality products and applauded them for their hard work and diligence.
The production of Vostok watches increased to about 4.5 million per year, and the brand ensured the production of high-quality watches that featured great materials.
At the turn of the 21st century, the Vostok watch brand launched a line of 1940 inspired replicas called the Kirovskie K-43 collection. The brand also started producing a "luxury" line of watches called Kremlevskie. Both lines were crafted using high-quality stainless steel and produced in limited quantities. These watches were aimed towards the more affluent watch consumers.
In 2004, the Vostok Watch Company began supplying movements to the Koliz Company of Lithuania. The two companies agreed on a partnership, and this led to the creation of the Vostok Europe brand of watches.
In 2006, the Vostok brand began marketing another line of watches branded the "Amphibia." This brand, similar to other Vostok watch products, features the well known 31-jewel automatic movement. These watches come with "divers" design with polyurethane or stainless steel bands.
An updated version of the Komandirskie was released in the summer of 2007. A special and limited anniversary edition of the Amphibia (referred to as "1967") appeared in early 2008.
Unlike most watches that only come in either white, black, silver or blue faces, the Amphibia watches come in a wide variety of colors and styles.
One of the pleasures of owning a Vostok Amphibia watch is their unique designs and styles. They feature Russian military themes and come with great functionalities.
The all-time classic Vostok Amphibian style is the "Scuba Dude" style, which comes in blue and black versions. The watch is so named due to the scuba diver design on its face.
Most of the Amphibia watches by the Vostok brand come with an easy-to-read face. The contrast and the large classic arrow hour hand allows easy readability and stylishness.
The seconds hand on the Amphibia watches have a very classic round indicator filled with lume.
Despite the Vostok brand introducing the new lines - Komandirskie and Amphibia, the classic Vostok models of these lines were still being produced as of 2014.
In early 2010, the Vostok Watch Factory filed for bankruptcy, and the brand's official website was discontinued. The factory after going through series of restructuring resumed to the production of watches and movements.
One of the most celebrated Vostok Amphibia watches is the "Desert Shield."
This watch was released in celebration of the success of the Iraq war military operation which had the same code name. Vostok produced about 200,000 pieces of these watches across a range of models.
They were marketed to military officers at a lower price, while civilians who were interested purchased these watches at higher rates. The watches were also given away to troops stationed in Saudi Arabia for free.
These Desert Shield Vostok watches were designed by an American import company called Timepeace Russian Watch. These timepieces represented a fascinating period of relationship between the US and Russia.
The watches are marked with "Made in the USSR" writings, and they feature elegant dials. That these watches were made in a Russian factory and were commissioned by a company in Beverly Hills represented a great example of international geopolitics union.
The Vostok watches are great timepieces.
The appearance of their watches contributes to its appeal.
They come with standard functionalities and clear-cut designs that invoke the feeling of belonging to the rough world of war.
A good number of individuals both in Russia and in other nations love Vostok watches for their rugged characteristics.
These Vostok timepieces have garnered many awards and international prizes for their high quality and commercial success.
The brand is still far from being content with its achievements.
They continue to look ahead, pursuing new techniques to broaden their wide range of watches.