|Type||Joint stock company|
|Products||Wristwatches, Clocks, Watch movements, Clock movements|
|Subsidiaries||Amfiby, Betar, Briolet|
|Website||Vostok official page|
Vostok (Russian: Восток, meaning East*) Watch Makers, Inc. produces mainly rugged military and diver mechanical watches at its factory in Chistopol, Tatarstan, Russia. It also makes clocks and watch movements for other watch brands.
The Vostok Company was founded in 1942 when one of the Moscow watch-making plants of the First Moscow Watch Factory was evacuated to Chistopol, a small town located on the Kama River in Tatarstan. Only defense equipment was produced during the war years, but as soon as the war was over the company started making mechanical wrist watches. However, the Company did not begin using the "Vostok" brand name until the 1960s. *Presumable "Vostok" brand was named after the Vostok space program, which gave the initial advancement of the USSR in the Space race (as some others soviet watch brands, named to space topics in 1960s - Poljot and Raketa).
The company was appointed an official supplier of watches for the Defense Department of the Soviet Union in 1965. This year also marks the creation of the well known Komandirskie ("Commander's") watch. (See photo, below left.)
The experience gained through development of the army watch led to the Amphibia, a stainless-steel watch able to withstand a 200 meter depth (20atm). By 1980, Vostok Watch Makers was producing 4.5 million timepieces per year.
Watches sold to the military were marked "ЗАКАЗ МО СССР," meaning "By Order of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR." These models were sold exclusively through Voentorg stores, which catered to military personnel with identification only. (Today, these models have become sought-after collectibles.)
At turn of the 21st century, Vostok launched a line of 1940s-style replicas called the Kirovskie K-43 collection. Vostok also began producing a "luxury" line of watches called Kremlevskie. Both lines are made of stainless steel, produced in limited quantities, and aimed toward a more affluent consumer.
In 2006, Vostok Watch Makers began marketing another new line of watches branded "Amfibia." This brand, like most other Vostok products, features the familiar 31-jewel automatic (No. 2416B) movement. These watches feature "diver" styling with polyurethane or stainless steel bands.
An updated version of the Komandirskie debuted in summer, 2007, and a special anniversary edition of the Amphibia (called the "1967") appeared in early 2008. Both of these models feature high-quality assembly, materials and packaging.
Despite the introduction of the new lines of Komandirskie and Amphibia, the "classic" models (mostly designed in 1960s and 1970s) of these lines was still in production (as of 2012).
In early 2010, Vostok Watch Factory filed for bankruptcy and their official web page was disabled. Despite that, the production didn't stop and the factory is still working and supplying watches and movements (as of 2013).
- The Company also makes a 12 jewel, very accurate mechanical submarine wall clock that was in Officers areas on board, known to stay on time in a wide band of temperatures. It is highly sought after in certain collectors markets especially in Soviet Union items collectors.
- Usually Poljot watches are associated with the Soviet Space Program. But Vostok watches were also frequently worn in space by the Russian cosmonauts. Some of the famous Vostok watch users were the cosmonauts Georgi Grechko and Yuri Romanenko.
- A popular myth claims that after the Desert Storm operation in 1992, the Pentagon awarded soldiers from the allied forces with a special edition Vostok Amphibian military watch called Desert Shield. This is not true. Considering that only about 200,000 watches were produced, when weighed against the vast numbers of American soldiers deployed, it is apparent that the numbers do not add up. The venture put forth by Timepeace Russian Watches, Inc. was a for-profit company, capitalizing on the collapse of the Soviet Empire, Glasnost, Perestroika and the post-Reagan patriotism sweeping America. Although watches were given to President George H.W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, there is no record of watches being awarded to soldiers by the Pentagon or any other government agency. It is an urban legend which simply refuses to die.
- Vostok was produced High Precision Mechanical Watches (Volna, Almaz and Vostok Precision models - Soviet Chronometer Standard), based on their movement Vostok 2809 with 22 jewels. The watches were produced in 1960s.
- In the movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Steve (Bill Murray) is wearing a classic Vostok Amphibia watch.
List of Vostok movements
Vostok produces all the mechanical movements by itself. The company also owns daughter-company "Briolet" specialized in production of technical ruby-jewels. Vostok supplies movements for other watch makers like Vostok-Europe, Volmax, Moscow Classic and Poljot-International. The 24mm caliber movements of Vostok, currently in production (as of 2010), are presented in the table below:
|Code||Height, mm||Type||Jewels||BPH||Complications||Used in|
|2403||3.7||Manual||17||19800||Second hand at 9 o'clock||Vostok VOT|
|2409||3.7||Manual||17||19800||Central second hand||Vostok Amfibia lady first, Junior 2409A|
|2414A||4.14||Manual||17||19800||Central second hand, date indicator||Vostok Komandirskie manual|
|2415||-||Automatic||31||19800||Central second hand||Vostok Amphibia 1967|
|2415B||-||Automatic||31||19800||Second hand at 9 o'clock||Vostok K-43|
|2416B||6.3||Automatic||31||19800||Central second hand, date indicator||Vostok Komandirskie, Amphibian, Kremlyovskie, Prestige, Breeze, Titanium, 2416B, VIP
|2423||3.7||Manual||17||19800||24h dial, central second hand||-|
|2424||3.7||Manual||17||19800||24h dial, central second hand, date indicator||-|
|2426||6.3||Automatic precision||32||19800||Central second hand, 24h indicator, date indicator||Vostok Komandirskie K-34
Vostok Europe Rocket N1, Gaz 14 Limousine and Expedition 2006
|2431B||6.3||Automatic||31||19800||24h dial, central second hand, date indicator||Vostok automatic 24H|
|2432||6.3||Automatic precision||32||19800||Central second hand, date indicator, day/night indicator||Vostok New commander
Vostok-Europe Mryia, Arktika, K3, Lunokhod, Red Square
|2434||4.14||Manual||17||19800||Central second hand||Vostok military manual|
|2435||6.3||Automatic precision||31||19800||Central second hand, date indicator, day/night indicator||Vostok-Europe Metro|
|2441||6.5||Automatic||32||19800||Second hand at 10 o'clock, date indicator||Vostok-Europe Energia|
1942, July 1, in Chistopol, watch factory NK MV 835, is created on the basis of the Second Moscow watch factory and DOS factory, manufacturing products for needs of frontlines.
1943, Release of K-43 men's watch, and instrument production is begun. The machine-tool construction for watch manufacture is organized.
1949, Serial release of a K-26 "Pobeda" man's watch, wall-mounted ship clocks with a luminous dial, clocks for a/m "ZiM", "Volga", "Pobeda", wall-mounted and street industrial clocks are begun.
1950, The factory has started construction of own industrial buildings.
1952, The factory released of "Kama" shockproof watches in waterproof case, clock devices for various branches of a national economy.
1957, Release of precision watches: K-28 "East", "Mir", "Volna", "Saturn", "Cosmos" with lateral and central second hands, a lens and shockproof movement is mastered. Export of Chistopol watches has increased 7 times.
1962, Chistopol Watch Factory is awarded the gold medal of the Leipzig international fair; Komandirskie watches are developed and manufacturing begins; Chistopol watch factory became the official supplier of these watches to the Ministry of Defence of the USSR.
1968, Release of Amphibian" watch; Since 1969, all watches are manufactured under the "Vostok" trademark, and the Chistopol Watch Factory is now referred to as "Vostok Watch Factory"
1972, Release of a new 24 calibres man's watch with a numerical calendar, a double calendar, and an automatic movement; Watches are exported to 54 countries of the world.
1976, Cosmonaut G. Grechko presents the "Vostok" watch which has visited space to the Factory.
1980, This year the factory manufactures 4.5 million pieces; All production is deemed the "first" and "supreme" categories of quality.
1986, Release of water-meters, tahografov accustoms, release of manometers are begun. The factory passes in the Ministry of the radioindustry. Chistopol faculty “Vostok” of Kazan Aircraft University is opened.
1989, The factory passes to self-financing, in 1990 - on rent. The assortment of watches is annually updated on 70%, release of watches with custom-made symbolics is mastered. Export of watches increases.
1992, The factory passes under jurisdiction of Republic Tatarstan and becomes an Open Joint Stock company. The majority of watches are exported to Italy, USA, Switzerland. In USA the greatest popularity was received with "Desert storm" watch.
2000, Vostok Watch Makers Inc. is the leader of the domestic watch and clock industry on volumes of release and sales of men's watches. Release of the female watches, an expensive, prestigious man's watch, and a quartz alarm clock are begun.
2001, The factory became the owner of "The Russian National Olympus” the prestigious premium in a nomination "To Technology. A science" and the winner of "The Russian organization of high social efficiency" competition in a branch nomination.
2004, The company "Koliz Vostok Co. Ltd" was founded as a joint venture between the Russian movement- and watch-maker "Vostok Watch Maker Inc." and the Lithuanian enterprise "Koliz Ltd." offers the world market a new generation of automatic watches based on the traditional Russian watch-making technology and new designs from Lithuania. The first collection of the new watch brand Vostok Europe was introduced at Basel, Switzerland.
2006, "Amfibia" brand, featuring modern-style diver watches, launched.
2007, Updated Komandirskie debuts to public.
2010, Vostok Watch Factory filed for bankruptcy. The Factory has been split in more than 40 juridical entities, most of them no longer have links with watchmaking.
- International Watch magazine, Nov. 2006, pg. 187