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5 Strong Reasons to Buy an Iconic Vostok Amphibia Watch

Posted on April 21 2021

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Vostok Amphibia Automatic Watch

Remember when products were built to last?

And I mean really last. Not lasting until your next automatic upgrade, but built to outlive you.

Now imagine life in the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Queues for the basics and no chance to own the exciting consumer goods rocking the rest of the world.

Let's put the final piece into place.

What if your job was to create a dive watch for the Russian Navy in this environment?

Your task is to build a tough, reliable watch to be used in life or death situations, and you have no access to Swiss watchmaking technology.

Oh, and it needs to last. There's no money for repairs or replacements. You need to build a watch that doesn't break.

The Vostok Amphibia Diver's Watch

That was the brief given to the Russian watchmakers who created the Vostok Amphibia. It's a fascinating story and the result is a bullet-proof affordable watch.

Vostok Amphibia Dive Watch

I'm a massive fan of this watch and I'd like to share with you 5 compelling reasons why you should be too.

1. The Vostok Amphibia is Amazing Value for Money

Price matters.

All things being equal, price matters. When you hand over your hard-earned cash you want to feel like you're getting value for money.

And when you get a bargain? Researchers have found that you get a high and want to tell the world about it.

Price is the number one reason why you should consider the Vostok Amphibia. It's an automatic watch with an in-house movement and 200M of water resistance.

I'm sure you're aware that very watch brands have the ability to manufacture their own movements. Of those that do, only a handful are affordable.

And this is a legitimate dive watch. It was designed to take into the sea.

All for around £100.

2. The Vostok Amphibia has a Fascinating History

The best watches tell more than the time. They tell stories.

It could be the first watch on the moon or the first watch in space. It's those stories behind the watches that make them iconic.

The Vostok has this history. It was made for the Russian Navy at the height of the cold war. Its appearance reflects that.

Despite the many variations, they all have a shared aesthetic. They're tough-looking, spartan and clearly Russian. They look like they were designed with budget and functionality in mind rather than fashion.

Vostok Amphibia Modded

The story behind the Vostok is unlike those of Swiss luxury pieces. And the design hasn't really changed since its release. When you wear the Amphibia you feel like you're wearing a piece of the past.

3. The Vostok Amphibia has Unique Innovations

The brief given to the watches designers forced them to innovate.

And that’s what they did. As one of the team said, “Seemingly the Vostok Amphibia is not so different from the regular watches. But in fact almost every element in it is exclusive and each of them required a lot of work”.

An example of their innovation is the watches water resistance.

The Amphibia’s construction uses the outside pressure of the water to squeeze the glass into the case, making the seal tighter. The deeper the watch goes, the more water pressure and the tighter the seal.

To do this the watch uses a plastic crystal, 50% thicker than normal, that can deform under pressure. Glass and sapphire crystal would crack rather than deform. This crystal is cheap and doesn’t need a rubber seal or a high-pressure crystal retaining ring.

The same functionality as expensive Swiss-divers, but at a fraction of the price.

4. There are Lots of Vostok Amphibia Designs to Choose From

There are a variety of classic Amphibia designs.

The case can be shaped in a few styles, with a cushion case being one of the most popular.

There are also a massive number of dial designs. Some, like the Scuba Dude variant, are staples of the Vostok range. That would be the most obvious starting point - it's the most recognisable design.

But there are other attractive and authentic layouts too. The Radio Room is another one worth investigating. It breaks the dial into 15 minute slots. This was to meet the requirement for 3 minutes radio silence every quarter of an hour - the watch shows those short periods on the dial.


By the time that you factor in each dial layout, case style and colour scheme, there is an endless number of Amphibia for you to choose from.

5. You Can Modify and Personalise Your Vostok Amphibia

And if all those variations aren’t enough? You can alter the watch.

There is a subculture of Vostok fans who like to personalise their watches with aftermarket parts. You can do this by replacing the bezel, bezel insert and strap. This means that you can drastically alter the appearance of the watch - or just make a small, subtle change.

It’s up to you.

I currently have three ‘modded’ Vostok Amphibia’s. As you can see, on two I’ve opted to replace the rotating bezel with a fixed stainless steel one. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Modded Vostok Amphibia

The Amphibia is already an unusual watch that you’re unlikely to see on anyone else’s wrist. Modding yours will make it unique - a one-off.


There are many reasons why you wear a watch. Often the timekeeping feature isn’t the primary one for buying a watch.

We love the designs, the history and the innovation.

And that is why the Vostok Amphibia is one of my favourite watches. It was created in the USSR in the 1960s, in a factory using machines evacuated from Moscow in WW2.

Its design reflects that history and it oozes vintage charm. But the Vostok does more than look good. It is a true dive watch, built to be used by the Russian Navy. It’s an authentic tool.

And the best bit? It’s really affordable. The Amphibia costs much less than other automatic dive watches - and that is with an in-house movement.

There are very few watches on the planet that offer the features that the Vostok does for this kind of money. Follow the links in this article and explore the Vostok collection. I’m sure that you’ll find an Amphibia that you like.

And remember, if you don’t you can always ‘mod’ it.

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