My Cart


Ten of the Best Russian Watches

Posted on July 10 2017

This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Northwind Watches

Ten Must Have Russian Watches

When you're shopping on the high street it's easy to assume that Switzerland and Japan are the only two countries that produce watches. From the legendary Swiss Rolex to the Japanese giant Seiko, nearly all the watches sold in jewellery chain stores are from these two nations. However, for those in the know, there's a third big player. Russia.

What's more, Russia produces watches that are often priced at a fraction of their Swiss equivalents making them very affordable mechanical watches. Like Swiss brand Omega's Seamaster or Seiko's SKX007, Russia has produced its fair share of classics, many originally produced for the military or the space program.


Here we take you through ten of the best Russian watches for those looking to start a collection or just to find something exotic to wear.

Vostok Amphibia 420059 Automatic Watch

The Amphibia is arguably the best value divers watch on the planet and with hundreds of designs having been produced since it's launch in 1967 there are going to be at least one you'll love. Whether it's the 'Scuba Dude' with its iconic graphics, the colourful Radio Room or the 'Zissou' as worn by Bill Murray in The Life Aquatic, there'll be a one that jumps out at you.

The original brief for the designers was to cheaply build a bomb-proof 200M rated divers watch for the Soviet military. The result is a much-loved design classic. A chunky automatic watch with some innovative features, yet still brutally simple. But the real attraction? You can have all of this for less than £100. With those multiple designs on offer and a lively community of enthusiasts producing replacement parts to 'mod' your watch, this really is the place to start if you want your first Russian.

See more of my favourite Amphibias here.

Vostok Amphibian 420059

  • 39mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 18mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Russian Vostok Automatic movement
  • Acrylic Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Poljot Okean 3133/1981599 Chronograph Watch 

In 1930 Joseph Stalin ordered the founding of the First State Watch Factory, and so started the life of Russia's greatest watch producer. Many iconic watches emerged from this factory and amongst the best is the Poljot Okean.

Produced for the Soyuz-23 space flight and the first watch to use the famous 3133 Chronograph movement, the watch is a success of Russian engineering. The retro aesthetics still appeal to watch fans and both new and used examples of the Okean are highly prized. Although there have since been numerous watches using the 3133 movement, for many the original is still the most desirable.


Poljot Okean 3133/1981599

  • 39mm Diameter
  • 13.5mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Russian Handwinding movement
  • Mineral Crystal


Poljot Strela Russian Watch

Another Poljot using the 3133 Chronograph movement. Where the Okean is heavy and substantial looking the Strela is lean and subtly styled. Another watch produced for the Russian Space program, this also boasts a long interesting history.

The Strela comes in a number of dial and case options with cream and black dials being the classic designs. Although a technical looking watch with a busy dial this is certainly a watch to wear to the office.

Poljot Strela Cosmos CO38CYB

  • 38mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Russian 3133 Handwinding movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


 Luch 37471762 One Hand Watch


Belarusian brand Luch is produced in the Minsk Watch Plant (I take a closer look at the brand here) These quirky watches are a bit of an enigma. Are they knowingly designed to ooze vintage charm or so out of date that their minimalist design is back in vogue? Either way, they have their own unique styling completely at odds with modern watch trends.

Modern watches are rarely under 40mm diameter. Luch's one-handed watches are 38mm. Where modern tastes are for thick watches, these are thin. Where automatic and quartz movements rule, Luch are hand-wound. Either by accident or design Luch have carved their own niche for affordable minimalist watches – decades before Daniel Wellington and others.


What many watch enthusiasts want to know...will the brand continue this styling now that Swiss luxury brand Franck Muller has bought an 80% stake in the watch plant?

Luch 37471762

  • 38mm Diameter
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Chrome Plated Case
  • Handwinding Mechanical movement
  • Mineral Crystal


 Sturmanskie Gagarin Watch 2609-3745128

The Russians didn't just put the first man in space. When Yuri Gagarin took to orbit in 1961 he also took the first watch into space – a piece specially created for the Cosmonaut. Omega may have had the first watch on the Moon, but Sturmanskie had the first 'Space watch' (More about Space watches here).


Like the Poljot's these are also built in The First Moscow Watch Factory just around the corner from the Kremlin. Sturmanskie has recently released an upgraded Titanium version of their most famous watch. With a hand-winding Russian movement this is a design classic, sympathetically recreated.


Sturmanskie Gagarin Heritage 2609-3745128

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Titanium
  • Russian Handwinding movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


President's Putin Watch


President Putin's Watch


The President's watches are an ornate series of hand-winding and automatic watches. Very much a marmite watch – you'll either love or hate the styling. These watches are allegedly given to prominent Russian state figures and other VIP.s.

Currently, the range includes a President Putin model, which seems almost vulgar for the KGB hardman and Judo Black Belt. Still, these watches have their fans and historically deserve their place amongst the Russian classics.


Raketa Big Zero Watch

The Big Zero is a fun, light-hearted watch. Luckily vintage examples aren't difficult to get your hands on and are very affordable. Ideal as an introduction to vintage Russian watches. Those massive numbers sit well on the plain dial and depending on if you get a Russian or English dialled version you'll get a nice little 'CCCP' or 'USSR' too.

It's a fairly cheap watch and has a no-frills Russian made hand-winding movement. Like the Luch, it's basic, quirky and very cheap. Try to find a clean example and pair it with a quality leather strap for an eye-catching mechanical vintage watch. Another option is to look into the current Big Zero model.

Raketa Big Zero

  • 39mm Diameter
  • 18mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Raketa 2609A Handwinding movement


Zlatoust AGAT 193 ChS l Watch


Basic, quirky and cheap? The Zlatoust is none of those things. It's a monster. If it was a car it'd be a Hummer. With some models having a diameter of 58mm, before taking into account the huge crown, this is amongst the biggest, heaviest watches you'll ever come across.


Designed in the 1970s for the Russian Navy these are still produced in small numbers in Zlatoust, the small industrial town near the Ural mountains. It's rumoured that the total factory output for a year is less than 1000 watches. This is more of a conversation piece rather than something to wear daily, but certainly, something to consider in any collection of Eastern European timepieces.

Zlatoust 193 AGAT 193 ChS l Dive Watch

  • 53mm Diameter
  • 17mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance



Vostok Komandirskie Russian Mechanical Watch 2414A/431171

The Vostok Kommanderskie, or 'Commander' is the Chistopol based company's other iconic watch. Where the Amphibia is one of the worlds best value divers, the cheaper Kommanderskie is one of the best value mechanical watches full stop.

Having been first introduced over fifty years ago, there's been a considerable number of variations released, including both automatic and hand-wound models. The current range gives plenty of choice, but for many a Red Army issued used model will have greater appeal. It all depends on what you value – image and reliability or authenticity.

Like the Amphibia, the Kommanderskie is chunky and unsubtle. It's a mid-sized watch and once you replace the cheap strap looks like a lot of watch for the money.


Vostok Komandirskie 431171

  • 39mm Diameter
  • 18mm Lug Width
  • Chrome Plated Brass
  • Vostok 2414A movement
  • Acrylic Crystal


 Raketa Copernicus 0231 Watch


The second Raketa to make the list is a gem. Designed during the 1980s and influenced by the cosmos, this is a handsome dress watch. Slim, colourful, and a little avant-garde the watch makes a strong statement. Certainly, it's a contrast to the simplistic look of the Vostok's. With its signature planet shaped hands and basic dial Raketa created a memorable timepiece.


The current version is a little bit more refined and includes an automatic mechanical movement built in-house. The cheaper option is to buy a vintage model, of which eBay is normally the best source. Just remember that the older models will reflect the fashion at the time for smaller watches.


Raketa Copernicus 0231

  • 40mm Diameter
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

Subscribe to my list for updates and offers


  • Carlos: December 26, 2021

    There is a watchmaker you must talk about: Molnija.
    They make there own movements and have elegant selections. Of which my favorite are the GREEN RAY.
    Please introduce it.

  • Carlos Carlos: December 26, 2021

    You must share this.
    The first real watch in space is the Pobeda 34-K.
    Here us the story:
    The owner was a medical military medical researcher who thought to do away with his watch seeing the risky flights the animals took.

    . Abraham Genin, who told this story in a documentary filmed by the Smithsonian Institution in 1989 about the Soviet Aerospace Medical Researchers, iwho owned the 34-K model Pobeda in his hand. Thanks to the model clearly seen in the documentary, it is obviously understood why Dr. Genin wasn’t able to break the watch. Contrary to the Pobeda watches of the same era, this model has a dust-proof case design due to its screw-in crown and caseback. Thus, of course, its waterproofness is also scaled up considerably. This Pobeda, bearing a cal.2602 with 15 jewels, was the very first watch that went into space, though on the leg of a dog. (Chernushka ,meaning Blackie, as she was a black furred dog)
  • Vladimir: July 30, 2021

    Real Russian watches can be called several watches Raketa( Ракета, Slava( Славва), Molnija ( Молния), Vostok (Восток) ! All these manufacturers have their own calibers ! But only mechanical, quartz produced in Russia, I do not know! Quartz calibers in Russian watches are usually set by Japanese and Swiss ! There is also the company Romanoff, which is the remains of the former company Polet (Полет) they also have a caliber from the company Polet! These are the most basic Russian manufacturers , of course there are more! But there are also many Chinese fakes! Be careful !

  • Jack Shah: January 04, 2021

    Does the company make a smaller size watches ? I want a 30mm Automatic , blue dial if possible., as I have very small wrists. Secondly where can I buy in India and in UK for my younger brother . Thanks for a reply soon .

  • Tri Doan: May 01, 2019

    Please tell me that the new Russian watch trade mark Vostok Partner and Commandirskie and Vostok now has any cooporated with China?

  • Mike Ricketts: March 06, 2019

    Soviet / Russian Military-Issue Watches:
    I have never seen a genuine Russian Military-Issue, or ex-Issue, watch for sale; all one gets is Russian “Military-Type” watches, or some “Retro” design that was never issued.
    Where are the genuine Military watches??

  • Skip: February 04, 2019

    Hi. Are you able to assist me in the following enquiry. Were CORTEAL watches ever made in the Soviet Union. Although much of the Soviet watch making factories used imported Swiss movements , to the best of my knowledge CORTEAL brand watches were Swiss made ?

    Again simply as a caution for the younger collectors who perhaps no little about Soviet watches or indeed the Soviet Union I am often puzzled ,and, at times challenge watches as Soviet or made in the 70’s etc when in fact the timelines (particularly with so-called Victory commemorative faced watches) do not add up!!

    Often these watches are post-Soviet era i.e. Russian Federation , or more often made in China !!

  • Ahmed Awad: March 06, 2019

    Dear Sir,

    Can you provide me with the oldest and best Russian watches (made in Russia).

    I like to be different from others, and I also like and respect Russian things.
    So, I appreciate and be thankful if you give me feedback about different names which I could choose a watch from it I like.


  • Jens: September 17, 2018

    I have an old Pobeda watch. The watch is about 45 years old and it is working keeping good time.
    Is is dirty insinde and the last service was many years ago.

    The watch has many dents the dial is discoloured and the watch is well used.

    But it works without complains.

  • XxX: March 20, 2019

    The point 7 is wrong from the beginning to the end. Big Zero IS in produce, and is nowhere near “very affordable” or “basic, quirky and very cheap”. Do you homework before writing:

    Also, real “Strela” should have another movement – 3017, not 3033 which was introduced much LATER. And of course nowadays Strela or Shturmanskie have nothing to do with the original Poljot factory. They have the old movements in Chinese cases at best (at worst they have Chinese movements). The Shturmanskie of today often have Vostok factory movements.

    And “President” watch is just a joke, why is this garbage on the list of best Russian watches? You’d better put Kompressor or NVCH-30 in it.

  • Watches World: August 24, 2018

    Great Post. These timepieces looking great & affordable. ( .

  • Karl: August 24, 2018

    Would have been nicer if you’d included the actual watch specs like crown/lug width, movement IDs, weight…

    Also, the pictures look nice. Just to manage expectations. You will almost never find any of these in mint condition nowadays.

  • Radoslav Kunska: December 29, 2017

    Great looking products

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing