Even though I only got this watch recently, it is not a recent model. It is a so-called “NOS” – new, old stock. In many ways, this is a transitional model between the older Sturmanskie models and the newer ones. For example, the case size is for this model (40 x 11 mm) is probably a little small by today’s standards, in particular for a 24 hour watch. The luming, however, is every bit as good as the most recent Sturmanskie models.

This model features a rotating bezel with 24 time zones, each identified by a city and a GMT reference. Frankly, while this does add a traveller’s orientation to the watch, it is almost useless as the names of the cities are written in truly tiny characters. On my model the rotation of the bezel is not too smooth either, but that may be due to the fact that it is an ‘old stock’. The date, however, is shown in a larger character and can be read rather easily.

This watch has a nice and solid feel to it, it is well finished and the overall look of the watch is one of quality. I wish Sturmanskie re-issued this model in a 45mm case and with a better, more readable, rotating bezel. This model is water-resistant to ‘3 ATM’ which really means that it is only minimally water resistant. Should Volmax ever decide to re-issue this series, I hope that they give it at least ‘5 ATM’ or even ’10 ATM’. A ‘world traveller’ watch should feature decent water resistance.

Sturmanskie World Traveller
No, this watch is not really called “Aviator Mamba”. That is the name I gave it after taking this picture. This watch’s real name is a much more mundane “Aviator 2623/1225556-45” which is really too bad considering how beautiful this watch really is. In particular, the soft but clear contrast of the green markings and the white dial is both extremely clear and very pleasant. The super-luminova on this watch might well be the largest and brightest I have ever seen on any watch. The overall “readability” of the dial is outstanding in both day and night (the watch’s 45mm size definitely helps here).

The mechanism inside this watch is the highly dependable Poljot 2623 (Antishock. Frequency: 21600 vph. Daily rate from -20 to +40 s/day. Power reserve minimum: 40 h). One special feature of this model is the small magnifying glass which makes the date easily readable.

The overall “feel” of this watch is one of strength, power and elegance, hence my choice of a Green Mamba as its model (I could never have taken a close-up picture of this extremely dangerous snake without the help of my friend Carl Barden, Director of the Medtoxin Venom Laboratories and the absolutely amazing Reptile Discovery Center in Deland, FL. Thanks Carl!).

This “Aviator Mamba” is both so functional and elegant that it can be worn on any occasion and I have made it my everyday carry (EDC) watch.

Aviator Mamba
This Vostok is a simple yet elegant watch and, due to its size and style, this is arguably the only Vostok 24 hour watch which could be worn both by a man or a woman. Another feature which distinguishes it from most other Vostok watches is that it does not have a screw-down crown.

The mechanism inside this watch is an anti-shock Vostok 2423 (Frequency: 19800 vph; daily rate from -20 to +60 s/day; power reserve min: 38 h) and the case is made of polished steel. The screws, glass rim and crown are very slightly tinted in gold. The luming is decent, but far from the super-luminova seen on Volmax watches. Curiously, while the brand name is written in Russian (Восток) along with “made in Russia” (сделано в России) on the face of the watch, it is written in English (Vostok – Russia) on the back.

Overall, the watch is well-made and it’s overall quality “feel” is better than Raketa, but not quite on par with Volmax brands (Aviator and Sturmanskie).

I like Vostok watches, a lot. I got this one from a private seller for $49.95+S&H, an amazing price really for what is a very good quality mechanical 24 hour watch. I will keep hoping that one day Vostok will resume the production of these great watches.

Vostok 24 hours classic
This is a limited edition watch, very rare nowadays, which was included in the “Prestige” series of Vostok watches. The movement inside is a Vostok 2424, which is a 24mm caliber with a 19800 frequency and an antishock balance. Event though this watch does not have a screw-down crown like the other 24 hour Vostoks, it is still advertised as water resistant.

The dial itself is not the most readable dial ever as only the 12, 18 and 24 hours are indicated with numerals (the 6 o’clock numeral is replaced by a date indicator). If you are used to 24 hour watches, this is definitely not a problem, but if you are not that might be a real issue.

The watch is very well made, better than most other Vostoks, I would say. It has a sturdy unidirectional rotating bezel to mark off time, and case’s plating looks very well done.

I got this watch from Victor, aka ‘Zenitar’ who sells Russian watches through his store on Ebay and who is one of the most reputable sellers out there.

All in all, I like this watch very much. It is very original, unassuming yet elegant, and it seems to be very well manufactored. It is really too bad that Vostok has stopped producing 24 hour watches.

Vostok Prestige 24 hours

This is arguably the best 24 hour Raketa watch ever produced. Specially made for the Detente Watches (the biggest distributor of Russian watches in North America and the Caribbean), this model is based on the famous “Pilot 1” Raketa watch which features a dial inspired by the cockpit watches of Soviet military aircraft in the 1936-1948 period: it is elegant, with a definite “military” feel to it, and highly readable.

This is without any doubt the best (clearest) dial ever made by Raketa. Pilots, in particular, will love it.

The watch also features a special made case plated with a stricking and highly resistant titanium nitrade (TiN) coating. The bracelet which is shipped with this watch also has a TiN plating, although Russia2all (the only place where you can purchase this watch) also offers a black leather strap as an alternative.

The back of the watch is laser engraved with “Special for Détente Watches” and and worldwide limited series count xxx/100.

The manual wind (hackable) mechanism inside this model is the famous Raketa 2623-NA whose history was described by the Executive Director of Raketa in his recent interview for Russian 24 Hours (see the interview section of this website).

Even though only 100 such watches were ever made by Raketa this might well be the “ultimate Raketa”.

Titanium nitride plated Raketa
No photograph will ever do justice to this remarkable model, arguably the most elegant and beautiful 24 hour analog watch ever created. While the Buran chronograph’s beauty is in its complexity, this Sturkamnskie’s beauty is in its elegant simplicity.

The pearl white dial with rose gold (a Russian speciality) hours combined with the black bezel create a soft but very compelling contrast. The diamond shaped hour markers glitter with a soft rose gold reflection. Everything about this watch just radiates a gentle, yet compelling beauty and elegance which I have never seen in any other watch.

The dial, however, is not easy to read, at least not for somebody new to 24 hour watches. The reason for this is that the hour indicators are small and since only every second hour marker is represented, this watch can look like a common 12 hour dial to a casual observer.

Alas, this is a limited series watch, and only 250 of these were ever made.

Sturmanskie 24 hour "Sputnik" in rose gold
This is one of four currently existing Sturmanskie Sputnik models, this one with a black and white dial. (and a blue Sturmanskie logo). It it somewhat of an exception in the typical Sturmanskie line because in some ways, it looks like something of a cross between a highly functional Aviator and an elegant Sturmanskie. The super luminova hand and dial are the most bright ones I have ever seen, and the dial is easy to read. Still, the watch is also elegant and classical, and this blends of styles results in a watch which can be worn in both formal and casual circumstances, thus making it an ideal daily wear watch.
Sturmanskie Sputnik Black
This Buran Chronograph is the Rolls-Royce of 24 hour watches and it has plenty of unique features. It is the only Russian 24 hour chronograph, it is the only Russian 24 watch with a transparent “display” back, it is the only Russian 24 hour watch with 25 ruby jewels and a Poljot 31681 mechanism which is a complication of the famous 3133 Poljot mechanism, a Russian variation of the Swiss Valjoux 7734.  According to an entry in Wikipedia, a Poljot 3133-based watch set a space record for the longest space flight in history on the hand of cosmonaut V.V. Polyakov (– take this, Heuer, Omega, Breitling & Co.!). Predictably, it is also the most expensive Russian 24 watch, going as it does (I should write “did” – see below) for about 500-550 dollars. Pennies, really, at least if compared to “equivalent” (assuming there is such thing) Western chronographs. Finally, this watch is stunningly beautiful (make sure to click on the pictures to see them at a higher resolution!).

Alas, this watch has now become a collectible with no successors on the horizon. Volmax, the company which produces the Buran brand, has made Buran a Swiss company and the “Buran V.M.” logo is now a thing of the past. Hopefully, Volmax will eventually release another 24 hour chronograph based on the Poljot 3133 movement as both the Aviator and the Sturmanskie brands would greatly benefit from a 24 hour chronograph in their lineups.

Buran Black Gold Chronograph

Buran Black Gold Chronograph
Vostok is famous for making rugged and inexpensive watches. Unfortunately, most of them are of the 12 hours kind, with a few combined 12/24 dials (which I do not consider “real” 24 hour watches). Vostok is most famous for its outstanding “Amphibia” diving watch (which can taken to a depth of 200m) and its “Komandirskie” model – a rugged watch with a military feel to it. As far as I know, Vostok made only four models with a 24 hours dial (the Vostok models 891373 – mine – 891272, 891172 and 891171), which is too bad. Another bad call is that these 24 hours models were not given the kind of water-resistance the Amphibia. This models does have “waterproof” stamped on its back, but I that could mean anything. I suspect that these Vostoks are more water resistant than the Raketas (thanks to the screw-down crown), but whether that is good enough to swim with them is anyone’s guess.

Still, this is a nice and inexpensive 24 hours watch, with a reliable mechanism inside, a screw-down crown and a clear, if a little small, face. The hands are fairly luminous, and the rotating 60min bezel is neither too loose nor too tight. The bad news is that Vostok stopped making these watches, which is really too bad. What they should have done is put a 24 dial inside an Amphibia case but, alas, this does not seem to be in their plans.

Unlike many Russians, I am not a big fan of commemorative watches. Frankly, I find most of them a little goofy, and the events that they commemorate are not always events I can relate to, or that I would care about. Most importantly, most commemorative watches are about the commemoration rather than about the watch. After all, if a watch is beautifully made, what need is there to “add value” (so to speak) to it by including a commemorative theme? Still, this one is the exception to the rule. First, because it is an absolutely beautiful watch. And second, but only second, because it commemorate mankind’s first step into space: the launch of the first satellite Sputnik.

Sturmanskie actually released an entire series of “Sputnik” models (others are covered elsewhere on this website), but this is the only which explicitly displays commemorative features: a globe is featured on the center of the dial, and the seconds hand has a small red arrow, a stylized Sputnik, circumnavigating the earth once each minute. The effect is very nice, but it does not distract too much, giving the watch a very nice – and original – balance as a commemorative and timekeeping object.

Since the first watch in space was a Sturmanskie, it is only fitting for company like Sturmanskie to make a watch with a space-theme. After all, Russian watches were the first in space and they are an integral part of the Russian space ethos.

Sadly, this model has no luminous features at all, and the date is displayed in a very small window. So while this is a most beautiful watch, is is not the most utilitarian one.

Sturmanskie Sputnik

Sturmanskie Sputnik