Russian / Soviet Watch Repair

I have a pair of mechanical Soviet wristwatches – a very boring Pobeda I wrote about last year, as well as a rather nicer Raketa with a 2623H movement – yes, it’s a 24-hour watch (that is, the hour hand only goes around once a day, as opposed to twice, like a normal mechanical watch). With a chrome case and a grey band, it’s my “dress” watch, for when the black-on-black Pobeda is a bit too, um, tactical, and a pocket watch just isn’t practical.

One of the big annoyances with owning any mechanical timepiece is that it’s fairly difficult – and usually horribly expensive – to have the damned things serviced. It’s bad enough trying to find someone around here to work on, say, a 1970s Seiko, or a 1960s Bulova, but try to get someone to service a Soviet or Russian timepiece? On a good day, they’ll just laugh at you. You can’t get parts, there are no service instructions available… and why bother, they’ll ask, when the watch is only worth maybe fifty bucks and most watchmakers these days won’t even open a watch for less than a hundred?

I knew this when I bought my watches, and I figure I’d just have to deal with it if and when the time came that either of my wristwatches stopped working.

A while back, my “shockproof” Raketa got whacked, and stopped running. Doh.

Happily, I was able to get it fixed, cleaned, and adjusted for less than thirty-five dollars. How? By mailing it off to the former Soviet Union, of course!

There’s a merchant on eBay called “fromukraine”, who is located – you guessed it – in the Ukraine. They sell a large variety of watches and other items… and offer a repair service for most types of Russian and Soviet wristwatches, as well. The price? Twenty-five to thirty-five bucks, all inclusive, including return shipping.

It seemed worth a try, so I did the “buy it now” thing for one of their repair auctions, paid, and mailed the broken Raketa off to them. (Postage was about $7.) Just under a month later, it arrived back from the Ukraine, good as new. Actually, it’s better than it was when it was new, because not only did they repair whatever was wrong with it, but they cleaned and adjusted it, and clearly knew what they were doing: it’s accurate, in daily wear, to about twenty seconds a week – and it’s been going strong for about six months, now.

Color me impressed.

(Remember, in context, this is a $50 mechanical watch; new, it was accurate to about two minutes a week, which itself isn’t too bad for a low-end “unadjusted” timepiece. And, as I’ve said before, it’s still considerably more accurate than most computers’ internal clocks…)

So, not to belabor the point, if you have a Soviet or Russian wristwatch that’s in need of some attention, you could do far worse then to send it off to these kind folks in the Ukraine, as they seem to have access to a legitimate, very competent and skilled watchmaker, and are damned affordable, all things considered. (I don’t know if they’ll work on pocket watches, but it probably can’t hurt to ask ’em.)

Published in: Geekiness, General | on September 10th, 2009| 4 Comments »

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4 Comments

  1. On 12/7/2011 at 2:00 pm Ilija P. Drapsin Said:

    Gentlemen,

    I have a pocket watch “Molnaya”, whose glass is cracked, and needs
    a replacement. where can I find the glass? Thank you.

    Best regards,

    Ilija P. Drapsin

  2. On 2/3/2012 at 10:35 am O Silveira Said:

    Gentlemen, I have a Russian pocket watch (Molnija) that needs the smallest gear and the pinion gear on the setting mechanism. The caliber is 3602. Can you please help?

    Best Regards,

    Orlando
    orlandove3@gmail.com

  3. On 2/17/2012 at 2:16 am Richard Grant Said:

    I have a 2nd State Watch factory K-43 pocket watch that was made in 1940, 15 jewel, that I would like to get looked at to make sure it is ok, get the hands reblued, and the body replated.

  4. On 9/26/2012 at 12:55 pm Watch repair shop sherman oaks Said:

    Organized content is the best way to display or post an article, thank you for making it easy to digest your post.