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A comprehensive archive of POLJOT Watches. Each model or type is featured with detailed pictures & specifications to tell you virtually everything you need to know about POLJOT wristwatches we've handled since 2005.
POLJOT (literally meaning "flight"), a brand of watches from Russia, originated in the USSR & was produced by the First Moscow Watch Factory. Virtually unknown in the United States until the late 1990s, POLJOT watches established a reputation for quality at moderate prices.
In America, POLJOT mainly appealed to Russophiles & those desiring a "unique" conversation-piece. Worldwide, products of the First Moscow Watch Factory (FMWF) achieved a level of "cult status" among watch collectors. More than 70 years of experience in watch production created a unique industrial environment combining the best traditions of mechanical watch & movement manufacturing with modern technology. Watches & movements produced by the factory met extremely high quality requirements, because in addition to serving civil needs they were used to equip the Soviet armed forces.
Founded in 1930 under orders from Stalin, the First Moscow Watch Factory was the first Soviet watch & mechanical movement manufacturer. Via its U.S.A. based trading company Amtorg, the Soviet government bought the defunct Ansonia Clock Company of Brooklyn, New York in 1929, & the Dueber-Hampden Watch Company of Canton, Ohio. It moved twenty-eight freight cars full of machinery & parts from the U.S.A. to Moscow in order to establish the factory. Twenty-one former Dueber-Hampden watchmakers, engravers & various other technicians helped to train the Russian workers in the art of watchmaking as part of the Soviet's First Five-Year Plan. Interestingly, the movements of very-early FMWF products were still stamped "Dueber-Hampden, Canton, Ohio, U.S.A." (examples of these watches are very collectible today).
After 1934 the factory was named after the murdered Soviet official Sergei Kirov. The "?????" name was awarded after Yuri Gagarin wore a Kirov First Moscow Watch Factory "Shturmanskie" (a transliteration of ??????????? which actually means "Navigator's") wristwatch during his historic first flight into space. "Shturmanskie" means "navigation watch" & has been applied to a number of models. In Levenberg's book "Russian Watches" he states that Gagarin wore a Rodina (Motherland) 22 jewel watch made by POLJOT (First Russian Watch Factory). The accompanying photo in the book shows a time-only sweep center seconds watch.
The Soviet government authorized export of FMWF products beginning in 1959. During the Soviet era, POLJOT watches were marketed in the United Kingdom under the brand "Sekonda". Today's Sekonda company, a British distributor of ubiquitous fashion watches, has no connection to any POLJOT products.
On April 12th 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. While in space, the cosmonaut wore a "Shturmanskie" (Navigator) watch, manufactured at the First Moscow Watch Factory (1-MChZ). From 1964, the watches of the First Moscow Factory have been marked by a trademark "?????" & "POLJOT", which means "flight" in Russian & is a tribute to the number of space trips their watches have accomplished.
In the late 1970s, POLJOT launched a new chrono movement: the 3133. with a 23 jewel movement & manual winding (43 hours), it was a modified Russian version of the Swiss Valjoux 7734 of the early 70's. POLJOT 3133 were taken into space by cosmonauts from Russia, France, Germany & Ukraine. On the hand of V.V. Polyakov, a POLJOT 3133 chronograph movement-based watch set a space record for the longest space flight in history. POLJOT chronographs with the 3133 movement are available from below $200, making them one of the most interesting proposals for poor-man chronographs presently. This watch has an inner turning bezel with hours that can be used while travelling, functioning as a rudimentary GMT indication.
At the turn of the 21st century, the First Moscow Watch Factory began reproducing many of their most famous models as limited edition commemorative pieces. Replicas were made of the famous 1960s Shturmanskie model worn by Yuri Gagarin, the 1940s Kirova fliegerchronograph, & the 1970s Ocean (?????) chronograph. All of the replicas became sought-after collectibles.
In late 2003, rumors predicting the demise of the POLJOT brand circulated on the Internet. According to the rumors, the First Moscow Watch Factory was to cease producing their own models & become a source of inexpensive movements for other European watch brands. These rumors never came to fruition. Instead, the First Moscow Watch Factory scaled-down production, with some of its property & machinery sold to Company Volmax, & introduced a new, upmarket, brand, Golden POLJOT. A new team of craftsman was assembled to develop Golden POLJOT & deliver it to the domestic market in a very short time. However, no movements are currently produced by the First Moscow Watch Factory; chronograph movements are made by the firm MakTime, & non-chronograph movements are produced by Vostok Watch Makers, Inc.
In 2005-2006 Golden POLJOT become available outside Russia & the new Rossi Collection had a successful launch.
Wikipedia contributors. POLJOT. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. May 1, 2007, 03:00 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/withindex.php?title=Poljot&oldid=127329349. Accessed May 1, 2007.