How the watches that Putin now wears instead of Swiss ones are made

Vladimir Putin at events began to appear in a new watch

Vladimir Putin at events began to appear in a new watch

A photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN


In general, most people know the clock Imperial Peterhof Factory (IPF) for the brands “Rocket” and “Victory”. By the way, they are still being collected. The plant near St. Petersburg is the last one that makes mechanisms entirely from Russian parts. Even the springs (considered the most difficult part to manufacture) are ours. That is why the new “Rockets” in stores are an order of magnitude more expensive than all other former Soviet brands. Making your own is more expensive than buying from China.

And recently journalists noticed that Vladimir Putin at events began to appear in the new watch. And not in Swiss, as before, but Russian ones! As it turned out, the president’s hand is wearing a rare model from Peterhof, made to order. In the new watch, the head of the country was at a meeting with the leaders of the State Duma, during a trip to Tehran and beyond.


Watch factory spokesman Antonina Skurydina told the Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist more about the presidential model.

– Every watch is different. We have a configurator site where you can assemble your own model from different parameters, – Antonina explained.

The main feature: a gasket between the case and the mechanism. Usually it is made of metal and hidden under a lid. And ours figured out how to make a designer highlight out of this detail. The gasket is cut from colored stone and can be seen under glass. If you choose carnelian, the gasket will be red, dumortierite will be blue, and so on.

Judging by the photographs, Putin’s watch is made of snowy obsidian. It is almost entirely black with small white patches. And in the pictures, the presidential clock just looks completely black (well, as far as you can see them from afar).

– The case is made only of gold – but it can be the usual yellow, and white, and pink, – listed Skurydina.

Again, judging by the photo, the head of the country has a white shade of the watch case.

The dial is available in two colors: black or white. The back wall is glass so that the gears can be seen.

But the mechanisms of custom models are the same. Accuracy -5/+10 seconds per day. Automatic winding. The power reserve should be enough for 40 hours. Only three arrows – no windows for you with the date or stopwatches.

Watches of the Imperial Peterhof factory.  Almost the same as Putin's

Watches of the Imperial Peterhof factory. Almost the same as Putin’s


Well, the main question: how much can such a watch cost? At the factory, they first diplomatically answered that the price is different in each case. The client must choose, and then comes the assessment. And information about completed orders is not disclosed …

– The cost is decent, but far from exorbitant, like the Swiss, – they said at the factory, when we completely tortured them with questions.

Actually, the president should have a decent watch. By the way, many governors and officials wear models much more expensive. Putin, on the other hand, has never been seen in some kind of watch chic. Even the Swiss ones the president used to wear cost in the region of tens of thousands of dollars – not much by the standards of chronometers from Geneva.

About 40 pieces have been produced so far by special order from St. Petersburg. A new model is made when the next buyer comes.


For many years, the President wore the Swiss Blancpain Leman Aqualung Grande Date and sometimes IWC Pilot`s Watch Mark XVII. Their style, by the way, is the same as that of the new Russian ones. Moderately sized white metal case, military black dial, Arabic numerals and black strap.


The Russian leader donated his wristwatch at least twice. Moreover, both times occurred in 2009, when Putin was still prime minister.

The first time happened in Tuva. The head of the Cabinet was rafting down the Khemchik River. At one of the camps in a deserted mountainous place, he noticed a flock of sheep and a shepherd. First, Putin invited the shepherd to drink tea together. In response, he called the prime minister to visit. The shepherd, together with his son, brought a horse to Vladimir Vladimirovich. And although the shepherd spoke more Tuvan, understanding Russian poorly, he managed to find a common language. At the end of the meeting, Putin presented his Swiss Blancpains to the boy, and to the shepherd – a personal hunting knife.

The second time was in Tula. Locksmith of the instrument design bureau Viktor Zagaevsky unexpectedly asked: “I have two sons, defenders of the motherland. Give me a watch as a keepsake! Such a request surprised Putin, but he did not refuse – he took off the same Blancpain from his hand as presented to the Tuvan boy.


By the way, the Imperial Peterhof Factory, and earlier the Petrodvorets Factory, is the oldest watch manufacture in the country. It was opened in 1721 by the decision of Peter the Great.

The enterprise was very lucky at the end of the 2000s – it was bought by French and Russian investors. Only this saved the business from complete ruin. The merchants invested 5 million euros in production and lured one of the leaders of Rolex to the factory.

Most of all, the ex-head of the board of directors, Jacques Pollier, believed in the future of Raekt watches. He was sure that the fashion for the brand could be revived due to its history.

– If you want to have just an accurate watch, buy yourself a smartphone. Now wristwatches are most taken for their history and the image with which they are associated. For foreigners, Russian watches are space, nuclear submarines, polar expeditions, rockets. Few companies can boast that their chronometers have traveled beyond the boundaries of the Earth. But almost all Soviet cosmonauts flew with watches made in the USSR. “Omega” still reminds in advertising that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in their watch, – the former head of the Peterhof factory told the Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist Jacques Polier.

The plan of the French businessman was justified. We, of course, do not know why Putin chose the watches of this particular factory, but perhaps just because of its history and the fact that the company has retained its own production.


By replacing his Swiss watch with ours, Vladimir Putin found himself quite in the global trend. Russia – completely unexpectedly for itself – in recent years has become one of the main watch powers in the world. Absolutely seriously, without humor or irony, foreigners are chasing models with the inscription “Made in Russia” on the dial.

Take the statistics of the largest watch forum on the Internet: In the first place is a discussion of simply affordable watches, in the second – diving models. And on the third line by the number of posts are … “Russian watches”! 412 thousand comments and 68 million views. Further, with a margin, Chinese (164 thousand comments) and German (135 thousand). There are also Swiss ones, but they are discussed separately by brand.

There are almost 20 thousand ads on eBay with Russian or supposedly Russian watches.


Now allegedly 100% Russian watch companies are appearing abroad. In the US, chronometers are sold under the Zavtra brand (by the way, for $300!). The manufacturer writes that he has a 70-year history. Allegedly, these watches are well known in Russia, but they did not get to the West because of the Cold War … None of our online stores have Zavtra watches. But the network writes that the brand belongs to a Chinese entrepreneur.

The Lithuanian company “Vostok Europe” sells in the European Union, as it were, Russian watches. The design of many models is copied from Vostok command watches.

“The production of each model is timed to coincide with some achievement or event in the history of Russia,” says the Vostok Europe website. Chronometers dedicated to the TU-144 aircraft, the Soviet lunar rover, the Leninsky Komsomol nuclear submarine, and so on, go to the West.

Jacques Polier complained that more than half of Russian watches sold in the West (not some kind of “Zavtra”, but normal “Rockets” or “Vostoks”) are an ordinary fake.

More domestic chronometers are made in China than in Russia itself! It is easy to find an explanation: watch production has dipped in our country for 30 years, and the demand for products abroad is only growing. This is what Asian businessmen use.


Gagarin flew in a Salyut navigator’s watch, Leonov was the first to go into space with a Strela watch, then Raketa made a mechanical watch for 24 hours for our cosmonauts. And since 1994, the Swiss “Fortis” have become the official chronometers of Roscosmos and the Cosmonaut Training Center … But maybe now this will change? Since Putin himself chose the domestic model. Yes, even with such a cosmic name.

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