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The 8 Best Sturmanskie Russian Watches (Watches Worn in Space by Cosmonauts)

by Victoria S on

Watches are considered luxury accessories for people of both sexes (and make you stand out) and many are ready to drop thousands of dollars to underline their status in society. The most famous and luxury watches are made in Switzerland, Belgium or Germany, yet people had forgotten about the fact that a lot of quality had been created in the USSR and soviet watches are not an exception. Their story is not of gloss but mostly of glory. Russians created a special and unique device – “Shturmanskie watches” (rus. штурманские часы).

They could meet fire and see the rain, in this case they were even worthy to accompany the voyages into Space. It was a symbol of patriotism for some and a memory of the global events that took place in the last century. Every model was inspired by a special occasion or an achievement of the whole nation that took place in the USSR. Today, looking at these watches we understand what historical and aesthetic value carries the design of these watches.

Its wide distribution started during the First World War, when watches became a part of the necessary equipment of officers .

The History of Russian watch brands

History of Russian watch brands date back to 1935, when Moscow’s 1st Watch Factory created their first “Shturmanskie watches” (translation: Navigators) with stopwatch. It is the most sophisticated mechanism, which nowadays still being produced only by Russia and Switzerland. Later this brand of watches had established itself as the most reliable and accurate domestic chronograph.
In 1949 a wristwatch of this model was issued by the Airforce as a special order and was unavailable for sale to civilians. These soviet watches were awarded along with diplomas by graduates of military flight and navigational schools. Also, after finishing military service or in the case of being discharged, a special commity decided if the man deserved to keep it as a memory or if they had to give their watches back.


As it was mentioned in the beginning, this was the first watch that had the honor of being worn into space together with Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961 when all of humanity entered a new era, space era. Currently, fans of the Russian watch brand have an opportunity to touch the history and purchase a unique model of "Shturmanskie", which exactly repeats the watch that Yuri Gagarin wore on that April day.
This situation was a trigger for manufactures of the whole world to improve development of watch industry.
Right after this momentous occasion 1
st Moscow’s Watch Factory gained the name of “Poliot” (translion: a flight).

Space Pioneers

Later analog watches “Space Pioneers” accompanied Alexei Leonov and Pavel Belyaev (co-pilot) on the Voskhod-2 spacecraft on March 18, 1965. During this flight, Leonov made the first spacewalk in the history of astronautics which lasted for 12 minutes and 9 seconds.
Leonov's mission was accompanied by a navigator's "Shturmanskie" wristwatch when on the wrist of his co-pilot was a bit of a different model. This spacewalk gave rise to creation of the “open space” collection in honor of the ship’s commander Pavel Belyaev. The open space model had been modified more than once. A modern interpretation of the design of those watches is embodied in the "Space Pioneers" series.

Let's not forget that these chronographs were unavailable for sale, they were intended only for the highest command personnel of the USSR Airforce.
Then due to the increased demand for the things connected to the space, watch factories diversified their product line and started to create a model which would serve the female part of society.
To understand how much people were proud of space trips made by USSR, in every city of soviets’ area was a street or a boulevard of Yuri Gagarin who became national hero of that time, even in the 70s, Yuri became the most popular name among newborn boys. As the cosmos became popularized among people of different ages and sexes, inspired women started to visit the solar system. Everyone knows Valentina Tereshkova; she was the first woman who flew into the cosmos and a Shturmanskie watch accompanied her on this momentous trip.

Sturman’s Galaxy 

Sturman’s Galaxy was a line developed for women, who are in love with space travel and “Poliot” released separate series: charming Galaxy models with stars on the clock face and the original women’s watch Mars. The time indication of second one is made by means of a rotating disc.

Shturmanskie Satelite

One more model of mens’ watches dedicated to space thematic is "Shturmanskie Satelite” have to thanks its appearing to the Sputnik-1, the first artificial Earth satellite that was launched into orbit in the USSR on October 4, 1957. The launch was carried out from the 5th research site of the USSR Ministry of Defense "Tyura-Tam"" (later named "Baikonur Cosmodrome"), by means of the "Sputnik" launched vehicle (R-7). The launch date is considered the beginning of the space age of humanity.

Shturmanskie Sputnik

In honor of the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite, the "Sputnik" which means "Satellite" watch series was released. The main feature and the main original detail of the watch is the dial with the image of the globe - around which a special disk rotates. It is symbolizing the satellite that replaces the second hand.

Shturmanskie Traveler

Next product of soviet watches manufacture is “Shturmanskie Traveler” which is a continuation of the line of aviation products that were produced in limited quantities for officers of the USSR Air Force since 1949. The Traveler line has a built-in quartz chronograph. At the same time, the accessory is equipped with mineral glass, which is highly durable.

Shturmanskie Ocean

Later, when space was conquered by watch manufactures, a new direction was chosen - The Ocean.
That is why the next generation of development chronographs was the creation of a diving watch, which today, thanks to its functionality and tough lconic appearance, is already a legend loved by many.

Shturmanskie North Pole - The "Arctic" 

Shturmanskie North Pole - The "Arctic" navigator watch is dedicated to the first expedition to the North Pole. Then they were worn exclusively by people who participated in the expedition. Today, these products are produced under the same name.

Nowadays, it is hard to imagine navigational work without accurate time. Aviation forth needs ultra-precise mechanisms, which are not afraid of overloads and chronographs that can measure time intervals automatically. The unique domestically produced mechanism of the "Shturman’s watches” allows the crew members to synchronize the readings of the chronographs in advance. During the flight, especially in large groups of aircraft, it helps to precisely perform coordinated joint actions. Now, for many aviation enthusiasts, only a desire is enough to become the owners of real "Shturmanskie watches”.
Time flies and when the demand for Switzerland watches grows every year, and the same can be said for their Soviet counterparts, albeit, due to lower supply.

In 2000, the “Volmax'' company began to produce watches under the legendary Shturmanskie brand. A factory started to produce a limited edition model which consisted of a maximum amount of 1000 pieces. All of them are assembled by hand and undergo strict quality control. 

During all these years thousands of companies created an almost uncountable amounts of wristwatches as for civilians as well as for military service members but eventually there are some masterpieces which are legendary.
Shturmanskie, released by the Russian watches brand, definitely, are watches with an interesting history. Taking a look at its long path to become a kind of luxury watch brand. It is visible that not only a price with X number of zeros make a timepiece prestigious but the history of creating and situation that them had to be timed at, makes us understand that History worth more than all treasures in the world. And that is why “Shturmanskie” K-43 is priceless, this particular model is inscribed in the history of the humanity for ages, thanks to flying into the space on the wrist of Yuri Gagarin. Soviet watches faithfully served to the soldiers on the ground, under the water and over the clouds.

A lot of families treat a memory in the shape of victory watches in their families. They are a legacy which is given from generation to generation, from father to the son as a symbol of glory in the old days. World fame history of the brand, peoples’ interest in the world and soviet “space” history in particular, high quality and unique collection models made Shturmanskie watches widely well-known abroad: in Germany, Great Britain, Portugal, Japan and the CIS states. These watches mean a lot for collectors because some old models are unique and inimitable in their way.

You can purchase Shturmanskie watches in our store

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