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Sunday, September 21, 2008

BANG FOR BUCK PILOT CHRONOGRAPH

A good looking mechanical pilot chronograph watch for only USD300/- new? Yes, its possible if you forget the Swiss and German brands with four figure price tags and go Russian instead. Poljot is known to make lookalikes of many famous Swiss and German watches and this one looks just like Fortis' awarding winning Flieger Chronograph.

In fact, many of Poljot's Aviator series watches resemble models from Fortis' Flieger line. So much so that Fortis took Poljot to court, with the results of the lawsuit being an injunction prohibiting Poljot from selling their Aviator line of watches in Switzerland and Germany.
Of course, we are not comparing the USD300/- Poljot to the Fortis Flieger (retail USD2050/- street USD1400), but we'll just take a look at an example of what a Poljot's Aviator watch got to offer.

The watch came with a rather nice leather box. This actually varies from seller to seller and you don't always get the box, but who needs the box anyway?
The dial is very legible with a military look. The indexes are marked with arabic numbers in both hours and five minutes/seconds increments. The chronograph hands are in red, while the normal hands are in white. The size of the hands are very well balanced and suits the dial very well. In addition to being very functional, it is also very attractive. Well, who designed it in the first place? :D
The original Poljot strap (not shown) doesn't look very promising. I switched it to a Di Modell Chronissimo immediately. I feel that the Chronissimo strap enhances the look of many pilot watches and chronographs.
The crown is big enough for a handwind watch and its signed with the letter A, which probably refers to 'Aviator'. The chronograph buttons felt tactile enough even with gloved hands.
The watch is powered by the Poljot 3133 movement. The 3133 movement is based on the Swiss Valjoux 7734 movement and in fact its made with Swiss tooling. In the 1970s the Russians bought the machine and tooling over from the Swiss and made modifications to it, raising its thickness from 7mm to 7.35mm, adding 6 jewels to the original 17, and increasing the beat rate from 18000 bpm to 21600 bpm.

It is a very reliable movement that was eventually used for space flight missions. Although its rated for a power reserve of 42 hours, I am getting over 60 hours actually, which is pretty common. Accuracy is constant and very good, I am getting about +15 secs a day for this watch.

The watch came with both glass display back and steel back options. Mine came with both, here's the glass case back showing the P3133 movement; raw, unrefined, undecorated, but reliable and tough like a soldier.
With the steel case back, the water resistant is 50 meters instead of 30 meters. Oh yeah, Poljot often made 999 pieces of each model.
Lume is not something the Russian watches are good in. The application isn't very good nor consistent and the glow is weak. It also does not last long. I never had high expectations for Russian lume in the first place so I'm not really disappointed. This watch comes with white lume paint, there is another version with green lume paint, though both glows green however.
Here's a wrist shot of it on my 6.5" to 6.75" wrist. The case size is 39mm without crown, but actually wears bigger because its all dial and bezel-less. Someone with large wrists can always boost its size with a BUND strap if desired.
Here are the specs:
Case size 39mm without crown, 44mm with crown
Lug to lug 46mm
Lug size 20mm
Dial size 35mm wears big coz its all dial.
Case height (thickness) 12.5mm
Water Resistant 30meters with glass display back, 50 meters with metal case back
Mineral glass crystal
Sandblast stainless steel case with a pearly finish
In my humble opinion, this is an ideal watch for those in service. How many active servicemen wear expensive USD2000/- Swiss watches out there in the field?

Russian watch prices had been raising crazily in recent years, so I find these are really good buys before prices soar further.

Thanx for the read!

25 comments:

Striker968 said...

Wow another nice watch you have.

ANTON C said...

Thanx striker! BTW whats your handle on the watch forums?

Anonymous said...

Another beauty Anton.

Where are you getting these Russian pilots from, online or from a shop there in SG..? I know of a Russian watch shop in Millenia at Marina Bay. From my last visit to SG in November last year, I nearly walked out with 2 watches....

Thanks again for the write up & pics,
Riker...

Steve said...

Nice review. Fantastic photos!

ANTON C said...

Riker,

That would be Sugi's shop known as Red Army Watches, he deals more with new models.

I got my Russian watches online though, since I am looking for older models most of the time. My best deals for Russian watches thus far were all from WUS sales forum! :D

I also source them at a local second hand goods trader who specialise in Russian cameras and watches.

ANTON C said...

Thanx Steve!

John F. Opie said...

Hi -

Poljot Aviator I. I've got it as well, but in black PVD.

Can't be sold in Germany or Switzerland after Fortis won a court case preventing it from being sold there after an eBay seller (who shall remain nameless) sold it commercially as "just like a Fortis".

Great watch

John

aka JohnF at WUS/TZ-UK

ANTON C said...

I am honored to have you here John.

I like the black version too, it gives the watch an even more modern look to it.

Striker968 said...

What do you mean bt Handle on the watch forum? My nick or?

ANTON C said...

Yeah I mean your nick. :)

Striker968 said...

Striker968 as in sg-roc & big watch forum

Daniel Z. said...

Nice watch and nice review, Anton! It looks great on the Chronissimo!

Super pics!

Cheers! :-)

Daniel Z. aka Wycombe

ANTON C said...

Thanx Daniel!

Ed said...

Hard to beat a 3133 when it comes to bang for the buck. Great review and pics.

ANTON C said...

Thanx Eddy!

Anonymous said...

Nice watch, may I ask where did you buy it? I saw the same watch at the same price at www.russiansouvenirs.com, but people warn you not to buy your watches there.

ANTON C said...

I actually got mine pre-owned from another WIS in my country, also a regular member of WUS and PMWF.

He got it from one of the popular Russian watch webstores but I can't remember where.

I would exercise caution if there are bad feedbacks at the mentioned webstore.

I had my share of bad experiences and it wasn't pleasant, I'd rather have my money with me than to take risk.

Peter said...

Greetings! Is your Chronissimo the "short" version one?

I read from the net that the standard version is too long for 6.5" wrists..

ANTON C said...

Yes Peter, its the short version. I had the long version too, which isn't a problem when I am heavier and my wrist size grew to 7". But 6.5" definitely short version better.

Anonymous said...

Very nice watch. Been lookin for this beauty for a bit now too. Good to see you here, great blog. Im on WUS all the time.
-PeterFromSanDiego

fromhell69 said...

Respected Sir!
Beautiful the poljot was made of a clock pictures!
I am looking for this type once, where available, and for how much?
I say thank you for his help!

Anonymous said...

Respected Sir!
Beautiful the poljot was made of a clock pictures!
I am looking for this type once, where available, and for how much?
I say thank you for his help!

ANTON C said...

Oh I am sorry, I bought it from someone else sometime ago. I don't know if they are available nowadays. I suggest you ask around at watchuseek forums.

Anonymous said...

Julian at Poljot24 sells this model, even though the model isn't listed on his site:

http://www.poljot24.de/en/index.html

See this thread:

http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=298328

ANTON C said...

Thanx for the headsup!