In 1997, I bought a new Russian "ship's watch" for my collection. According to Juri Levenberg's book Russian Wristwatches, this clock, Model 5-24M, was made at the Wostok Watch Factory in Chistopol, Tatarstan, about 500 miles east of Moscow. It has a painted metal dial that says "Komandirskie" and "Made is USSR." During the 1960's and 70's, commander watches could only be bought in stores reserved for officers. I was curious and the price was attractive, so I bought one. I assumed that, for this price, something had to be wrong with it!
16 November 1999: a friend bought two of these clocks and brought them over to show them to me. These clocks have steel plates with brass bushings inserted into them. There are several other details I noticed in these clocks that were different, most notably that the construction was not as good. The only positive change was that these newer clocks had been lubricated, whereas the clocks I bought in 1997 were dry. I do not like these new clocks with the steel plates and cannot recommend them. The ones with the brass plates were not wonderful, but they were considerably better than the ones with the steel plates, I am sorry to say. Caveat emptor.
Below are photos of a hand-made chronometer by Poljot, circa 1996. This clock was sent from Worcester, MA. I did not fully disassemble this clock since it only needed minor repairs. The brass parts appear to be gold plated. The mechanism has a fusée with chain and a wind indicator on the dial. It has 15 jewels and a chronometer detent escapement. It has a compensation balance and a palladium helical hairspring. The fit and finish of all parts are very good (unlike the Russian Submarine Clock) and the clock keeps excellent time. While this clock was very well made (extraordinary effort was obviously invested in its creation), collectors should be cautious because they will find it difficult (if not impossible) to find replacement parts.
"Without time there is chaos. Time links cartography, physics, math, astronomy, navigation, art and military history."
New York Times
Few clocks demonstrate these links better than marine chronometers.