One might not think about Swiss quality, while thinking about Russian-made watches, but those people might be wrong. Known for their quality and solid design, even during the Soviet era, Russian-made watches were heavily influenced by the famous Swiss masters.
Those, who admire Swiss quality, might name the famous Russian watchmaker Pavel Bure as such an example. A son of the Russian watchmaker Karl Buhre, Russian businessman of German descent Pavel bought the watchmaking factory in 1874 in Swiss city of Le Locle, selling it’s later on to Swiss watchmakers. They have kept his name and brand intact, selling Pavel or Paul Buhre watches in Russian Empire. His company was one of the first watch-making companies in Europe.
The business stopped due to the Bolshevik revolution, but memories about the brand were remembered in the country. Even Soviet leader Joseph Stalin kept a pair of Buhre watches in his Office.
In the 1990-ties, Pavel Buhre’s name became a dear one for Russians who worshiped the famous NHL Russian-born hockey of the same name. Interestingly enough, Bure, who was a grand-grandson has even produced a limited number of watches himself, giving them as presents to the late President Boris Yeltisin and other Russian leaders.
But an attempt to bring Swiss quality watches into the Soviet military machine in 1930-ties turned to be more successful as the local government started to buy Chronoflite watches from Jaeger LeCoultre to install them at Soviet military planes. The Soviets liked those watches so much that they even started to import them.
Although traditions of the Swiss-influenced Russian watchmaking were hard to repeat under the Iron Curtain, many famous Soviet watches took their inspiration from Swiss ones. Among the most famous examples was the Polyot 3133 chronograph made by the First Moscow Watch Factory, based on a Valjoux 7731 caliber model.
The other Swiss-inspired model was the Zenith caliber 135 produced by the local Chistopolsky factory and named Volna (the Wave). The Soviets even improved the Swiss design and added 3 additonal jewels into the 22-jewel movement.
All of those stories just say on how close the world of watchmaking was even when we all lived in the divided world. Today when the world became global and the time is running fast, no one has to think twice to start investing in Switzerland, the world capital of watchmaking.
Many people worship Swiss watches, but there have been Great Russian watchmakers influenced by Swiss watchmakers and vice versa. Famous Russian watch designers such as Pavel Bure the grand-grandfather of Pavel Bure, the famous hockey player was one of them.
Just another great example how Swiss manufacturing has a global reach.
Fantastastic Switzerland Association