Vostok (Russian: Восток, meaning East) Watch Makers, Inc. produces mainly inexpensive, rugged military and diver mechanical watches at its factory in Chistopol, Tatarstan, Russia. It also makes clocks and watch movements for other watch brands. Most Vostok watches range in price from US$35-85.
The Vostok Company was founded in 1942 when one of the Moscow watch-making plants of the First Moscow Watch Factory was evacuated to Chistopol, a small town located on the Kama River in Tatarstan. Only defense equipment was produced during the war years, but as soon as the war was over the company started making mechanical wrist watches. However, the Company did not begin using the "Vostok" brand name until the 1960s. The company was appointed an official supplier of watches for the Defense Department of the Soviet Union in 1965. This year also marks the creation of the well known Komandirskie ("Commander's") watch. The experience gained through development of the army watch led to the Amphibia, a stainless-steel watch able to withstand a 200 meter depth. By 1980, Vostok Watch Makers was producing 4.5 million timepieces per year.
Watches issued to the military were marked "ЗАКАЗ МО СССР," meaning "By Order of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR." These models were subject to rigorous quality control and sold exclusively through Voentorg stores, which catered to military personnel with identification only. (Today, these models have become sought-after collectibles.)
At turn of the 21st century, Vostok launched a line of 1940s-style replicas called the Kirovskie K-43 collection. Vostok also began producing a "luxury" line of watches called Kremlevskie. Both lines are made of stainless steel, produced in limited quantities, and aimed toward a more affluent consumer.
In 2006, Vostok Watch Makers began marketing another new line of watches branded "Amfibia." This brand, like most other Vostok products, features the familiar 31-jewel automatic (No. 2416) movement. These watches feature "diver" styling with polyurethane or stainless steel bands. The high-quality finish and packaging of these watches drive their retail price to US$150-200.
An updated version of the Komandirskie debuted in summer, 2007, and a special anniversary edition of the Amphibia (called the "1967") appeared in early 2008. Both of these models feature high-quality assembly, materials, and packaging, reflected in a higher price: USD$150-175 for the Komandirskie, and USD$225-290 for the Amphibia.
The "classic" models of the Komandirskie and Amphibia remain in production as of Spring, 2008.
1943, Release of K-43 men's watch, and instrument production is begun. The machine-tool construction for watch manufacture is organized.
1949, Serial release of a K-26 "Pobeda" man's watch, wall-mounted ship clocks with a luminous dial, clocks for a/m "ZiM", "Volga", "Pobeda", wall-mounted and street industrial clocks are begun.
1950, The factory has started construction of own industrial buildings.
1952, The factory released of "Kama" shock-proof watches in water-proof case, clock devices for various branches of a national economy.
1957, Release of precision watches: K-28 "East", "Mir", "Volna", "Saturn", "Cosmos" with lateral and central second hands, a lens and shock-proof movement is mastered. Export of Chisopol watches has increased 7 times.
1962, Chistopol Watch Factory is awarded the gold medal of the Leipzig international fair; Komandirskie watches are developed and manufacturing begins; Chistopol watch factory became the official supplier of these watches to the Ministry of Defence of the USSR.
1968, Release of Amphibian" watch; Since 1969, all watches are manufactired under the "Vostok" trademark, and the Chistopol Watch Factory is now referred to as "Vostok Watch Factory"
1972, Release of a new 24 calibres man's watch with a numerical calendar, a double calendar, and an automatic movement; Watches are exported to 54 countries of the world.
1976, Cosmonaut G. Grechko presents the "Vostok" watch which has visited space to the Factory.
1980, This year the factory manufactures 4.5 million pieces; All production is deemed the "first" and "supreme" categories of quality.
1986, Release of water-meters, tahografov accustoms, release of manometers are begun. The factory passes in the Ministry of the radioindustry. Chistopol faculty “Vostok” of Kazan Aircraft University is opened.
1989, The factory passes to self-financing, in 1990 - on rent. The assortment of watches is annually updated on 70%, release of watches with custom-made symbolics is mastered. Export of watches increases.
1992, The factory passes under jurisdiction of Republic Tatarstan and becomes an Open Joint Stock company. The majority of watches are exported to Italy, USA, Switzerland. In USA the greatest popularity was received with "Desert storm" watch.
2000, Vostok Watch Makers Inc. is the leader of the domestic watch and clock industry on volumes of release and sales of men's watches. Release of the female watches, an expensive, prestigious man's watch, and a a quartz alarm clock are begun.
2001, The factory became the owner of "The Russian National Olympus” the prestigious premium in a nomination "To Technology. A science" and the winner of "The Russian organization of high social efficiency" competition in a branch nomination.
2004, The company "Koliz Vostok Co. Ltd" was founded as a joint venture between the Russian movement- and watch-maker "Vostok Watch Maker Inc." and the Lithuanian enterprise "Koliz Ltd." offers the world market a new generation of automatic watches based on the traditional Russian watch-making technology and new designs from Lithuania. The first collection of the new watch brand Vostok Europe was introduced at Basel, Switzerland.
2006, "Amfibia" brand, featuring modern-style diver watches, launched.
2007, Updated Komandirskie debuts to public.