Back in the late 19th and early 20th century, a lot of enthusiastic Russian watchmakers dreamed of creating a national watch industry. Vladimir Pruss, a watchmaker and revolutionary, contributed to its formation and development the most. In 1905 he emigrated to Switzerland, where he studied watchmaking operating principles at Swiss precision mechanics plants for many years and became a highly qualified specialist. Pruss worked out a detailed project on the development of watchmaking in Russia, which was approved at the highest level.
Thanks to his efforts and the efforts of such enthusiasts, a resolution "On watchmaking establishment in the USSR" was adopted on December 20th, 1927, and marked the beginning of the Soviet watch industry.
The Kirov First State Watch Factory, which was opened in 1930 and made high-precision watches, became the industry flagship.
Almost immediately after the beginning of World War II, the factory was evacuated to the rear, the Ural town of Zlatoust, and renamed the Zlatoust Watch Factory – the country's leaders understood the importance of the production of precision mechanics equipment for the battlefield and tried to keep the equipment as well as the specialists.
A new stage, and the most famous one, in the history of the legendary ZWF started on December 25th, 1941, when the first batch of produce at the new location was released.
During the war the factory worked to meet war needs, producing marine chronometers, aerochronometers, watches for the commanders of the Red Army. Almost all military hardware, including planes, tanks, ships and submarines, was equipped with Zlatoust clocks.
The Zlatoust Watch Factory still preserves all the traditions of unique manual, high-precision operations, having managed to retain them throughout the time and being one of the two full scale watch factories left in Russia.
Today the ZWF has resumed the production of its famous war and postwar watches, retro watches, collectable and masculine pieces which are still highly valued by specialists and, being a symbol of masculinity, look great on men’s wrists and deserve to be a highlight of any collection.
During World War II, the Red Army commanders were given meritorious award watches made by the Zlatoust Watch Factory. Those watches were initially produced as pocket ones, but officers upgraded them: strap lugs were welded on to the dial of the watch so that it could be worn on the wrist, which was much more convenient in the field.To celebrate another anniversary of the Great Victory, the ZWF launched the production of collectable watches styled and designed after those of war years. They are completely identical to the watches shining on the wrists of Soviet soldiers-liberators of the 1940s. The watches have brass chrome-plated case and are hand-assembled. Every part of the watches, including the smallest screws, is made in Russia. They rightly received the proud name of Victory watches and will adorn your collection.
The most inquisitive minds had been trying to understand how to make watch movements water- and moisture-proof since the end of the 17th century. And the craftsmen of the 20th century managed to do that: various chronometers for divers, sea and river vessels were developed and their mass-production was launched.
But one type of watches particularly stood out from all the rest – dive watches that were produced at the Zlatoust Watch Factory by the order of the Soviet Navy. In the 1950-60s these legendary watches were constant companions of almost every Soviet Navy diver. These watches are unique! They are now still among the biggest watches in the world, having the diameter of 60 mm (not including a crown and lugs) and weighing about 250 grams.
The watches are water- and shock-proof, their stainless steel cases stood the most severe tests and over 100-meter-submersion. Previously, radioactive materials were used in the well-known luminous watch dials.
In the early 1970s, the production of dive watches was discontinued, but the legend lived on.
And their ever-lasting popularity gave the Zlatoust legend the second chance – the dive watch production was resumed. Even the luminous dial was reproduced! However, all the radioactive materials are removed and replaced with safe ones in today’s watches.