Other Factories that Produced the Type-1

​2nd State Watch Factory (2GCHZ)

In 1928 Tochmekh absorbed the troubled Moscow Electro Mechanical Plant (MÈMZ) which was housed in a renovated three-story stone building at Tverskoy Zastavy, Moscow.

 

With the establishment of the 1GCHZ in 1930 this institution now needed to become known as the 2GCHZ, second only because of the timing not because it was the second oldest. Indeed, Tochmekh still operated from there until it’s demise a few years later.

 

As the 1GCHZ embarked upon the production of pocket watches, so the 2GCHZ set about utilising the Ansonia clock making equipment also sourced from the USA.

 

On April 21st 1935 a decision was made by the Council of Labor and Defence that instructed the 2GCHZ to also assemble pocket watches from parts made at the 1GCHZ. Production continued up to the start of the Great Patriotic War (WWII). During this time the manufacturing of parts was started at the 2GCHZ and differences in patterns became discernible. From the first days of 1941 the work of 2GCHZ was placed on a war footing. They discontinued alarm clocks, clocks and greatly reduced the release of pocket watches, at the same time significantly increasing the number of military orders (timers and fuses). Many workers were called upon to join the army, about 200 people joined the national militia, formed in the Leningrad region of Moscow. Their places are taken by women and young people. The working day was increased to 12 hours. Despite the growing alarm inside Moscow, the resolution of the Council concerning the evacuation the factory to Chistopol (dated 15th October 1941. No.180) was a surprise for the plants management.

 

After the factory returned to full production it is doubtful Type-1 equipment was returned from Chistopol as the now 2GCHZ would begin to produce watches based on the Lip designs. Watches made at this factory would become branded as Slava (Слава) meaning Glory.

The Zlatoust (or Slatoustowsky). Factory 834.

Due to the military situation in Moscow work stopped at 1GCHZ on the 22nd of October. An order of the People’s Commissariat of General Engineering of the USSR ordered plant director Ivan Bocharov to evacuate to Zlatoust a city beyond the Ural mountains. This was by no means unusual, in all around 1500 factories were moved, in over 1800 trains, to safety behind the Ural’s.

November 26. People’s Commissariat of General Engineering of the USSR transformed into the People’s Commissariat Mortar Weapons of the USSR.

 

By November 28 the complete evacuation of 1GCHZ Kirov, was underway. It removed 1260 pieces of equipment, a significant amount of basic and auxiliary materials, other production assets and inventory. Together with the equipment 296 technicians and watchmakers were evacuated. On November 30th. there was a farewell performance at the Drama Theatre of Alexander Griboyedov’s comedy “Woe from Wit”.

 

Despite the difficult operating environment, the factory now produced more than 300 thousand watches and more than 14 million parts for ammunition timers. Zlatoustsky clocks (with pocket watch movements) were fitted to 92% of Soviet tanks and 98% of the aircraft during the war.

 

After the war, the plant switched to production of products for civilian use; including pocket watches, special watches for the blind, car clocks, time switches for washing machines, odometers (instrument for measuring curves).

 

Examples of timepieces made during the first period are indistinguishable from Moscow made models of 1940-41. Zlatoust operated as 1GCHZ - Kirov (logo 1ГЧЗ) including the continued use of factory stampings and logo’s; cosmetic considerations not being a priority during those days. The earliest pocket watch I’ve seen with the familiar Zlatoust mark, of ЗЧЗ inside it’s pyramid, is 1951.

By 1943 the Red Army was on the offensive and the Moscow factory was re-established and re-equipped. It did not revert to Type-1 production. The return to production coincided with the time ‘State’ was replaced in the title with ‘Moscow’, thus becoming the ‘First Moscow Watch Factory - Kirov (logo 1МЧЗ or 1MCHZ in English). The proliferation of factories that occurred when the Zlatoust and Chistopol units were established during WWII may well have prompted the need for a name change. In the excellent ‘Russian Times’ web site you can find a chronological series of movement logo’s with ‘State’ still being referred to in 1942 but by 1945 they have become “Moscow”. In addition, I have a document from 1942 which orders aircraft clocks from 1GCHZ (then in Zlatoust).

To date no documented proof of the name change is readily available, perhaps one day one will surface. What is for sure is that a number of cataloged watches, said to be First Moscow, all have First State logo’s and I think that speaks for itself. The Zlatoust factory was responsible for manufacturing Agat Stopwatches and these had their own movement stamp. This stamp can also be seen on later Type-1 movements. The Agat name lived on and still today markets watches (including a good replica’s of the Soviet Navy Divers - Vodolaz).

 

Directors at Zlatoust.

• 1941 - 1948 Ivan Bocharov. 

• 1948 - 1954 Nikolay Gurevich (director Chelyabinsk 54-69). 

• 1954 - 1961 Alexey V. Kazantsev. 

• 1961 - 1967 Boris Potapov 

• 1967 - 1968 Boris Prokopevich Klimov 

• 1968 - 2000 Anatoly I. Goncharenko

Chistopol (Tschistopolsky). Factory 835.

Once again the majority of this information has been derived from the Slava (Second State Watch Factory) site history.


On October 20, 1941, there began the evacuation of 2GCHZ to Chistopol, a small town on the river Kama, in the Republic of Tatarstan. 170 trucks evacuated equipment and property, alongside 488 people, of whom 128 were engineers and technicians. Much of the equipment got held up in the midway town of Kazan when the river Kama froze and the marina was locked up. What did get through was also delayed in Chistopol until the local government managed to accommodated the factory in an old distillery. This, however, accounted for only 25% of the required space. Nevertheless, in early 1942, it began production of magnetic fuzes.

The factory was given the number 835 and indeed did not exclusively become a factory making watches until after the end of the war.


By the spring of 1942 the rest of the equipment has been moved from Kazan and in June it is reasonable to assume that the plant was fully operational. In addition to purely military production, there was full-scale production of watches caliber Type-1. During 1941-42 local people were trained in various specialties for the factory.  Immediately after the threat of the German forces was removed from Moscow, 2GCHZ began to revive and re-employ the skilled workers that had remained in the Moscow region. The Director of the restored factory was Sergey Tarasov and later V. I. Sergeyevich. After the war ended most of the Type-1 equipment remained in Chistopol. The factory brand would eventually be known as Vostok (Boctok). In reality there was a whole raft of other work going on behind the Vostok doors.

 

Much of this was electronics research and manufacture for the USSR military. With the break-up of the Soviet Union watch stocks were used as payment to some of the sub-contractors. One such supplier was a Lithuanian research institute which sold the watches on the local streets to pay the wages of their employees. This same institute later became Vostok-Europe which perpetuates the brand today. 

There is a comprehensive and well written article about the establishment of the factory in Chistopol by Miguel Angel Cladera.

Type-1 movements will be stamped with the factories identification mark/logo. 

A. 1GCHZ. 1936 - 1938 (Before 1936 there was no stamp. 2GCHZ started in 1936).

B. 1GCHZ. 1938 - 1940

C. 1GCHZ. 1940 - 1941 (The factory was evacuated to Zlatoust).

D. 2GCHZ. 1936 - 1937

E. 2GCHZ. 1938 - 1939

F. 2GCHZ. 1940 - 1941 (The factory was evacuated to Chistopol & Factory 53).

G. Factory 53. 1942 - 1946 (A satellite 2GCHZ Moscow factory during the war).

H. Chisopol. 1942 - ? (Probably the end of the war or just after).

I. Zlatoust. 1941 - ? (Last know Type-1 around 1958)

J. Zlatoust. Dates unknown. Used on stopwatches (not Type-1) and Vodolaz 191-ChS.

    Above: Type-1 movement family from the various factories

    Above: The Type-1 is a hardy movement, this has been crudely altered.

Artels

 

During the 1920’s the range of articles produced by Artel co-operatives was very extensive; they produced not only consumer goods but also factory equipment, tractor parts and precision instruments. The 1930’s saw a change towards confining Artel production primarily to consumer goods. This curtailment allowed the highly centralised ‘Command Economy’ to replace co-operative production.

 

In the transition period after the 1st and 2nd State Watch Factories started-up, Artels, that had been the main stay of pre-1930 watch repair and maintenance, were still in existence. The two better recorded Artel’s in Moscow were ABB, abbreviation of Артель Верное Время (Artel Right Time) and ТМП, abbreviation of Трест Местной Промышленности (Trust of Local Industry). According to their own history the Artel Right Time, ABB, was situated at “Arbat House 5.” and were primarily responsible for repairing foreign watches and were staffed by master watchmakers. Both were responsible for the assembly of early Type-1 modified chronograph stopwatches, like my single button example top right. Let me paraphrase Mark Gordon’s description... “Engineers added an additional stage to a standard Type-1 pocket watch movement. With a start/stop/reset button at ‘11’. Note that the Chronograph sub-dial counts elapsed minutes in an anticlockwise direction. This was probably done to minimise the number of gears that needed to be added; additional gears would have increased the thickness of the watch.” 

 

It is possible that Artels were encouraged initially to utilise the stock of imported Hampden parts to produce the cataloged Type-2, 3 & 4 watches, in some quantities. 


PKK (РПК), another Artel, but possibly one that was hastily organised at the start of the Great Patriotic War rather than one in the accepted sense of the Artel movement. Type-1 watches were produced/finished off/assembled in Pushkino a town located at the confluence of the Ucha and Serebryanka rivers, 30 kilometres northeast of Moscow. Surviving examples are uncommon.

Smaller, possibly unofficial, wokshops or watchmakers were more likely to have produced modified Type-1 movements, almost to order. Like the undocumented rare examples that crop-up for sale on the internet, from where the lower right images were taken. Example ‘A’ is a Type-1 movement that has been modified, and rebridged, in a crude way to fit it’s case. The original stamps have been ground down and re-engraved by hand. The illustration shows how it originated from a

superimposed Type-1 movement. The lower version on the right just reinforces the view that these models were one-off’s. It has no visible markings on the movement but this time the case appears to be a little larger allowing both bridges to remain. The example lower left has retained both it’s bridges and it’s factory stamp. More likely to be the work of an individual watchmakers, I have included them as they illustrate the robustness of the movement.

The eventual fate of the watchmaking Artels is elusive but as a child of Lenin’s ‘State Capitalism’ policy they may have struggled to survive Stalin’s ‘Collectivisation’ period which extended up to the start of the Great Patriotic War.

The Type-17 ‘Brick’.

Still on the subject of Artels, the first watch thought to have be wholly designed and manufactured in the USSR was designated the Type-17 and it is the rarest watch I own. It’s not clear if the Type-17 ends as seventeen or in effect Type-1 version 7. If it is the former then it means there are 13 unknown types, between the Type-4 and the Type-17. 

 

Mark Gordon catalogues three, which he refers to as “Type-17, Type-1 modified” and says there were often known as ‘Boys Watches’. I have also seen them referred to on Russian speaking forums as ‘Bricks’. It is possible that this model was assembled in an Artel with the machined parts and components coming from the factory (one of the dials above is marked ТМП (Trust of Local Industry). However as many Type-17’s are stamped 1941 there is also a compelling argument for saying that these watches were indeed factory made, as the Artels were under great threat during that period.

    Above: The Type-17 "Brick". Debate still goes on as to the chances the one on the left was made at 1GCHZ. Most likely it was finished in an Artel. The dials show various demarkations.

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