The whole genre of Soviet horology is truly enormous and its origins are a crucial chapter in it. My story centres around these origins and about the contribution the staff, tools & designs of the Dueber- Hampden Watch Works of Canton, Ohio, USA, made and in turn the USSR’s role in perpetuating Hampden’s watchmaking heritage and legacy.
I started to investigate the fate of the Canton factory around 2006 and found scant information. What details there were often proved to be wrong and in many cases very misleading.
The subject of the USSR still produces stereotypical views in many westerners’ minds and a defensive one in the old Soviet countries. Neither of these standpoints are helpful when delving into past events.
Much of the content is previously unpublished but I also draw on snippets of information gleaned from familiar sources. Where the latter is the case I have tried not to transpose the narrative simply to disguise it.
Unless and until definitive documentation surfaces from Russian sources the subject of early Soviet watch production will remain vague and subject to much speculation and opinion.
Significant world events happen in the decades this story spans - from the Great Depression, through Stalin’s purges, on to WWII (Great Patriotic War) and the Cold War. The content does not set out to condone or condemn, it is simply a story about watches and people.
The links above are pages within this chapter that have been tailored for those interested in the direct Hampden or Canton connection. A full PDF copy of the book is also available to download.