Molnija production figures?

topspin

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Hi - Just wondering whether any estimate exists for the number of Molnija 3602s that were produced down the years? (With or without splitting it up into how many finished up branded "Molnija" and how many finished up carrying other brands.)

Judging by the sheer number of them that are always widely offered for sale I would put the figure in the tens of millions, however with only 6-digit serial numbers to look at it's hard to say what was produced & when...

Thanks!
 

RON in PA

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I suspect the only one who might have this information would be the manufacturer and that's assuming they kept records as well as the American pocket watch companies. Shame they stopped manufacture, some very interesting designs. I have a few myself.
 

RON in PA

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Most interesting, I think that's a matter of personal choice. The movements are just basic pocket watch movements of originally Swiss Cortebert design. The very early production movements were nicely finished, later ones are rather crude in finish, but function well. I only have a few late production models, the most interesting is from the World's Religions collection. It's based on Jewish themes and since Hebrew is written right to left the watch is wound counter clockwise and runs counter clockwise. I got it the last year of production and the movement is really poorly finished. If memory serves there is a web page run by a collector that has lots of info, check Google.
 

topspin

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The hybrid battery-mechanical ones are quite interesting, as are the musical ones. The first one you buy will always be a favourite so make it a good one - possibly one of the new-old-stock "still in its box with its original paperwork" that are still available.
Like Ron says, the early movements look nicer, with their simple stripey damaskeen pattern, although conversely the dials & cases were generally a lot less pretty early on.
 

Jerry Freedman

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A number of years ago I was in Odessa. That was when the Soviet Union was using Dollar Stores to earn currencies other than the ruble. I bought a Molnija hunter for eleven dollars, which was the price for every watch in the store. It still is a very good timekeeper, but is it a collectible?

Jerry Freedman
 

pmwas

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Firstly - there were many versions of cal 36xx made by two makers.

2nd Moscow Watch factory made them since 1946 (46-47 pieces are scarce and desirable) to circa 1955-1960

15 jewel version - Salut and Molnija brands
17 jewel version - Iskra brand - with Breguet hairspring (notice the balance assembly is often a Molnija replacement in those)
Chronograph version (also desirable)

Chelyabinsk plant made them since 1949 or 1950, up to 2007 (or so):
15 jewel Molnija branded version
18 jewel Molnija branded version (Breguet spring)
18 jewel with micrometer regulator (Kristall and - I think - Luch brands)
3603 with shock absorber in late molnija watches
3608 with indirect drive center second in crappy Ural wristwatches.

After transformation, until it's bankrupcy ChChZ would supply 3602 and 3603 movt's to other Russian watch makers.

The movements were finished in two (early and late) styles of Geneva stripes and later had plain nickel finish (down to some unfinished brass crappy ones in 1990s)

Uncountable amounts were made ;)

I think it's all..
 

Jerry Freedman

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I have the box and papers that came with the watch . It is a 18 rubis 3602. Serial #789347. I can't read the papers of course, but the serial number on the certificate is not the same as the movement. Typical of the chaos in the Soviet Union at that time.

Also stamped on the movement is SU. What does that mean?

Jerry Freedman
 

pmwas

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AFAIK the numbers usually matched when the watch was leaving the factory. However swapping movements was not an unusual method of repairing a damaged watch.
SU means this was made Soviet Union. Later period Soviet watches bear this mark, and I think you have the late, plain nickel finished Molnija movement.
Like I said, they were made in uncountabble numbers, still can be nice (but not worth too much) watches.
I also have one Molnija (used to have many, but I sold my Russian collection)...

View attachment 322340 View attachment 322341

It's the most ordinary Molnija made around 1980.
Features the well known 3602 (Cortebert derived indeed) workhorse...

View attachment 322342

Not beautiful anymore, but not badly made at all...
I got this (note - nice condition) from my mother, when I first started collecting watches.
Cost her... $20 I think...
So they are very inexpensive, but still can be nice watches...
 
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pmwas

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My new catch - a first series 1947 Molnija:

View attachment 400006 View attachment 400007

A scarce type of Cortebert licensed fiest model case, and even scarcer gold tone dial (only one known so far ;) !)

View attachment 400008

If it's a forgery it's very good, I think it's original, even though noone has ever seen one before...
Copper tone - plenty, but gold - not one...

View attachment 400009

Slim line, low profile crystal...

View attachment 400010

I added a chain that maches.

attachment.jpg

The movement is Cortebert licensed - the cal 36.
Unfortunately, the ewatchmaker from Belarus I bought this one from replaced many internal parts with less worn ones - I'm still hoping to get them as well :) Promised he'll send them...

Apart from Molnija watches, made sice 1947, since 1946 in USSR there was this Salut model available. Made in Moscow.

View attachment 400012 View attachment 400013

This one is form 1948, with nice early plates' finish...
 

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