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Pobeda / Победа

Prior to World War II, during a period of rapid industrialization in the Soviet Union, the Soviet government sought international funding and expertise in the development of a domestic watchmaking industry. Eventually, the French watch manufacturer LIP was chosen. LIP was having financial problems at home in France, and in 1936, technical director Frédéric Lipmann signed a deal with the USSR for the export of technology, machinery, and parts. 


A new watch factory was set up in Penza, and several LIP movement designs were licensed to the new establishment. One particular design, the R-26 movement, was selected because it was inexpensive, dependable, and relatively easy to manufacture and maintain. It was decided that NII Chasprom would responsible for the redesign of the movement to match Soviet specifications. World War II temporarily disrupted these plans, but after the Allied victory, this watch design was quickly finished at Penza.


Drawings were completed on June 23rd, 1944, and first production began in Q4-1945 at Penza Watch Factory. After modification, the Soviets labeled this caliber К-26, and Joseph Stalin himself chose the name to be printed on the dial: Pobeda (Победа, meaning "victory"), in celebration of the end of the war. As soon as Q1-1946, production had spread to at least one other factory (First State Watch Factory), and by the 1950s, tens of millions of Pobedas had been produced by a total of six factories: 


1945–1948: Penza Watch Factory

1946–1956: First State Watch Factory (renamed First Moscow Watch Factory as of Q2-1947)

1949–1958: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

1949–1960: Chistopol Watch Factory

1953–1964: Second Watch Factory (renamed Second Moscow Watch Factory in 1958)

1950–2004: Maslennikov Watch Factory (ZIM)

As the market shifted in the 1950s and demanded modern, sweep-second hands, the Soviets evolved the К-26 movement into the 2608 – essentially the same design, but with an added wheel to drive a central second hand.

The Pobeda brand name is undoubtedly one of the most prolific of all watches produced in the USSR, and to many, this brand represents the epitome and quintessence of Soviet watchmaking.

(Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

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