Start / Старт

In the Soviet Union, all watchmaking factories were State-owned, thus the concept of manufacturer competition did not exist. Different watchmaking factories readily shared ideas, concepts, parts, technology, and brand names. Several watch brands (e.g. Pobeda, Molnija, and Chaika) were produced at a minimum of two factories. The Start brand (Старт) provides yet another example of how watchmaking in the USSR differed from watch enterprises in the West.

 

At the end of World War II, in 1945, the Second Watch Factory phased out Type-1 production and shifted to more advanced pocket-watch and wristwatch designs. The factory’s product portfolio widened to meet demand, and an array of brands were the result, including Salut, Molnija, Pobeda, Era, and Start.

Meanwhile, in 1954, a government decree renamed the First State Precision Jewel Factory (ТТК-1) the Petrodvorets Watch Factory with the intention of producing high-quality pocket and wristwatches for men. This lead to a proliferation of discrete brands in the second half of the 1950s, including Baltika, Leningrad, Mayak, Neva, Pobeda, Russia, Svet, and Start.

 

In both cases – at Second Moscow Watch Factory and at Petrodvorets Watch Factory – the Start brand represented a way for the factories to broaden their product offerings for men. However, the various watches manufactured at each factory were very different.

 

The Second Moscow Watch Factory first began producing Starts with aggressive, modern designs including oversized cases measuring 37mm across. Indeed, these watches had the largest case-to-movement ratio of any Soviet watch produced in the 1950s. Later designs experimented with aluminium cases which were painted gold, a unique and unusual case type produced only for a short time in the late 1950s and early 1960s. All Start watches produced by the Second Moscow Watch Factory were powered by 17-jewel caliber 2603 movements.

 

The Petrodvorets Watch Factory, on the other hand, was less ambitious. This factory manufactured watches in line with other models it was already producing (e.g. Svet, Mayak), changing very little aside from the name on the dial. Later designs were a bit more advanced, the precursors to the first Raketas which would supersede the start brand just a few years later. Start watches produced at the Petrodvorets Watch Factory also used a caliber 2603 movement, but this iteration contained just 16 jewels as it included no cap jewel on the escapement.

 

In the early 1960s, both the Second Moscow Watch Factory and the Petrodvorets Watch Factory retired the Start brand and began exclusively producing Slava and Raketa watches, respectively. 

Start
Start

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Export model, Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Model: 593076 Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Model: 593076 Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (16 jewels) Year: late '50s, early '60s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Model: 98ЧН Year: 1950s Notes: Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Year: 1950s Notes: Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Year: 1950s Notes: Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Year: Q2-1957 Notes: 1957 World Festival of Youth and Students Commemorative, Second Moscow Watch Factory Inscription: "To Red Guard Soldier Y.M. Fridlin / for 40th Anniversary of October / from KPP No. 1"

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Year: 1950s Notes: Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Model: 88ЧН/1 Year: 1950s Notes: Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Year: 1950s Notes: Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Year: 1950s Notes: Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Year: 1950s Notes: Aluminum case, Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Year: 1960 Notes: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic 40-year commemorative, Aluminum case, Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Model: 99ЧН Year: 1950s Notes: Aluminum case, Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Model: 99ЧН Year: 1950s Notes: Aluminum case, Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Model: 125ЧН Year: 1950s Notes: Aluminum case, Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Model: 99ЧН/1 Year: 1950s Notes: Aluminum case, Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Model: 99ЧН/2 Year: 1950s Notes: Aluminum case, Second Moscow Watch Factory

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Start / Старт
Start / Старт

Caliber: 2603 (17 jewels) Model: 99ЧН/4 Year: 1950s Notes: Aluminum case, Second Moscow Watch Factory

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