My watch collection: 1950s Pobeda Red 12

Over 65 years and still ticking.

This Pobeda (Russian for ‘Victory’) Red 12 is one of the first watches I ever bought.
I got it in March of 2019, having imported it from a watchmaker in Russia.

A popular legend behind these claims that Stalin commissioned the design with the red 12 as a celebration of victory in World War II, though some have debunked that, finding earlier evidence of such designs.

Pobeda Red 12 Chistopol Watch Factory Q2 1955

The date stamp on the movement indicates that it was built in the second quarter of 1955 at the Chistopol watch factory.
I used to remember the details about the movement and calibre, but have long since forgotten.
It’s a manual winding mechanical movement with 15 jewels if I remember correctly.
The case width is 34mm, something I wasn’t sure about wearing initially, but this watch quickly made me realise that I like wearing smaller watches like this.
I always found larger watches to be a touch restrictive to wrist movement.
This one never causes bother.

Lug width is 16mm, and with this watch’s fixed lugs it was quite a pain to locate a strap that would match up.
I had to import a deadstock leather Bund strap from Europe.
The chunky cuff strap didn’t really work for me, so I separated the slim band from it and I’ve worn it as such ever since.

I’ve always been very taken with the design aesthetic of the dial.
The self-enclosed secondary dial for the seconds counter creates an elegant level of refinement to the overall appearance.
With the wonderful patina this watch has accrued over its many decades of life, and the tasteful design, it makes a good dress watch.

The Pobeda keeps excellent time for its age. While I haven’t measured its accuracy, I know it loses less than a minute per day.
I did have one issue with it; when I first got the watch and I went to wind it, the crown fell right out.
A quick trip to the watchmaker ensued.
He opened the caseback, remarked that it was one of the better condition vintage watches he’d seen, and put the crown back in its place free of charge.
A screw intended to hold the crown in place had been loose.
I haven’t had an issue with the Red 12 since.

If you want to see a large range of different Pobeda watches including a number of different Red 12 styles, try the Pobeda page on Watches of the USSR.

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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