Sturmanskie Ocean/Океан Chronograph Special Edition (Review) – Best Russian watch ever!

This one is a special watch! I have wanted to check out these new iterations of the old Poljot Ocean watches for some time. I have had the opportunity to check the old one many times, but not the new editions with the same NOS condition Poljot cal. 3133 movements. So I reached out to Julian from Poljot24.de and he provided me with a sample of the Sturmanskie Ocean/Океан Chronograph which is a special edition watch limited to only 200 pieces (numbered) for the whole world! As I understand these are the last edition ones and they won’t be produced anymore with the Poljot cal. 3133 as these movements aren’t made anymore since 2011 when the production closed. You can read more about the history behind Ocean watches and the Poljot cal. 3133 here! Just like in the old days this one is also made in Moscow! The only difference from the original one is the size which is from 38mm is brought up to 40mm and the dial text, otherwise, it is pretty spot on!

Before we start the review I must say a huge Thank You to Mr Julian Kampmann! Poljot24 is probably the best European store where to look for any Russian watches for really great prices! If you can’t choose one, then write to Julian, and he will help you, as he is very kind and super knowledgeable about any Russian timepiece he sells! And this watch that Julian sent me for review will be bought by my grandpa as he liked it so much, he just needed to have it, as he served on a nuclear submarine in the USSR and have seen these back in the day on wrists of higher officers and was always on the hunt for one! He is an avid USSR watch collector by the way! You can check out more Russian watches like this on Poljot24.de!

If you are looking to add a Russian watch to your collection I would probably skip the highly popular Vostok Amphibia and go straight for this Ocean watch as this watch is very important in watch history as a whole, not only in Russian watch history. And it is an interesting story to tell about this watch as it has a connection to the Swiss watch industry, Space and Russian Military. So the variant I chose to review is the Sturmanskie Ocean re-issue that is limited to only 200 watches. There is also a regular version which kind of looks the same except the case back and also there are some past editions too, but this one appeals to me the most as it is limited and very desirable! As I work at a full-service watch centre, some of the Russian watch collectors that come there to service some of their watches have actually seen me wearing it and even offered crazy money, but this one will be bought by my grandpa and he will use it!

The watch arrived in a pretty nice leather box. And Julian from the Poljot24 store actually sent some small gifts like this Victorinox knife engraved with the Poljot24 logo and the classic “Russisch Brot” which is very kind and just shows how friendly the watch community is! Actually, through watches, I have made so many friends and great contacts like in no other hobby! So with the box, you get a tag, some papers and the watch! The first impressions were wow! The watch is really nicely made, even better than the originals if I can say so. The quality is very close to the mi-range of luxury watches like Breitling, Tag-Heuer etc.

The case of the Ocean is made of 316L stainless steel. The case is very well manufactured and I’m actually blown away by it as Russian watches aren’t famous for their quality, haha, but they are damn reliable if you ask me! But this one is really well made! The finishing on top of the watch is brushed towards the center. The top of the lugs and sides of the watch are high polished and the underside of the case and caseback is satin brushed. The finishing is also very well done, maybe the brushing on top of the watch is a bit rough, but that’s how it was on the original one and they replicated that in this re-issue that I respect! The case is 40mm x 44mm, the thickness is 13mm, from lug to lug it measures at 48mm and the lug width is 19mm. Overall on paper the watch may seem on the big side, but actually it is like wearing a 39mm watch. The only thing that annoys me on this one is the 19mm lug width, I just hate when brand do it, either make it 18mm or 20mm so there is a chance to find a strap, but as it is 19mm it is near to impossible find what you like. That is also the only thing I don’t like on this watch! At 3 o’clock we have a push pull crown which is quite big and very easy to grasp. The crown action is very crisp and nice! At 2 and 4 o’clock we have the start/stop and reset pushers for the chronograph hand. At 9 o’clock we have a crown for the inner rotating bezel. The crown at 9 is the same shape as the main crown, only a bit thinner. The inner rotating bezel action is very smooth and well made which I like and also while wearing the watch it won’t turn by accident as it has some resistance which is nice. The caseback system is very similar to the old Vostoks with the ring that is screwed in to hold the caseback on. The caseback is solid and engraved with some specifications and name of the company in Russian and of course the limited edition number which on this example is 149 out of 200. I actually wish they made the caseback exhibition as the Poljot caliber 3133 is a pretty cool one to look at. On top of the watch sits a boxed mineral crystal which was designed similarly to the original glass which was acrylic. The water resistance is 50 Meters (5ATM) which is pretty standart for a chronograph and can withstand rain, splashes and washing hands.

The dial is kept very classic and nothing much has changed since the original Ocean. The dial itself is silver with the middle portion for the subdials being in dark blue colour. The subdials are also in silver colour with circular brushing. The high polished, applied hour markers play with light really nicely and on the ends we have a little lume applied. The inner rotating bezel is also dark blue just like the middle portion of the dial. The indices on the bezel are lumed and shine quite brightly. on the edge of the silver dial, we have the telemeter scale printed in red colour. At 12 o’clock we have the Ocean name in Russian (Океан). At 6 o’clock we have the Sturmanskie which is the Russian company that released these. Then it’s written “Chronograph” and “23 jewels” only in Russian. At the bottom at 6 o’clock, we have a square date window with a white date wheel. Also on both sides of the date window, we have written “Made in Russia” in Russian. The subdial hands are different which is a nice touch that you don’t see at first. The running second’s hand at 9 o’clock is a simple straight line in black colour and the hand on the subdial at 3 o’clock is in red colour and with a small arrow in the middle. The index shaped hour and minute hands are polished with lume in the middle. The arrow-shaped chronograph second’s hand is red. The dial, in my opinion, is very legible and I like that they didn’t change a thing except for some writings on the dial. The lume is quite bright so it is also legible at night! I remember seeing the original at first and thought it was some kind of expensive Swiss watch, I even asked my dad if it was some kind of Heuer (I was introduced to watch brands quite early as my dad had the Heuer Monaco). The watch in my opinion doesn’t look like a Russian one, as the design of the case, dial, the two crowns, chronograph and the colours weren’t typical for any other Russian watch!

The movement inside is the Poljot 3133 chronograph which is NOS (new old stock) movement that isn’t made any more since 2011. You can read more about this movement history in my article here! The movement is hand-wound, has 23 jewels, it has 48h power reserve which in reality is closer to 40h-42h and it beats at 21,600 vibrations/hour. These movements are quite good as they are basically a Swiss movement made with the same machines as the Valjoux 7734. This exact one was made by MakTime which made these movements until 2011 when they went bankrupt, so the supply is limited although more and more watches are being made with them. Anycase in some time the supply will end, so I think that watches with this calibre will go up in value, especially something like this that is limited! The accuracy of the movement is quite good at +5 seconds a day with the chrono “off” and +8 seconds a day with chrono “on”. The watchmaker with who I work actually worked at a watch factory here in Latvia and serviced/repaired thousands of these movements and he said that it was one of the best movements made by Russians, it wasn’t close to Swiss in any way, but it was one of the best between Russian ones. If they’ve upped the finishing quality, they would be very close to Swiss quality, but USSR wanted to do everything cheaper and with questionable quality.

The Ocean comes on a blue leather strap with red contrasting stitching and red underlining. I quite like the strap and the colour choice. It is also very made. The butterfly clasp is also very well made in my opinion with perlage finishing on the inside of the clasp which is pretty cool to see on a Russian watch! On the wrist it feel quite comfortable and the strap was supple right out of the box. The first problem that I have with this is the sharp clasp part that sits on the outside as it scratches the table while you are wearing the watch if you are working on your computer. And the second one would be the size, it is just super snnoying that they made the lug width of 19mm and not 20mm. It would open a ton of strap choices. But thankfully my friends at cheapestnatostraps.com will hook my grandpa up with some tropical rubber straps for this one as they sell them in 19mm. But if you want something from a known watch strap company, it will be hard to find one in 19mm.

Overall the watch is super cool and I think my Grandpa will be happy wearing it. He already said that he will time his morning runs (Yup, he is 82 years old and still goes to stadium at 6:00 in the morning, each day to slowly run a couple of kilometers). But yeah, either you buy this limited edition or the regular version, they both offer the same value in my opinion and you get a hell of a watch with a lot of heritage and cooll story. Yes, this exact special edition is quite expensive at 989€, but I think it is worth every cent! You get a well made and finished watch, cool and legible dial, hand-wound chronograph movement with Swiss roots, great lume, inner rotating bezel and a nice leather strap. Yes, it has some problems like the 19mm lug width, but as I always say “There is no perfect watch!”. Is it worth buying? I think yes, as it is not only a cool watch, but also a great investment as I think it will grow in value in some time when the supply of Poljot cal. 3133 will end!

Price: 989€ @ www.poljot24.de

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