Every traveller should have a way of telling the time. It’s essential for being able to make sure you get to trains, buses and excursions you’ve booked at the right time – not to mention getting to the departure gate on time! If you don’t know what time it is, you could be in for a difficult journey!
For some people the mobile phone has, sadly, become their way of keeping time. However, for those of us who still prefer an actual watch I’m going to introduce to you a watch in this blog that is perfect for travel!
For me the best, and most convenient way, of keeping time is a wristwatch. I can’t leave the house without putting one on. When I don’t have a wristwatch on I felt like my wrist is missing something, totally naked. A bit like when you take a collar off a dog that’s worn it for years. The dog looks weird without it and is keen to get its’ collar back!
There is such an endless list of different wristwatch makes and types, not to mention customisation options, that there is one for everybody.
For me though it’s got to be a good old-fashioned mechanical watch. You know, the type with all the carefully made intricate little cogs inside ticking a way. The type that does’t need ever any battery. Mechanical watches are usually quite expensive though (at least for a good one). You’ll note I said usually because there is one brilliant exception to that rule…
The Perfect Travel Watch – Vostok (Восток) Komandirskie
The Vostok (Восток) Komandirskie. You probably haven’t heard of it, but in the watch collector world the Komandirskie has something of a cult following and is a collectors item in it’s own right. Links to a couple of them are below.
I challenge you to find a better value wristwatch anywhere else in the world! It’s accurate, it’s robust, it’s mechanical and it’s priced from £30-45 new – including postage. Prices vary slightly depending on design of the individual watch and location of seller (whether it’s already been imported).
Brief History: This watch has been produced by Vostok (which means “East” in Russian) since 1965 at their factory in Christopol, Russia. The Vostok company themselves have been making watches since 1942. The then Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, had decreed that the Soviet Union must produce it’s own accurate, robust mechanical watch movements to save on dependence on imports from places like Switzerland.
The Komandirskie is a solidly dependable watch, available in over 70 styles in either hand-wind or automatic mechanical guise. They should last ten years before needing a service. It was originally a watch that would have been presented to Soviet military commanders, and as such the designs have a distinctly military theme.
The only drawback is they come with a horrendously cheap faux leather strap. The first thing most people do is remove the strap, bin it, and fit their own. Which is what I’ve done with mine (pictured above).
Why is the Komandirskie perfect for travel?
The only other mechanical watches you’ll find at this price are cheap (probably Chinese) rubbish. An equivalent Swiss watch will set you back over £500. If you lose a Komandirskie, or have it stolen, while travelling then it’s no great hardship buying another to replace it.
- Over 70 styles
As there are so many styles and colours available, not to mention endless strap customisation options, there is surely one for just about every taste. Changing a strap takes about 5 minutes.
These watches are simple, robust and accurate. True to the original Soviet ideal. It should only gain or lose a few seconds a day, which is entirely acceptable in the world of mechanical watches. Just wind it once a day and you’ll never be worried about replacing a battery again.
The only drawbacks, that I can see, are the poor quality strap supplied from the factory and the fact it’s not waterproof.
A little water (like rain) on it won’t cause any damage, but you shouldn’t shower in it and you definitely shouldn’t go swimming with it on. That said, Vostok also produce an amphibious version of this watch for that very reason.
Quality new straps (18mm lug width) can be sourced online for a few pounds and dramatically enhance the look of the watch.
My personal favourite and recommendation are the G10 (NATO) strap designs – available in a variety of colours and materials.
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