The 24-hours dial
The first "polar" watches had an automatic movement and a 24-hours dial and where created in the 1950’s by the Petrodvorets Watch Factory of Saint-Petersburg (back then, Leningrad) for soviet polar explorers. Without such watches, around the summer and winter solstices, the endless polar day and polar night would throw off-balance their perception of time.
Later, similar watches were created for submariners and cosmonauts. The latter are very much subject to time disorientation, given that a spaceship completes 16 orbits around the Earth in 24 hours. And in the vast Soviet Union, a 24-hours dial was also welcome to keep track of time between its 11 time zones, from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka.
Meet the team
We are three young Frenchmen, Arthur, François and Léo, old friends from our high school years in Bordeaux. Léo now works in Moscow, Arthur has lived in Brussels and Warsaw before settling down in London. Me, I moved to Astana, Kazakhstan. We usually meet once a year in the south of France where we’re all from; otherwise we meet up and chat on Skype, working around our very different time zones.
One day, Arthur and I came to Moscow to pay Leo a visit. It was there that we all bought a vintage soviet polar watch in a flea market, just after visiting a museum of soviet avant-garde art. It was a fun way to seal our old friendship, but it turned into more than that.
We quickly fell in love with these original watches and decided they deserved a new life. This is the story of how we took our first step into the world of watchmaking, a world we knew nothing about, and how we have endeavored to recreate a legend and bring it to you.