Saturday, October 27, 2007

Vostok Neptune Review

The Vostok Neptune is a colorful relative of Vostok’s popular Amphibia model. Like the Amphibia, the Neptune has a 2416b 31 jewel automatic movement and is rated at 200 meters water resistance. Both models feature a stainless steel case, Vostok’s typically thick acrylic crystal and the company’s standard weak lume. Where the two models differ is in the shape of the case and, in particular, the bracelet as well as the dial design. Additionally, to the best of my knowledge, Neptunes were not military issue Vostoks, despite using the same hardware.

As is obvious in the photos, the bracelet/lug design of the Neptune is unique to the Vostok line. Unlike most watches, the Neptune does not use a conventional lug and spring bar mounting system. Instead, the watch case has a notched end through which a pin is mounted. The end link of the bracelet is mounted on this pin to hold the bracelet on the watch. The overall look is rather unusual but nonetheless good looking to my eye. The obvious issue with this design, however, is that it would be very difficult to mount an aftermarket bracelet on a Neptune. That is a mark against the Neptune in my opinion because the stock bracelet is really just adequate. It is made of stainless steel and appears quite strong but it uses folded instead of solid links that frankly feel a bit tinny.

The most striking feature of the Neptune are the graphics on the watch face. The image is supposed to represent the sun setting over a lagoon. In addition, the chrome markers on the face are of the floating variety (they are mounted in such a way as to appear to float above the rest of the watch face). I can understand that the look wouldn’t appeal to everyone but for a Russian watch, this is positively festive in appearance. In addition to the watch face, the Neptune uses its own bezel design with a bezel insert, like many other diver style watches available. It should be noted that the bezel’s quality appears superior to that of most other Vostok models.

The Neptune measures 39mm in width (43mm including the crown) 43mm vertically (lug to lug so to speak), is 14mm in thickness and has a bracelet that is 20mm wide at the attachment point. For those who may be tempted to mount a custom bracelet or strap on this one, the central mounting notch/lug is just under a centimeter in width. Despite the quality of the bracelet, it is comfortable on the wrist (some folks have described the bracelet as a hair puller but I haven’t encountered that particular flaw). The Neptune was made in blue, green and brown. It doesn’t currently appear on Vostok’s website leading me to suspect that it has been discontinued. New models do appear on the bay however, and for a collector of Russian watches, the Neptune is certainly a welcome if offbeat addition.
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