Vostok Generalskie Desert Shield edition
The Desert Shield Generalskie represents a fascinating piece of history between the United States and the Soviet Union. Here is a Russian made Vostok watch, the standard supplier to the Red Army, building a watch for the U. S. Army during Operation Desert Shield. As I understand it, some 200,000 pieces were ordered for sale. The watches were advertised in Stars & Stripes, the U.S. military's newspaper, at $99 for service personnel or $149 for everyone else. The distributor reportedly presented one of these watches to then President Bush and another to Senator Kerry. Several different cases and movements were employed by this series of watch. To the best of my knowledge, there was the Generalskie model you see above, an Amphibia, a Komandirskie and a mini Komandirskie. Movements apparently varied from the old 21 jewel 2416b to the 2409 and the 2414a, I believe. For more information, see this excellent post at the Military Watch Forum.
The Generalskie model above uses a case style that has unfortunately been discontinued by Vostok. It outwardly appears similar to Komandirskie models of the period except that the case is significantly larger than the bezel. Like the Komandirskie, the case is made of chrome plated brass and features Vostok's signature acrylic crystal and wobbly screw-down crown. This particular example came to me by way of eBay. It was advertised as being new old stock (NOS) but in fact had a scratched bezel and lug. I fortunately had another bezel of the same design to replace the damaged one and a little of my wife's clear nail polish should protect the exposed base metal on the lug hopefully. Such is life when shopping on the bay. Caveat emptor.
Aside from these issues, the watch appears to be running fine. Accuracy seems to be in the typical Vostok range of 20 seconds or so deviation per day. Not bad for a 20 yr old mechanical watch in my opinion. The old style Generalskie case goes well with today's large watch trend. It measures 45mm in width (including the crown), 48mm lug to lug and uses Vostok's standard 18mm band lug width. The stock leather band had dried out and become quite brittle so I replaced it with a padded leather Hirsch band that suits it quite nicely.
I am quite happy to own this historically interesting watch. It represents a brief moment in time when two old enemies found some common ground between them. It would have been most interesting indeed if the cooperation that this watch represents could have continued and strengthened over time. Who knows what sort of world we would be living in now?