Friday, March 27, 2009

A diamond in the rough

One of the things that I love about this hobby is how it is possible to have fun with it without spending a fortune. While it is always a pleasure to acquire a really nice watch, the fact is that in these times a good deal counts for a lot. The watch you see above, an early to mid 1990's Vostok Komandirskie, perfectly illustrates the enjoy the hobby without breaking the bank theory.

(As an aside, if you want a full review of a Vostok Komandirskie, check out this review I did of another example. Pretty much everything I said then is still true).

While on my way home from work a few days back, I stopped in a local jeweler/junk shop. In a box at the back of the jewelers case, I spied this Vostok. The crystal was scratched and the case had some gunk on it but it fired right up when wound. After hemming and hawing with the proprietor for a few minutes, he agreed to let it go for the princely sum of $10. That seemed too good to pass up.

I probably should have taken a before picture of this one to illustrate its condition better. To make it simple, the crystal needed a good hour of polishing with Crystal Clear (which I highly recommend for removing scratches from acrylic crystals by the way) and the case needed a thorough going over with a damp toothbrush. The movement, however, looked perfect. There was no evidence of dirt or water damage at all.

I expected that this old watch would need at least some regulation but, as it turns out, it's nearly as accurate as most of the other mechanical watches I own (Seems to be gaining about 20 seconds a day. I can live with that). That pleasant surprise was the icing on the cake for me. The bottom line is that there are some good deals out there for us collectors if we are prepared to use our imagination and a little elbow grease. Not a bad way to keep a hobby going, even in rough times like these.
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