Following in the footsteps of "Vlad" the roaming Komandirskie, I would like to introduce to you "Roman", a Russian chronograph that I would like to send off for adventurous travel whenever he may be summoned.
The chronograph is a mid-nineties Poljot creation with flashy gilded casing and rotating titanium bezel. Although not your customary old school Sturmanskie-style to say the least, I have made an attempt to beef up the looks by retrofitting a aviator chrono-seconds hand and matching nato strap. The watch face is actually very impressive with cut chrono-eye borders, gilded indices, and one of the better pilot emblems I've seen on a Russian produced watch.
After being rejected by his former owner(s), Roman made the lengthy trip from Germany to Canada to become apart of my ever growing collection of cal. 3133 chronographs. Upon his late-arrival, I began my usual inspection to determining whether Roman was fit to join the ranks in his current, seemingly as new, condition.
Well, things did not go so well for Roman...
Being a mid-nineties child of the bankrupt 1st Moscow Watch Factory, Roman had some quality control issues with his plating that only storage in a drawer within a temperature controlled environment could help conceal. Sadly, the blemishes that appeared in the plating stick out like a sore thumb in close-up photographs and more so under the loupe.
Fortunately, not really an issue for everyday usage, as Roman, like myself, looks just fine from a distance!
Mechanically, however, there were issues too...
After numerous winds I could tell Roman had some movement issues that would need to be addressed, including a gap between the movement and casing that allowed for unsightly movement when setting the time. To rectify that particular problem the clamps had to be tightened against the casing to the point where extra friction was created that decreased power output.
Into the parts bin...
And so, after languishing in the parts bin for the past two or more years, I had decided that it was time to resurrect Roman, fix him up as best I could, and put him to good use as a travelling ambassador of my collection, the forum, and the cal. 3133 chronograph in general.
To accomplish this, Roman has had a few parts replaced, been cleaned and oiled, and had a fine-tuning done to his chronograph function.
I suspect that Roman was dropped on his head a few too many times as a child, and also that the same storage issues that caused the plating to blemish also caused the escapement wheel to produce some erratic readings - so I replaced it with decent results.
He now runs respectively well.
To fine tune a 3133 chronograph function so that there is no jump at start-up is riding a fine line, and nothing a trip through the postal service cannot undo, but here is hoping he stays in top form for at least a few trips.
The loose movement issue was rectified by placing a small section of a broken 100-year old Dueber-Hampden mainspring into the casing to act as a spacer. This worked very well and leaves a small gap to get your nail under to pull out the crown.
Dressing up Roman...
I was a little reluctant to replace parts or spend further money on Roman, but decided it may help create some interest in the project and hopefully add to the fun factor. Therefore, as seen in the images, I spruced up Roman with a new Nato strap, had his case back engraved, and purchased a fake passport to accompany him throughout his travels.
Unfortunately, the recently completed case back engraving was, oh-so-predictably... not done to my specifications:
I had actually printed out a copy of an image that detailed exactly how I wanted the engraving to look. However, the main concern seemed to be noting existing scratches on the case back, the current value of the watch, and of course the pre-payment. Oddly enough, I had envisioned it looking a lot worse than it did!! So all-in-all, I was content with additional non-perfection on an already non-perfect watch.
The mock passport finally arrived after more than a month in the mail. I added an image of Roman and had it stamped at a area post-office.
I also though it would be cool if members hosting Roman could toss in a postcard from their location, or thereabouts, so I picked up one of those for a meager fifty cents too.
All I ask is that you ensure Roman is passed on to the next host within 2-4 weeks; that you chose a trusted follow-up person (preferably) before accepting to host; and that you assume responsibility for ensuring that Roman is passed along by said host in the allotted time frame.
Vlad the travelling Vostok, courtesy of forum member Dan, has been making the rounds for some years now, but with a few layaway stops here and there, so I would like to either keep Roman moving or have him sent back to home base for a while.
Please refrain from opening the case back. If and when repairs are necessary, send the watch back and I will forward it to the next host after the repair is complete.
If you drop him and cause damage--don't worry!! Just send him back to me.
It would be nice if the host could:
1) Have the mock passport stamped at a nearby post-office. But only if you feel comfortable in making the request.
2) Add another postcard to the package. But again, not a requirement.
3) Take a few pics with the watch that are (preferably) somewhere of interest in your area - but a few WRUW shots will suffice if you do not have the means or time to do so.
Roman recently accompanied me to the local military base as seen in the April edition of WRUW:
And now, all we need is for you to post your interest in hosting Roman so that future hosts can make contact. Roman is on parole, and counting on you to keep him out of the parts bin!
The legend of Roman begins, or ends, here...