Molniya pocket watch in the USSR: photo, varieties
Molniya pocket watch in the USSR: photo, varieties

Every day there are fewer and fewer people who remember life in the USSR. The period from 1917 to 1991 goes into the distant past. However, things from that time are still kept in every house. Pocket watches "Lightning" in the USSR were popular at that time, and now they are considered a valuable and expensive rarity. They are found either in private collectors or in museums. Why is Molniya still valued in all former Soviet countries and abroad in the 21st century?

USSR lightning pocket watch

Begin production

In 1929, by order of Stalin, Duber Hampton was bought and a plant was built in the Urals, which bore the proud name of Lightning. The company made watches for the army and aviation, working in Zlatoust.

During the difficult times of the Great Patriotic War, the plant moved to Chelyabinsk, where it continues to work until today.

But no matter how good a pocket watch is, there is a replacement for everything. In the 80s, the period of quartz movements begins. This greatly affected the volume of sales. However, the enterprise continued to work and even survived the collapse of the country.

The factory produced mechanical pocket watches"Lightning" (USSR) and even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, until 2007. In 2015 they resumed production again. Now it bears the name of the Chelyabinsk watch factory OAO Molniya and creates one of the most high-precision watches on the world market.

pocket watch lightning USSR year of issue


During its history, the plant sold goods not only on the territory of the Soviet Union, but also to other states. Over thirty countries bought their products. For each of them, the company created a different design.

Party leaders, military men or people of science could afford to buy such a thing, for an ordinary citizen it was too expensive. Also pocket watches "Lightning" in the USSR were awarded for heroic deeds. Moreover, the design of the award was individual for each feat.


The chronometers have a rounded shape, the lid rises on a hinge. Silver or steel was used to create. There is always a chain included. Enamel was used for decoration. There are 15-18 ruby ​​or brass stones in the mechanism. The case is shockproof.

The quality is often compared with the famous watches from Switzerland. In fact, the French model "Lip 36" became the prototype.

There are a huge number of varieties of pocket watches "Lightning" (USSR). Design varies by year, occasion and country. There are also special series that were released for specific dates, such as the opening of the Olympics-80, 50 years since the Victory Day, etc.

pocket watch lightning USSR varieties

There are also thematic series. Each era has its own model. Thus, we can trace the entire course of events in the history of the USSR.

Molniya pocket watch has always been very expensive. In addition to the original design, they were incredibly accurate and durable, which gave them an edge over the competition.

How to distinguish an original from a fake?

Even in this area, the Chinese have found a replacement for the original. Understanding which country is the real manufacturer is very simple for an experienced craftsman. For the average person, there is also one piece of advice. You need to open the case and look into the mechanism. On the original, you will see the engraving on the details "36 02", which means that the item is of high quality and rare. Also, the details will be larger than the fake.

Mechanism bridges are of 2 types:

  • Smooth surface. Began to be produced closer to our time.
  • Surface with milling. This is how early watches were made.


The more we move away from the times of the Soviet Union, the more expensive things from the past become. And so it happened with our rarity.

Now high-quality pocket watches "Lightning", made in the USSR, are found in private collections or in the arsenal of certain museums, this especially applies to rare series. Ordinary people are in a hurry to sell such an inheritance, since any original will cost at least a couple of thousand.

Modern Lightning is also popular. Although they are not considered a rarity, they cost a lot of money. The plant, despite such a long journey, has not lost the secrets of product quality.

Where to look for your favorite model?

A person who is at least a little interested in this direction would like to have at least one such chronometer at home.

The Internet is the marketplace where all the necessary products are located. Here you can find almost everything. Often people put "Lightning" on online auctions and in online stores. But this method is very risky, there is a chance to just buy a fake. Therefore, it is better to meet the seller directly and contact the watchmaker.

Rare models can be found in rare shops, but the price, accordingly, will be more expensive. Another option is to find contacts of private owners who collect this stamp.

USSR pocket watch lightning photo

Despite the cost, watches are often found on sale.


Getting a good watch is an important task. Here it is worth considering many factors on which the price depends. The cost ranges from 200 to 20,000 rubles. Consider the following criteria:

  1. Year of release of Molniya pocket watch in the USSR. Naturally, the further the year, the more expensive the thing. On the details there is a special marking by which the date is determined.
  2. Product series. The fewer watches in this series exist, the higher the price tag. Especially expensive "Lightning" release from 10 to 100 pieces. Such a model is almost impossible to find, and the cost will go off scale and can reach hundreds of thousands.
  3. Working condition. The main task of any watch is to show the time. "Lightning" is particularly accurate. This is checked by a special device.
  4. Chronometer case. Any dentscratch, wear reduces the value of the goods. The more defects in the case, the lower the price.
  5. Dial, glass. Must be original.
  6. Cap and decorations. Of course, appearance also plays a role in the sale.

The best decision when buying is going to a watchmaker. Each version of the watch has its own price, so only a professional can accurately determine it.


Photo of pocket watch "Lightning" (USSR) from a rare collection "To the day of the 50th anniversary of the Victory". Regardless of the condition, the price of such a thing will be from 3000 rubles.

USSR pocket watch lightning

And this is the Order of the Great Patriotic War, also belongs to a rare series. Has a red dial as one of the differences.

Pocket watch lightning USSR variety

"55th anniversary of the Victory" - watches supplied to Kazakhstan. The bridge of the mechanism is smooth, the details are large, the markings are visible. So this is the original.

Zipper pocket watch made in the USSR

Pocket watch "Capercaillie" - this batch was not released by a specific date. But you can immediately see the marking "3602" and the rubies that were used in the manufacture.

mechanical watch lightning USSR pocket

Rare watch series "Capercaillie", also has 18 rubies and number.

Another series released for a specific date, with a very original dial. "50 Years of the Korkinskaya Mine".

Zipper pocket watch "50 years of Korkinskaya Mine"

And here is the mostsenior representative of this collection. Watch "Lightning" 1955. The milled surface shows authentic age.

Year of issue of USSR lightning pocket watch

And yet, "Lightning" from the USSR is not only a quality thing, but also a memory of every great date, of the history of the Soviet Union, of that distant life. That is why the modern watches of the Molniya factory will never be compared with their ancestors.

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