Just recently Poljot International issued another watch with vintage ex. USSR style and movement - called Samara. Another combination which I just need to have. Let's have a closer look.
Before I start with the review, a short remark. If you will check PI web pages and read the introduction of the Samara watch, you can get the impression, that Samara is a reissue of the watch from sixties. I collect USSR watches for a long time and I must admit that I never heard of Samara USSR watch from that period of time. The only USSR watch with the name Samara was a Pobeda (ZIM) watch from the period late 1980's/beginning of 1990's which used ZIM2602 movement with small second. So I believe the PI text is misleading for marketing purposes only. If I am wrong and if you know for some other Samara watch, I would be more than glad if you can share this info in the comments below and apologize in advance to PI for my statement.
But what is true is that watch is made in some of the mid sixties USSR 1MČZ style watches. And what is also vintage in this watch is the movement. Namely old Poljot 2609 17j hand winding mechanical movement is used.
Samara is officially issued in two versions, with green dial and with champagne dial. But - again already seen and commented on some other PI watches - another two color versions of the dial were issued exclusively for Poljot24.de shop owned by Julius Kampmann. Those two versions are one with blue dial and one with silver dial.
In general I always prefer blue dials if possible but here I decided to change that. Since watch has only 38,5mm, what is small for me, I decided to take the most unconventional color - green. I knew that watch will not be worn often so I can afford this watch to be a special...
So, first impressions. Green dial is much darker than one can judge from the official pictures on the PI web or even from my pictures. Watch can easily be worn with brown or even black strap instead of green strap which is on the watch by default (and is more light green than it looks on the pictures). So with just a simple strap change the green watch can become quite "traditional" and worn without being eccentric.
Even though diameter of the watch is 0,5cm bigger than PI Pobeda and both watches have 20mm lugs, I have a feeling that on the wrist Samara looks smaller than Pobeda. Maybe the color of the dial gives that impression. Or the thickness. Namely Pobeda is quite thicker then Samara. Pobeda has 12mm height while Samara only 10,5mm. So, all in all, Samara is not just small by the measures but also optically and hardly wearable for me. But if you have a smaller wrist and like watches of max. 40mm diameter, Samara is a good choice.
Dial is very nice. All even minutes are written, odd minutes are marked with the line. Interesting approach, I must say. Hour markers are very slim, elegant, so are numbers '6' and '12'. Dial is signed with the "Vintage movement", referring to Poljot 2609 movement.
If I am very satisfied with the design and the general impression of the dial, I am not happy with the hands. Those white hands looks plastic and of a poor quality. I can't judge the hands on other variations, since I have not seen them in person. But from the pictures I am quite sure that the blue model has exactly the same white hands. Better impression give the blue hands on the champagne and silver versions. To be honest I believe all hands are the same, just blue painting gives better impression than white one. I did comment on one of my last Poljot International/Alexander Shorokoff watch reviews that it is boring that all watches have the same hands design. Well it looks as if they had the same thoughts and that made this change. Unfortunate not with a good choice. I know that USSR watches in sixties had all poor hands, but I am sure vintage look could be achieved also with much better hands choice.
As expected, case is of course stainless steel, glass is sapphire. Crown is marked with PI mark (that used to be Basilika brand trademark, which is abandoned by the PI). Nice touch is that again backplate is glass, so Poljot movement can be seen. Since this is PI branded watch and not Alexander Shorokoff watch, movement is not gilded or ornamented as we are used to see on some other watches from this group.
Green and champagne watches are limited to 50 pieces each, while Kampann's editions are limited to 100 pieces each.
Poljot 2609 movement was never treated as a flagship of Poljot movements. It was a movement for a common watches where high accuracy was not expected nor needed. Of course even PI can not do miracles so watch for now runs cca. 10-15 sec ahead daily. As expected and not a big deal. Winding is quite smooth, declared power reserve is 38 hours, and similar results were achieved also by myself. Strap is good, white stiches helps achieving additional vintage general impression. As said, for the green version I would prefer a darker green color of the strap than it is used.
No surprises with the box. When I have reviewed Pobeda I mentioned "new" Poljot International box and I was wondering myself if the stated box was just a special edition box for the Pobeda watch. Well - you can clearly see the answer now, stated box is obviously PI new "general" box.
What about the price? Well, my dear Poljot International, I have always liked and favored your watches, tried to find approvals for your prices, BUT this time I simply can't find any. I think that you have gone too far here! Official price for this watch in Europe is 529 EUR. To be fair, the price used to be 459 EUR in the presale phase and several official sellers still offers watches for 459 EUR even now. Kampmann offers his two versions for 445 EUR.
I understand that with 50 + 50 limited edition watches you can afford yourself to have such a high prices knowing that sooner or later you will sell them all. But nevertheless you charge so much not to anybody but to your loyal buyers who likes what you do and how you implement USSR watch industry heritage to new watches. In my opinion you won't get any random buyer for this watch with such a high price. Since random buyer will rather take Swiss made watch with swiss made (automatic) movement for this money.
Saying all this you probably wonder why did I take it. Honestly, I was able to get it much cheaper, for the price which would be normal for this kind of watch but I am not allow to say where since seller who sold me the watch did breach the Poljot International policy. But thank you for doing that if you read this!
So my final verdict - sorry Poljot International, but this time I must say, could be done better and should be cheaper!