I am sure that you are all familliar with the Luch (Luč) watch company from Minsk (Belarus). Le me just say, that Luch is one of the (as it seems) successfully reconstructed ex. USSR watch companies with the help of (also) foreign capital. In 2010 Franck Müller International B.V. invested in company as well. Luch collection is huge, but majority of today's watches are still cheap, low quality watches powered by their very old hand winding movement 1801. As I can see on the watch forums, their one hand watches are quite popular (I also have one BTW). Just recently company has organized a design competition and then issued a collection designed by the winners of that competition, which at least to me is similar to Alain Silberstein watches.
So, I do follow what they are doing and have a broad idea what can be expected from the company. But then - out of the blue - I found Sirius. What a positive shock! Everything that I was hoping to get from ex. USSR watch company is here. I just never expected that I would get this kind of watch from the Luch. It is a huge step aside their regular path.
First of all, watch design is heavily impacted by some of ex. USSR flagship dress watches. My first impression was that the Sirius is dedicated to Poljot de Lux watches which were also produced by Luch in eighties - first for Poljot and later marked by their Luch brand. Then my second association was this is an 1MČZ Orbita heritage. But the more I look the more I am sure that Sirius is just a bit of all of USSR dress watches in one watch. The case, curved glass, beautiful beams on the dial, striking number "6", and vintage "Luč" sign in cyrillc. The whole USSR design in one place.
The Sirius watch is made in three versions: in stainless steel with black or cream dial and gold plated stainless steel case with white dial. That is the first big improvement against the USSR - mainly brass cases. I took gold plated version because that is what is more "USSR like" type of the design. But I would be thrilled if black dial on a gold plated version would exist since that would be the watch which would remind me to my father. He bought himself a Luch de Luxe with black dial in eighties and I still have this watch in my collection.
As said glass is slightly curved and it is sapphire. I am not sure but my guess is that this is the first watch with the sapphire glass in the Luch collection.
Crown is signed. Also not quite common neither in the USSR nor in Luch.
Dimension of the watch is 44mm. When I first red that information I was delighted. "Finally a bigger watch from Luch", I said. I like a bit of a bigger watches, so you can understand my happiness. BUT, when I received the watch I suddenly realized that watch is optically enormous! I measured it twice, just couldn't believe it's only 44mm. So even though I like big watches. this watch is a very big watch also for my standards. I had to worn you, don't think about this watch if you are not 45+ watch lovers!
Why does it look so big? Well my guess is that those size of watches are usually some chronograph or diver watches with quite big bezels. And that gives less space to the dial. Here dial goes almost to the edge of the case, so dial itself is big. So this watch has a much bigger dial than most of the 45+ watches. And that is optically a problem.
Hands are pure and simple, exactly how they should be. Discrete luminova only on the hands gives some orientation of the time in the dark night, but of course, nothing spectacular. I can say this is not a issue here, this simply is not the watch where better luminova would be expected.
And then we come to the watch hart - the movement. This is the biggest surprise. Watch has - unbelievable but true - ETA 2824-2 movement!! Not just any swiss movement but ETA. Not Selitta, not STP1-11. That is a huge surprise. ETA movements are rarely used in ex. soviet watch industry companies (exemptions are Aviator and Buran but they are moved to Swiss and are now performing as swiss brands). There were some attempts of cooperation by some smaller companies (Denissov for example), but for Luch to have ETA, that is - as said - shocking.
Of course, if you have Luch with ETA inside, it is only logical, that the back plate is glass (sapphire), so that Luch can show this movement. What is interesting is that Luch did not put their brand sign on the rotor of the movement, it's questionable if they would be allowed to do that anyhow.
By having ETA 2824-2 movement inside, I don't have to lose time about the precision, power reserve, etc. You all know everything about that movement, there is no reason movement should behave differently just because it is placed into a Belarus watch.
Well, decision to take ETA movements has it's negative effects as well. The major one is that watch is almost impossible to find a watch since Luch can't get much of ETA movements. Maybe Luch will be forced to change pure ETA for some of the clones from previously stated suppliers in the future...
The second negative thing is that watch is more expensive. But I have to be honest here. Watch is expensive compared to other Luch watches. But if you compare price of this watch to some other brands using 2824-2 (or clone), Sirius has a competitive price. In Belarus price is around 580 EUR (you have to add import taxes to your country). Poljot24.de was selling this watch for 625 EUR, and that is very normal price.
So far I have been very positive about the watch. Now it's time to say also some negative things about it.
The first very strange thing is the placement of the lugs. They are placed very near to the case. When you put the watch on the wrist, suddenly horns protrudes like a blades out. Due to the size of the case designers obviously tried to reduce the L2L size by moving the lugs too much towards the case and by this they made a mistake. Horns are quite noticeable and ugly. Maybe you just need to have much bigger wrist than mine is (19,4mm) so that strap would less drastically fall down the wrist and those horns would then optically disappear.
But we are not finished with the bad things. Another annoying thing is the folding clasp. At the beginning one can be quite happy to see gold plated folding clasp on the watch, this gives at once additional bonus to the watch. BUT....
Folding clasp is opened by pressing two teeth. Quite normal and often seen in the clasps. Well, those teeth are big and sharp. The result is that watch or better say the strap with the clasp is VERY uncomfortable. You can see how those teeth itches my skin. Don't worry I tried to tighten the strap on several positions but simply nothing helps. Clasp is annoying. The only solution is to replace it with some aftermarket one. And to be quite honest, the strap itself is also not the best. But with better clasp strap it still is wearable. Since I had to change the clasp, I changed everything - strap and clasp. Too bad that such a stupid detail ruins the general great impression.
If the clasp is a huge disappointment, boxing is not. As such a watch - which tends to be the company's flagship - deserves, Sirius comes with really well done wooden box.
So, to conclude. I am very pleased, that Luch has done this step and delivered such an interesting watch. While wearing it, watch was well noticed among my family, friends and co-workers. Only very positive comments were received. "Oh, what a nice watch", that was a most often one. I just can't understand why has Luch not paid enough attention to clasp, which is also an important part of the watch (but can be solved easily to be honest). Maybe the clasp is not even problematic in all watches but just some of them...
Sirius is normally priced, Luch did not exaggerated with the price as a lot of ex. USSR companies tends to do.
So, if you are able to catch one Sirius in stock anywhere, have wrist big enough for it and you are willing to risk getting potentially annoying clasp, by all means take it!
I was right! Second generation of Luch watches has STP 1-11 movement instead of ETA 2824-2. That is also declared on the back plate (on my watch you can see stamp ETA 2824, new watches have STP 1-11. Now they offer four models, prices have gone up!