Sunday, May 24, 2009

Another new "Russian" watch--Slava "CJIABA" Constellation Review

СЛАВА СОЗВЕЗДИЕ (Slava "Constellation") 194B


Found this one on eBay and couldn't pass it up. Interesting story behind this one, though.

СЛАВА (or Slava, as they say in Russia) has been a manufacturer of Russian watches for decades. Whereas the Vostok watches were created mostly for the military, Slava has been known for making affordable civilian watches. I wasn't counting on it being this affordable, however...from eBay, I paid $9 for the watch, and $9 for shipping. Total price was less that $20.

I was a little worried about that, but I pulled the trigger anyway. Turns out, the Slava seems to be a nicely put together watch. And, the biggest surprise is, it keeps time better than my Vostok. Plus, it looks like a number of more expensive divers' watches. Since I got it, I've seen several watches on the Internet that the Slava obviously copies. It looks much like this Golana Aqua Pro except for the red section on the bezel. The Swiss Golana sells for over $200, and I don't think anyone who gave the Slava a close look would be fooled, but it looks pretty good nonetheless.

As I dug deeper, I found some interesting facts on the Slava. Somehow, a company in China managed to get the rights to use the Slava name. Now, it seems that they don't have the rights to the distinctive Slava logo found on some of the original Russian brands. But, they do try to play up the Russian angle by making some of the print on the watch face in Russian. Of course, Slava is spelled "СЛАВА", Constellation is spelled "СОЗВЕЗДИЕ". And, although "Automatic" is in English, the word Jewels is spelled "КАМНЯ" and Russia is spelled "РОССИЯ". Notice it does not say, "Made in Russia", it just says Russia. That's because the Slava Constellation models are actually made in China with Chinese parts.

So, it's not a "real" Slava, but, it seems to be a decent watch nonetheless. And for less than $20, if it lasts a year, I will consider that I got my money's worth.

UPDATE: 11/2011 - The Slava keeps on ticking. Still looks good, although the silver plating has completely worn off the crown. Accurate and reliable. Who would have guessed?

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