THE BIRTH OF SOVIET WATCHMAKING
Рождение советских часов


The Birth of Soviet Watchmaking is a
fully illustrated and documented history
of an industry that would rival the Swiss.

Dueber-Hampden watchmakers in Moscow
Twenty three former Dueber-Hampden watchmakers, engravers and various other technicians, who lost their jobs when the company went bust, were re-hired, on a years contract, to help train the Russian workers in the art of watchmaking. The party, including Sue Killen the only female watchmaker, left Canton on the 25th of February 1930 and spent several days in New York before setting sail aboard the RMS Aquitania on March 1st. The 8 day sea voyage was reportedly rough and ended in Cherbourg. The party reached Moscow on the 16th of March via Berlin and Warsaw. A band and a large crowd greeted them before they were taken to their allotted accommodation throughout the city.



also see... hampdenwatches.com
UPLOADING NEW STUFF!
V. O. (Wolf) Puss outside and inside his Bern Switzerland shop. 
1947 photo of the now First Moscow Watch Factory -
banners celebrate 800th year since Moscow was established.

THREE SNIPPETS FROM THE PERIOD WHEN THE FACTORY WAS BEING SET-UP.
May 3, 1930 at the technical meeting of the plant the control figures of the product plan were discussed 1930/31 and 1931/32 economic years. A call to speed up the installation of equipment was not met with enthusiasm by the American specialist John Miller. The American chief engineer said that the technical document for the installation of the works had been prepared in vain, making going faster impossible as Russians do not know English and we do not know Russian. The factory construction work is incomplete only the bridge and the installation shops are ready, and even then not in full, with only a few machines for training masters, foremen and adjusters.
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The American instructors attention was drawn to the creaking of one machine when working, especially when starting to work. To find out the reason the American took a part being made out of the mill and went to the next shop where the translator was working. So the Russian trainees quickly dis-assembled, cleaned and re-assembled the machine. When the American and the translator returned the trainee said "Tell him there are no polar bears here.", meaning they are not stupid. The trainees showed that the machine was working, the American believed the matter was settled. Later, however, a whole delegation came: the Director of the plant A. O. Vladimirsky, chief engineer of Dueber-Hampden John Miller, chief engineer of our plant A. S. Breitbert, consultant to the Director V. O. Pruss and foreman I. S. Ilyin. Director asked: "what was wrong, why did you disassembled the mill", so the trainees, in their presence, again disassembled the mill, pulled out a part and showed his chief engineer. They said the part had been covered in rust and had formed deep scratches. By the terms of the contract the Americans had been required to refurbish all the machines before sending to them to the USSR. As a result of the meeting the whole machine was refurbished, painted and looked like new.
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P. A. Markov the Russian head of the department of semi-automatic machines recalled "In the machine shop worked two American instructors Jackson and Sue Killen. She had been head of the department of semi-automatic machines, a 60-year-old women in poor health. They were reluctant to pass on their experience. We, through the translator, tried to find out absolutely everything that they knew. Frustrated we got down to concentrate directly on the machines and began to process all the details of all operations for ourselves and to record the sequence of these operations. Given that the machines are old, worn, requiring frequent adjustment, we decided to study not only how they work, but also their design elements be able to repair and adjust the machines. 
Sue Killen often did not show up for work for several days on end and on one of these days when she was absent there was a problem with the most complex machine. So we decided to fix ourselves, we disassembled it and cleaned it and put it back together successfully. This caused a scandal and the ignation of Jackson, the other American instructor in the shop.
This photo shows Jackson and Killen seated in the centre of the machine shop workers.
Charles Hammer sits to Sue Killen's left. 
Markov is on the bottom row directly below Killen and Hammer.