THE BIRTH OF SOVIET WATCHMAKING
Рождение советских часов

On the 30th of December 1927 the Labor and Defence Council published a decree that charged the Supreme Council of the Peoples Economy to establish a watch and clock factories from scratch.

A commission was established and planned to visit Germany, Austria, France, Czechoslovakia and Switzerland. The commission was then sent into America where they visited around 21 precision engineering plants, including 8 watch factories. At the beginning of 1929 at a meeting with the Amtorg Trading Corp., which had located the factories and planned the US visit, commission leader Andrey Bodrov reported that "the manufacture of watches in America was at a considerably higher level than in Europe. In contrast to the half-amateur European method of the production, America was almost fully automated". Bodrov proposed to purchase America equipment for the production of watches. 

On the 25th of February 1930 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 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.


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

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