In Soviet Russia, CCCP Watches Make the Man

Luxury watch designer Alexander Shorokhoff is bringing back the communist look.
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Luxury watch designer Alexander Shorokhoff is bringing back the communist look.
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The Great October Socialist Revolution (spoiler alert) didn’t turn out to will for the Soviets, who got off to a great start with Sputnik then spent much of the sixties and seventies waiting on line for sub-par knishes – not that “par” was a concept bandied around much outside of the Kremlin. But it wasn’t all bad: The communists made great watches. Okay, it was pretty much all bad, but the point about the watches stands.

Most of the statues of Lenin no longer stand in the cities, including Zlatast and St. Pete, where the great Soviet timepieces were manufactured. But the watches have stood the test of time and – more to the point – their design still seems relevant and hip. That’s why Alexander Shorokhoff, a famous-among-people-who-care-about-this-sort-of-thing luxury watchmaker, decided to resurrect the look with a new brand. CCCP Time is an ode to the only time of Communist precision that doesn’t result in hearings at the Hague. And the watches are fantastic. With their big numbers, muscular hands, and Kandinsky-goes-Bauhaus details (we went to college), they radiate vintage cool while looking different than the current pack of incessantly American tickers.

The best of the lot is the Shchuka 7011-22, with its appropriately dethroned crown and completely baffling if visually appealing date complication. The Sputnik 1 runs a close second, what with the numbers on numbers and the ideologically inconsistent more-is-more approach. The watches, which sell for around $400 a pop, are actually more expensive than the genuine artifacts, which can be had on eBay for tens of dollars, but they function (there is something to be said for that) and they’re manufactured in a cruelty free environment. That can’t be said for the originals, but Shorokhoff’s work is in line with that catchy slogan scrawled across countless propaganda posters: "Workers of industry! Struggle for the further development and strengthening of the industrial power of our Motherland! Widen the road of new techniques and progressive technologies!"