In the beginning
In 1942 at the height of World War 2 the Moscow Watch Company was evacuated to Christopol in Tartarstan & continued to make equipment for the defence of the Soviet Union, the production of watches only resumed after the war.
During the space race of the 1960’s they rebranded their name as ‘Vostok’ like so many other Soviet watch makers, such as Raketa & Poljot, the Vostok space programme in 1961 saw URI Gagarin successfully launched into space, albeit in Low earth orbit in a repurposed inter continental ballistic missile with a capsule on top named ‘Vostok 1’.
A few years later in 1965, Vostok saw themselves being appointed the official watch makers and suppliers to the Soviets Ministry of defence. Their first creation was the Komandirskie (“Commander’s”) watch. For their second offering Vostok made the Amphibia, a stainless-steel diver that could withstand depths of 200m or 20Atm.
The original Watches sold to the military were marked “ЗАКАЗ МО СССР”, meaning “Ordered by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR”. You could only buy these through Voentorg stores, these were stores that were exclusively for service personnel.
Post Soviet years
In the early 2000’s Vostok started to branch out into the marketplace and brought out two distinctive lines for customers, first was the WW2 replicas that were named the k-43’s
and secondly there was an attempt to make a luxury line called the Kremlevskie.
Vostok supplies movements to external watchmakers such as Koliz in Lithuania, who (not so imaginatively came up with a brand of watches called Vostok Europe). As far as my research goes, that is the only connection I can find that links the two companies together.
In 2006 Vostok decided to relaunch their famous Amphibia to the general public, with the infamous 2416b movement, followed a year later with the Komandirskie models. In 2010 Vostok applied for bankruptcy, a very sad day indeed as the watches had now started a cult like following. The company went through various changes and restructuring and was eventually saved.
I will endeavour to keep this page updated and corrected in future, if anyone would like to contribute, I’d like to add a few paragraphs on watch cases and dials, if anyone wants to contribute please drop me a line.
There is a great blog post here https://www.r2awatches.com/blog/vostokeurope-watches-the-whole-story-history-design-construction-brand-ambassadors-and-more/
On the history of VostokEurope watches.