Russians aren’t generally known for their electronics or their cars, but you
may want to pay attention to their watches. The Poljot Traveller Alarm
hails from the motherland and does so with simple style, interesting
features, and some old-world charm. I bought this watch second hand and in the spirit of Russian simplicity and functionality, it came with nothing more than a well worn Poljot black leather strap with signed buckle. The Traveller is a sleek mechanical multi-function dress watch with an unusual alarm and svelte style.
- Poljot 2612 hand-wound mechanical movement.
- Separate hand-wound mechanism for alarm.
- 39mm wide.
- 20mm lugs.
- Limited to 999 pieces.
- Internal reflector to measure 3rd timezone.
- Mineral crystal.
- 3ATM water resistance (30 meters, or about 96 feet).
The Poljot Traveller is understated; measuring in at only 39mm, it is small by today’s standards, but will suit almost any wrist and all but the most boisterous styles. The Traveller features well-suited 20mm lugs, and the black dial and simple case will match up with a variety of straps. The styling is very simple: thin markers and hands on top of an inky black dial. The inclusion of a reflector makes the case appear larger then it wears on your wrist. I love reflectors (the internal bezel) whether on divers or dress watches, as they increase the perceived size of the watch but not its actual footprint. The reflector can be used to track the mean difference of an additional timezone and it manipulated using the non-screwdown crown located at 10 o’clock on the case. I found that the bezel had a tendency to wander as the crown rubbed up against my wrist, a screwdown crown would be a definite improvement.
The dial is quite glossy and seems to swallow all available light. Luckily, the hands and markers have a bright silvery finish to keep them from drowning in the shiny backdrop of the dial. The watch is of indeterminate age and the lume is almost non existent as the spaces for the application are very small. The finish on the markers and hands looks to be a nickle like plating, definitely not painted.
feature in this watch is the alarm which is activated by winding a
secondary internal movement that is tripped when the hour hand
crosses the GMT-style third hand (this hand is stationary and only
indicates the timing of the alarm — it does not actively track a second
timezone). Once the crown is extended, one can turn to set the
time of the alarm. This is accurate to the position of the hour hand
so fine adjustments may be off by a couple of minutes. When the hour hand
meets the alarm hand, a tiny hammer rapidly strikes the inside of the
case. Its intensity (and therefore volume) is relative to the amount the alarm crown was
wound. I would not describe the alarm as loud, but it is more noticeable then the digital alarm on the Citizen BL5250 I have recently been wearing.
Regular timekeeping is done by the Poljot 2612 which is
a 19 jewel mechanical hand wound movement with a power reserve of about
42 hours. The 2612 is rated to be accurate to -20 to +60 seconds a day, and my model was well within that, running around +30 (although far
worse if left case-down in my watch cabinet). The movement seems to be
well built with no rattle or excessive noise emanating from the case;
that said, the Russian 2612 movement does not hold a candle to what can be found in its Japanese counterparts for quality and accuracy, but it does maintain a cheaper price then most Swiss options.
The ticking of the watch doesn’t not sound like any other mechanical I have ever owned. The only reason I would even mention this is because the sound is very distinct in that it is exactly like the portrayal of a ticking time bomb in a movie. It is a great and tactile sound, I will often listen to the first few seconds after a winding. The Traveller is
apparently limited to 1000 pieces, and the case-back is engraved
with its serial number. A simple search of Russian watch sites will
reveal models still available for sale. I was able to procure this watch online for less than $100 shipped.
The Traveller is an example of the unique, interesting, and completely functional options available for less than department store prices when hunting online. A little searching and you may very well find yourself with something as charming as The Traveller. Is this the best watch for $100? Hardly — but for $100, it will be very difficult to find something this unique.
By James Stacey