Like many product designs from the Soviet Era – architecture, cars, and even household items – Russian-made timepieces from the period have always stood out amongst the crowd. In these designs, a certain je ne sais quoi offers something out of the mould. Sturmanskie, one of these brands, has a long-standing heritage in the progress of Russian achievements. When Yuri Gagarin became the first man to ever travel out in space, he wore a Sturmanskie on the wrist. Its timepieces back then were never sold in shops. Instead, they were issued to air force pilots only.
These days, the brand is still producing quality timepieces, very much in line with the design aesthetic that the Soviet Era was famous for. Sturmanskie recently relaunched its divers’ collection, the Stingray, offering a distinct diver’s watch that stands out from any that we’ve seen before.
The Stingray plays on the idea of a dive watch by introducing elements that are unique to Sturmanskie like the dials. Textured to look like a stingray, some dials are fully luminous and contrast with the large Arabic numerals to provide legibility even under the most extreme of conditions. Others require the luminous numerals for ease of reading. Like any dive watch, function is of utmost importance and the Sturmanskie Stingray does just that with the attention to detail. And it’s not just the legibility. The Stingray’s peripheral rotating unidirectional bezel is ratcheted to make it easier to turn with a dive suit on. The crown, located at two o’clock, must be screwed down, increasing the water resistance of the piece.
In two of the Stingrays, additional bars across the dial help to shield it off from accidental knocks, a common occurrence when underwater. Reminiscent of old bronze dive helmets, they’re an interesting addition to the watch, both functionally and aesthetically. The Sturmanskie Stingrays are decidedly tool watches with a noteworthy design. Powering the timepieces are Seiko’s NH35A movement with hacking seconds for better accuracy. Its distinction as a workhorse movement also benefits the Stingray’s calibre as a dive watch.
The Sturmanskie Stingray is available at Red Army Watches (Millenia Walk, Wisma Atria, ATRIX, e-‐shop: www.redarmywatches.com) and Krasnaya (ION Orchard).