Horology Books from the USSR, Part I: before 1968

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Horology Books from the USSR, Part I: before 1968

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Intro: Over the years, I've slowly put together several digitalized books about Russian horology, mostly on technical and historical subjects. The potential in these books is enormous. They contain stunning amounts of information, invaluable to the scholar as well as to the serious hobbyist. I always wanted to make them available to everyone, but never found the opportunity until cccp-forum.it made it possible. So here they are, sorted by year. Enjoy!
Credits & notes: It took time to get the books, scan them, process them, review them and finally convert them in a suitable digital format. So many thanks to German, iasb, Clockclub, Anatoli, А. Крукович, Augusta, К. Чайкин, П. Курилов, Oddy Rash, ruspolarbear, mchap, ocram, storyteller and others (feel free to contact cccp-forum.it if you don't see your name listed) whose work has made this public repository possible.
For the sake of simplicity, and homogeneity, almost all books are provided here as searchable pdf files. Of course, this repository is far from being definitive. More file formats, and possibly more books, are available from various excellent websites like http://german242.com/books/books.htm and http://ussr-watch.com/repair. And don't forget the ideal complement to this post, the huge Soviet Watch Catalogs resource.

Caveat: All documents are provided here with the sole intent to help scholars and hobbyists in their quest for information. Wherever possible, I did my best to provide accurate translations from Russian into English. However, I am no Russian nor English native speaker, so praemonitus, praemunitus, i.e. either you'll find a way to cope with my mistakes, or suggest a better translation ;)

Horology Books from the USSR
  1. Immagine
  2. Г. Канн - Краткая История Часового Искусства. Ленинградский Гублит, 1926г.
    Kann - Kratkaya Istoriya Chasovogo Iskusstva / A Brief History of Watchmaking (1926)

    An overview of the history of horology written by a pioneer of Soviet watchmaking. There is very interesting concluding chapter on the situation of domestic watch production in USSR (Watchmaking in our Republic, p.112, Часовое искусство в нашей Республике) which contains the beautiful yet dramatic appeal: It's time to shake ourselves and to realize that we can get in serious competition with foreign countries as regards watch manufacturing. (Пора нам встряхнуться и понять что и мы можем стать на путь серьезной конкуренции с заграницей в деле часового производства.)

  3. М. Гершензон - Первый Часовой. Москва, 1933г.
    Gershenzon - Pervyy Chasovoy / First Watch. Moscow, 1933

    Brief, 36pp., fictional report of a visit to the first state watch factory on the New Year's Eve of 1932, used to show the early results achieved by the Soviet watchmaking industry. The book includes several interesting photographs, unfortunately of very low quality, and some general information on the manufacturing processes, equipment and tools used at the time. Also available as a collection of images.

  4. S. Weinberg - An American Worker in a Moscow Factory , 1934
    Co-operative publishing society of foreign workers in the U.S.S.R., Moscow-Leningrad (1934)

    A book in English on the life of an immigrant New Yorker in the 1st State Watch Factory in Moscow. Perhaps there is little horological content, nonetheless it is very interesting to learn what was going on at the 1SWF in 1934. Some key figures on USSR watch production are given in the chapter dedicated to "The Soviet Watch Industry", p.18.

  5. Брейтбурт - Технология часового производства. Ленинград, 1937г.
    Breytburt - Tekhnologiya Chasovogo Proizvodstva / Technology of watch production (1937)

    A detailed treatise on industrial watchmaking, mostly dealing with manufacturing methods, production processes and automated machinery. The book is in three parts: Part I - Machining mechanism parts (with an interesting chapter on quality control), Part II - Manufacturing of case, dials and hands (very interesting, especially the last chapter on the making of watch hands,) and Part III - Production tools. Breytburt, who was technical director at the 1st State Watch Factory in Moscow, wrote this massive treatise on industrial horology just the year before falling victim to Stalin's Great Purge. Ironically, Breytburt's foreword opens with a Stalin's quote ("We are lagging behind the advanced capitalist countries one hundred years. We have to run this distance in at most ten years.")

  6. Г. Григорьев, Г. Поповский - История часов. 1937г.
    Grigoriev, Popovsky - Istoriya Chasov / The History of Watch (1937)

    A history of timekeeping devices from meridians to sport precision timing, passing through Galileo and Huygens. The chapter on the 1st and 2nd Moscow watch factories appears interesting but, unfortunately, the quality of the scan is so poor that it takes quite an effort to read it.

  7. Г. Канн - Практическое руководство по часовому делу. Выпуск I, 2-е, 1937г
    Г. Канн - Практическое руководство по часовому делу. Выпуск II, 2-е, 1937г
    Г. Канн - Практическое руководство по часовому делу. Выпуск III, 2-е, 1937г.
    Г. Канн - Практическое руководство по часовому делу. Выпуск IV, 2-е, 1938г.
    H. Kann - Prakticheskoe Rukovodstvo po Chasovomu Delu / A Practical Guide to Watchmaking, 4 volumes, 2nd edition, 1937-8

    A massive treatise in six parts spread over four volumes:
    Vol1, Part 1.Theoretical basis (Теоретические основы);
    Vol.II, Part 2.Tools and machines (Инструменты и станки) and 3.Wall clocks (Стенные часы );
    Vol.III, Part 4.Timing verification and quality assessment of the timepieces (Поверка времени и оценка качества часов) and 5.Pocket watches (Карманные часы);
    Vol IV, Part 6.Adjustment of pocket watches (Регулировка карманных часов.)
    This milestone textbook, along with Breytburt's "Technology", educated a generation of engineers and technicians.

  8. Л. Лоссье - Теория регулировки карманных часов. Станкоприбор, 1938г.
    Lossier - Tyeoriya Regulirovki Karmannykh Chasov / Theory of Pocket Watch Adjustment (1938)

    The overcoil hairspring, invented by the great Neuchateloise watchmaking-virtuoso A. L. Breguet in 1795, significantly contributed to improve the accuracy of the pocket watch, but few watchmakers were skilled enough to work with it. It was not until 1878 that the theory behind the overcoil was fully understood and actually enunciated by the French born mathematician Edouard Phillips. The director of the École d'horlogerie in Besançon, Louis Lossier, understood the importance of Phillips' work and applied it to develop new practical methods to teach and train his students with. Étude sur la Théorie du Réglage des Montres was published in 1890, one year after Phillips passed away and almost one hundred year after Breguet's invention. It is a milestone in the quest for precision timekeeping, a fundamental work on the theory and practice of adjusting the rate of the watch by operating on the overcoil. No surprise it was translated, all Soviet movements featured an overcoil hairspring at that time.
    1.Foreword, (Предисловие);
    2.Introduction, (Введение);
    3.General concepts - the laws of motion of balance and hairspring, p.9, (Общие понятия — законы движения баланса со спиралью);
    4.External influences independent of the balance wheel and hairspring, p.29, (Внешние влияния, не зависящие от баланса и спирали);
    5.Influence of friction, p.57, (Влияние трения);
    6.Changes in rate occurring from imperfections of the balance and hairspring, p.77, (Изменения в ходе часов, происходящие от несовершенства спирали и баланса);
    7.Practical implications and conclusions, p.97, (Практические выводы и заключения.)

  9. Е. И. Левитан - Часовые Механизмы Дистанционных Трубок. Москва, 1944г.
    Levitan - Chasovye Mekhanizmy Distantsionnykh Trubok / Clockwork fuzes (1944)

    Although the subject of this book is slightly off-topic, the book itself is not, as a mechanical fuze is very similar to an alarm clock. In fact, Levitan's book often appears in the bibliography of other watchmaking textbooks. There are interesting considerations on mainsprings, energy storage and transmission through gears, tooth profiles, compensated balance and its moment of inertia and so on. A couple of experiments carried out at the 1st State Watch Factory are also included, and the 2nd Watch Factory is quoted once too. Summary:
    1.Clockwork motors of the mechanical fuze (Двигатели часовых механизмов механических трубок);
    2.Clockwork gear system of the mechanical fuze (Колесная система часовых механизмов механических трубок);
    3.Operation of the mechanical fuze (Ходы механических трубок);
    4.Adjustment of the mechanical fuze (Регуляторы механических трубок);
    5.Construction of the mechanical fuze (Конструкции и работа механических трубок.)

  10. В. С. Флигельман, И. Ю. Рогинский - Часовые Механизмы. Ленинград, 1947г.
    Fligelman, Roginski - Chasovye mekhanizmy / Watch mechanisms (1947)

    A complete textbook for the vocational schools of watchmaking, providing the fundamentals on mechanical watches, mechanical clocks, longcase clocks, chiming mechanisms, electric clocks and clock systems. Both practical and technical, it is not an easy book at all. A relaxing chapter 10 provides a very short overview of Soviet watches like Type-1, Molnija, ZIF, ZIM and the SM-60 stopwatch, and then continues with Swiss watches like Pavel Buhre, Zenith, Omega, Longines, Waltham, Tavannes, Cyma. Summary:
    Part I - The mechanical watch (Механические Часы);
    1.Introduction, p.5, (Введенные);
    2.Fundamentals of timekeeping devices, p.11, (Основы устройства часов);
    3.Watch motor, p.18, (Часовые двигатели);
    4.Gear train, p.42, (Колесная система);
    5.Pendulum, p.99, (Маятник);
    6.Pendulum clock escapements, p.113, (Ход для маятниковых часов);
    7.Chiming mechanisms, p.130, (Боевые механизмы);
    8.Balance and hairspring, p.146, (Баланс и спираль);
    9.Balance watch escapements, p.163, (Ход балансовых часов);
    10.Types of watch and their characteristics, p.217, (Типы часов и их характеристики);
    Part II - The electric clock (Электрические часы);
    11.Introduction, p.241, (Введение);
    12.Main parts and components of the electric clock, 244, (Основные детали и узлы электрочасов);
    13.Primary clock, p.250, (Первичные электрочасы);
    14.Secondary clocks, p.259, (Вторичные электрочасы);
    15.Synchronous clock, p.266, (Синхронные часы.)
    The version distributed here is a post processing of the original scan, where every page has been retouched to increase readability. The original, very low-contrast version is also available here. Unfortunately, p.194 and p.195 are missing from both versions.

  11. М. Г. Раппопорт - Ремонт часов. Устройство, теория и практика ремонта. Москва, 1948г.
    Rappoport - Remont Chasov. Ustroistvo, teoriya i praktika remont / Watch repair. Device repair, theory and practice (1948)

    A short technical overview for the watch repairer in seven chapters:
    1.Materials applicable to the manufacture of watches (Материалы, применяемые для изготовления часов);
    2.Metals machining. Special tools and devices (Механическая обработка металлов. Специнструмент и приспособления);
    3.Heat treatment of steel parts (Термическая обработка стальных деталей);
    4.Mechanism of watch (Устройство часового механизма);
    5.Wall clocks (Стенные часы);
    6.Alarm clocks (Будильники);
    7.Pocket and wrist watches (Карманные и наручные часы.)

  12. В. Н. Беляев - Анкерный спуск. МАШГИЗ, 1951г.
    Beliaev - Ankernyy spusk / The lever escapement (1951)

    A detailed explanation of the lever escapement for the watch repairer. The books opens with a quick overview on Pobeda, Zvezda and Salyut watch models, then describes in great detail each component of the escapement, pivots included, and it ends with a brief, yet interesting, chapter on lubrication.

  13. А. М. Пинкин - Ремонт часов. Машгиз, 4-е, 1952г.
    Pinkin - Remont Chasov / Watch Repair (1952)

    Nice basic handbook à la De Carle for the practical watch repairer. A successful one, by the way. This is the 4th edition (!)

  14. И. С. Беляков - Часовые механизмы. Машгиз, Москва, 1957г.
    Belyakov - Chasovie Mekhanismi / The Mechanism of the Watch (1957)

    Theory and practice in this complete textbook for the schools of watch and clock making. There are brief overviews of the aviation cockpit-mount clocks АЧХО and АВРМ, the SM-60 (СМ-60) and one Lemania stopwatches, the Molnija ChK-28 (28 ЧК, here called ЧСМ) pocket chronograph, and the old watch timing machine P-12 (П-12.) The book ends with some interesting tables where domestic wrist and pocket watches like Pobeda, Zvezda and Molnija are compared to import counterparts like Timex, Certina or Zenith. 336 pp.
    1.Time and its measurement. Classification of timepieces (Время и его измерение. Классификация приборов времени);
    2.Timepiece motors (Двигатели механических часов);
    3.Timepiece gears (Зубчатые передачи часовых механизмов);
    4.Escapements designation and classification (Назначение и классификация спусковых механизмов);
    5.The detached lever escapement in balance wheel watches (Свободный анкерный спуск балансовых часов);
    6.The pin pallet and the chronometer escapements (Штифтовый и хронометровый спусковые механизмы);
    7.Fundamentals of design and manufacturing of pendulum regulators (Основы расчета и конструирования маятникового регулятора);
    8.Fundamentals of theory, calculation and design of the balance regulator (Основы теории, расчета и конструирования балансового регулятора);
    9.The main components of the watch (Основные конструктивные элементы часов);
    10.The main types of mechanical watches and watch mechanisms (Основные типы механических часов и часовых механизмов);
    11.Classification of electric timepieces. Primary and secondary electric clocks (Классификация электрических часов. Первичные и вторичные электрочасы);
    12.Accuracy of timepieces and its testing (Ходовые качества часов и их испытания.)

  15. С. В. Тарасов - Текхнология Часового Производства. Машгиз, Москва, 1958г.
    Tarasov - Tekhnologiya Chasovogo Proizvodstva / Technology of watch production (1958)

    Twenty years after Breytburt, Tarasov's "Technology" marks a new cornerstone in horological literature. The new industrial processes of USSR, the then 2nd world's largest watch manufacturer, are thoroughly described and only few areas are left uncovered. This book has virtually no Western counterpart. A 2nd enlarged edition was published in 1963.
    1.Fundamentals of technology, p.7, (Общие основы технологии);
    2.Metals used in watch production, p.46, (Металлы часового производства);
    3.Stamping processes, p.66, (Холодная штамповка);
    4.Automatic turning, p.110, (Токарно-автоматные работы);
    5.Milling the teeth of gear wheels, pinions and clutches, p.177, (Фрезерование зубьев колес, трибов и муфт);
    6.Basic machining operations for plates, bridges and cocks, p.225, (Основные операции обработки платин и мостов);
    7.Machining the escapement parts, p.285, (Обработка деталей спускового регулятора);
    8.The manufacture of cases, dials and hands, p.321, (Изготовление корпусов, циферблатов и стрелок);
    9.Finishing operations, p.349, (Отделочные операции);
    10.Assembly and adjustment of watches, p.399, (Сборка и регулировка часов);
    Conclusions, p.461, (Заключение);
    Bibliography, p.465, (Литература);
    Appendices, p.466, (Приложения.)

  16. С. В. Tarasov - Technology of Watch Production. IPST, 1964
    English translation of Tekhnologiya Chasovogo Proizvodstva (1958)

    In 1964 the IPST (Israel Program for Scientific Translations) published the English translation of Tarasov's "Technology". A very rare book. (see Tarasov - Technology of Watch Production (1956) on CCCP-Forum.it and Tarasov – Technology of Watch Production on WUS)

  17. Б. Д. Петров - Эксплуатация и ремонт измерителей времени. Картфабрика ВМФ, 1958г.
    Petrov - Ekspluatatsiya i Remont Izmeriteley Vremeni / Maintenance and repair of Timekeepers (1958)

    A very practical handbook issued by the USSR Navy (ВМФ) to check and maintain their "измерителей времени", i.e. time measuring devices (here below abbreviated as TMDs.) Six rich chapters:
    1.Design and operation of TMDs (Устройство и принцип действия измерителей времени);
    2.Basic concepts to measure the accuracy of TMDs and methods of verification (Основные понятия о качественных показателях хода измерителей времени и методах их проверки);
    3.General indications for the repair of TMDs (Общие указания по ремонту измерителей времени);
    4.Design features, checks, repair and adjustment of TMDs (Конструктивные особенности устройства, проверка, ремонт и регулировка измерителей времени);
    5.Cleaning, oiling and storage of TMDs (Чистка, смазка и хранение измерителем времени);
    6.Device for checking the accuracy of TMDs, PPCh-4 (Прибор для проверки точности хода часов ППЧ-4.)
    Two special notes. Chapter 6 describes how to use the most respected PPCh-4 tube-driven watch timing machine, of which even the schematics is given in the very last page of the book. Chapter 4 includes important references to the most used USSR Navy timepieces, namely: Molnija ChK-6 (ЧК-6) pocket watch, Molnija Kapitanskie ChK-28 (28 ЧК) pocket chronograph, Zlatoustovskie SM-60 (СМ-60) stopwatch, later Agat, marine clock MCh (морские часы МЧ,) marine chronometer MKh (морской хронометр МХ,) deck watch ChP (часы палубные ЧП,) contact-driving clock KPCh (контактно пусковые часы КПЧ,) deck clock with time counter for torpedo boats ChS 19(часы 19 ЧС,) electrical pendulum and master clock distributor EPChM (часы ЭПЧМ,) clockwork devices for recording diurnal or weekly data from meteorological and hydrological instruments (часовые механизмы для самописцев суточные МЧС и недельные МЧН,) and other timers and timing devices.

  18. Дональд Де Карль - Сложные часы и их ремонт. Машиностроение, 1960г.
    De Carle - Slozhnyye chasy i ikh remont / Complicated watches and their repair (1960)

    A classic handbook by Donald De Carle, one of the very few Western horological books translated into Russian.

  19. В. В. Трояновский - Ремонт часов. Машгиз, 1961г.
    Troianovski - Remont Chasov / Watch Repair (1961)

    Troianovsky's handbook is a precious snapshot of a then continuously growing industry. With many million watches and clocks circulating in USSR at that time, the need for routine maintenance and repair had skyrocketed. This book provides practices, tools, methods, a little theory and information on newly developed timepieces to the watch repairer working in small workshops.
    There are quick notes on Zvezda, Pobeda, Molnija, Zarja and even the old Type-1, by then made in Zlatoust and renamed K-43, hints on how to use the PPCh-4 (ППЧ-4) timing machine. Chapter 4 includes an overview of automatic watches, chronographs and stopwatches including the SM-60 (СМ-60,) the 1-SD (1-СД) and the ChK-28 (28 ЧК) along with the special cockpit-mount flight chronograph Molnija АЧХО. Chapter 5 and 6 deal with mechanical alarm clocks, desk clocks, wall clocks, grandfather clocks, and electromechanical time-reference pendulum clocks like the ЭПЧ-2 and the ЭПЧГ master clock. Among the electrical watches we even find a description of the Hamilton Ventura, made famous by no less than Elvis Presley (!) in the same year this book was published (1961.)
    Fascinating is the concluding chapter, which explains how to organize the business and the activities of a repair workshop.
    1.Household devices for the determination of time (Бытовые приборы определения времени);
    2.Tools, machines, methods of work (Инструмент, станки, приемы работы);
    3.Mechanical elements of small caliber wrist- and pocket-watches and their repair (Элементы механических часов малых калибров, наручные и карманные часы, и их ремонт);
    4.Repair of complicated watches (Ремонт сложных часов);
    5.Clock repair (Ремонт крупных часов);
    6.Repair of electrical and electro-mechanical watches (Ремонт электромеханических и электрических часов);
    7.Organization of production of watch repairs (Организация производства по ремонту часов.)

  20. Н. В. Сидоров - Эксплуатация электрочасовиых устройств. Москва, 1962г.
    Sidorov - Ekspluataciya Elektrochasovyh Ustroystv / Operation of electric timing devices (1962)

    A detailed, hands-on description of electric clock devices for public and industrial purpose. The book is practical, with almost no theory, and describes the operation of master and secondary time distribution systems, street clocks, automotive clocks and badge-printing systems, with a chapter on maintenance. Incidentally, this is an important part of everyday life even today and it is the main business of the still existing Research Institute of the Watch & Clock Industry, the NiiChasProm. See <summary>

  21. О. Ф. Тищенко - Зубчатые передачи часовых механизмов. МАШГИЗ, 2-е, 1963г.
    Tishenko - Zubchatye Peredachi Chasovykh Mekhanizmov / Watch Gears (1963)

    Five chapters, 212 pp. total, for this high-level mechanical engineering treatise on the theory of gear wheels, tooth profiles and optimization of energy transmission through the gear trains of the watch. 2nd edition. Tishenko's treatise has been used listed in the bibliography of almost all technical textbooks.
    1.General characteristics of watch gears (Общая характеристика часовых зубчатых механизмов);
    2.Analysis of meshing watch gears (Исследование часовых зубчатых зацеплений);
    3.Analysis of the involute profile in watch gears (Исследование эвольвентной зубчатой передачи часового механизма);
    4.Calculation of tolerances in watch gears (Расчет допусков в часовых зубчатых передачах);
    5.Verification of watch gears (Контроль часовых зубчатых передач.)

  22. И. С. Беляков, С. Е. Крепс, П. Д. Сурин - Ремонт часов. Госбытиздат, Ленинград, 1964 г.
    Belyakov, Kreps, Surin - Remont Chasov / Watch Repair (1964)

    A general-purpose, basic handbook on watch repair, intended as a guidance for "watchmakers who do not have much experience" working in small workshops. Summary:
    1.Theoretical basis and principle of operation of watches (Теоретические основы и принципы действия часов);
    2.Design of wrist and pocket watches (Конструкция наручных и карманных часов);
    3.Tools in watchmaking workshops and general guidelines on watch repair (Оборудование часовой мастерской и общие указания по ремонту часов);
    4.Principal and auxiliary materials and semi-finished products, used in watch repair, and certain types of metal treatment (Основные и вспомогательные материалы и полуфабрикаты, применяемые при ремонте часов, и отдельные виды обработки металлов);
    5.Repair of wrist and pocket watches (Ремонт наручных и карманных часов);
    6.Design and repair of alarm clocks (Конструкция и ремонт будильников);
    7.Design of wall clocks and their repair (Конструкция настенных часов и ремонт их);
    8.Design and repair of stopwatches, chronographs and chronometers (Конструкция и ремонт секундомеров, хронографов и хронометров);
    9.Watch lubrication (Смазка часов);
    10.Adjusting the watch to accuracy (Регулировка часов на точность хода);
    11.New forms of work organization and structure of the enterprises for watch repairs (Новые формы в организации труда и структуре предприятий по ремонту часов);
    12.Organization of the acceptance of the watch to repair and specifications of the watch after repair (Организация приема часов в ремонт и технические условия на часы после ремонта);
    Appendices on the work at the Mosremchas watch repair workshop in Moscow («Мосремчас», Москвы Ремонт Часов.)

  23. Б. М. Гапеев, С. Е. Крепс, П. Д. Сурин - Чистка часов. Легкая индустрия, Москва, 1965г.
    Gapeyev, Kreps, Surin - Chistka chasov / Cleaning of Clocks (1965)

    Despite its title, this handbook is a general overview on clocks maintenance plus a chapter on wristwatches (Pobeda.)
    1.Timekeeping devices (Устройство часов);
    2.Maintenance of clocks (Уход за часами);
    3.Tools (Инструмент);
    4.Desk clocks (Настольные часы);
    5.Alarm clocks (Будильники);
    6.Spring driven wall clocks with (Настенные часы без боях);
    7.Weight driven wall clocks (Настенные часы с боем);
    8.Wristwatches (Наручные часы);
    9.Defects and corrections (Дефекты, подлежащие исправлению.)

  24. Дональд Де Карль - Руководство по ремонту часов. Машиностроение, 2-е, 1965г.
    De Carle - Rukovodstvo po Remontu Chasov / Practical Watch Repair (1965) 2ed

    The 2nd edition of one British classic of watchmaking from Donald De Carle, maybe the world's most famous watch repair handbook.
/* --- end of Part I --- */
last updated: May 12, 2016
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