Nato Strap Collections reviews the Vostok Amphibia, a Russian diver watch that’s well built, looks great (especially when modded) and goes for <$100.
The Vostok (meaning “East”) Amphibia was designed in 1967 by Mikhail Novikov and Vera Belov, both designers at Chistopol Watch Factory with the goal of creating a watch that could withstand 200 meters of depth and perform reliably, and ultimately meet the specific needs of the Soviet Defense department. The can be regarded as the Kalashknikov of watches. It embodies the traditional Russian concepts of reliability and affordability over visual appeal. That being said, it’s really easy to mod this watch to have your own unique combination of dial, bezel and strap.
Vostok Amphibia Russian Dive Watch
The Amphibia’s caseback uses a bayonet style threaded locking ring with a rubber gasket. At high pressures the design causes the caseback to get pushed into the rubber gasket thereby increasing the water resistance as the pressure increases. Additionally the watch has a thin acrylic domed crystal, which also supports increased water resistance at higher pressures. The screw down crown of the Amphibia is very ‘wobbly’ and has a clutch between two pieces hidden inside the crown, which prevents the stem from getting bent in the case of a serious shock. The stock band is metal links and seems to be the first item that’s replaced among users. Additionally, the bi-directional bezel is also a common item that is replaced. One of the coolest things about the Amphibia has to be the infinite number of dials that can be found. The watch self-winds; however, it can also be manually wound too. Finally, while the watch does have good lume on the numbers and hands, it doesn’t last longer than about 10 minutes.
Russian dive watch Vostok Amphibia on a Black Grain Leather Nato Strap with a Bottle of Beluga Premium Russian Vodka
Thoughts on My Amphibia
I purchased my Amphibia from Zenitar’s Ebay store, which took around 40 days to ship to Canada. I chose Zenitar because he’s got a good reputation as a dealer and he has a wide variety of dial options and parts for Amphibias. I first changed the stock metal strap and replaced it with a leather Nato strap and enjoyed the watch for about 3 weeks.
I then decided to order a bezel from Murphy Manufacturing, and a bezel insert from Dagaz watches; both of which took about one week to arrive. It took about 15 minutes of work to customize my Amphibia including a new bezel, bezel insert and nylon Nato strap. Overall, I’m really pleased with the watch and the modification. I’ve received nothing but compliments on it, and hopefully I can try another timepiece from Vostok in the near future.
Supplies for Vostok Amphibia Mod