Vostok-Europe Two Caspian Sea Monsters Watch Review

Vostok-Europe Two Caspian Sea Monsters Watch Review

Posted by Craig Hester on Oct 1st 2019

Hey everybody, Craig Hester here with R2Awatches.com and thank you for joining us again today we are going to be talking about the Caspian sea monster from Vostok Europe and we're actually talking about two very different versions of the Caspian sea monster. I purposely went real divergent in terms of movements and colors and styles and so forth with the Caspian sea monster today. If you are watching this on YouTube like I always say you want to hit like and subscribe because we are loading videos all the time now and you want to get that notice so that you will see when we have something new loaded. If you're watching this on Facebook you want to join the group, Vostok Europe Timepieces. It is a closed group on Facebook and it is the best place to learn about all the latest news about the watches at R2Awatches.com and join friends who love our watches and share all kinds of great information on that group so you want to do that today.

Like I said, we are talking about the Caspian sea monster today from Vostok Europe. If you are not familiar with Vostok Europe, I'm going to give you a brief introduction, but you can find out a lot more at at R2Awatches.com where we are regularly loading videos on our blog. Particularly, there are several videos that talk about the history and how they construct watches and how they design watches and also really the best place is. Our YouTube channel, R2Awatches. Vostok Europe is a boutique watch brand based in Vilnius, Lithuania, and they build watches for going to extremes. Every watch is 100% in house designed. All of the elements are 100% custom and every watch is hand assembled at their facility in Vilnius, Lithuania. One of the things that I love about Vostok Europe and the fans of Vostok Europe love is that they build every watch around a story or a theme or an inspiration.

In this case it is they Caspian Sea monster. Now what is the Caspian sea monster? Well, it is not one of those monsters of yore that were on the maps that said, Oh, beware here there be monsters. that looked like a dragon? No, it is actually an aircraft or maybe a boat. It all depends on how you look at it. The Caspian sea monster is actually one of, was the first watch that Vostok Europe ever produced with tritium tubes. And we're going to talk about that more lately later, especially because that is a very important feature on this watch is it uses the hair light. I will get back to that. They were the first watch that Vostok Europe produce with tritium tubes and it again, the inspiration of the Caspian sea monster. What exactly is there? Let's also refer to as the Ekranoplan that was this crazy looking vehicle, and let's call it a vehicle because it's kind of a cross between the plane and a boat that was built in the 1960s by the Soviet union.

They were really interested in this technology, which is called ground effect vehicles. So basically what you're looking at is a, as an odd kind of think about the spruce goose that, you know, that Howard Hughes built this odd combination of boat plane that flies right across the top of the water, about 20 meters across the top of the water. And it creates what they call a ground effect, which is this cushion of air. It's kind of like, it's kinda like a hovercraft going across the water. Some interesting other things I that I wanted to share about the Caspian sea monster today is one that the actual nickname of the Caspian sea monster was not something that was a moniker that the Soviet union put on the plane. It was actually what the CIA called it when they discovered it in 1967 when they first saw satellite photos of this crazy weird vehicle going across the Caspian sea.

It is able to move extremely fast and carry very heavy weight loads. So it was a, a very fascinating, technological program that the Soviets had. And the other thing that I also find interesting is that even though it's technically a plane, it actually, because it looks so much like a boat, they actually put it into the Russian Navy as opposed to the Russian air force. In fact, they christened it with a bottle of champagne, before it's maiden voyage. There was only one ever built. It was actually tested all the way till 1980 when pilot error calls a crash and it sank in the Caspian sea. And then the Soviet union, because of a lot of other reasons, did not rekindle the, the, the exploration of that technology, which I think is a sad thing because it really was a fascinating, a fascinating program that they created.

At one point of clarification, I mentioned that the CIA referred to it as the Caspian sea monster, which is what we've come to refer to the watch colloquially when we talk about it, both the plane and the watch with the Caspian sea monster, but actually the official term from the Russian government and the Soviet government, which, you know, whichever you prefer. It was Ekranoplan. In fact, this is a good time to show you the case back, which is just an amazing case back work on this watch. And this is even even with the case back protector, you can see how beautiful it is. I love the case back work that Vostok Europe does by the way. I put, I feel like it's a lost art and look at it as almost like a Sunray dial on there. It's just gorgeous. Anyway, you could see on the back that it says Caspian sea monster in it.

It says Ekranoplan KM at the bottom. Ekranoplan was actually the official name, which means screen effect. Would you talk about when you're, when you're doing it as a exact translation, which of course was just their words and for what we now called ground effect or what it's called, ground effect in English. So it's interesting how that name stuck even though it was a name that was a, they grew out of their cold war relationship between the U S and the Soviet union because well, the CIA looked at it as being a monster. And actually that's a good jumping off point because this is not a small watch. You could actually say this is a sea monster because it is a fairly large timepiece. And, now the title, I'm gonna get into the actual specific specs of the watch and give you a quick tour and then we're going to get into a number of other specialty, issues that are related issues as in the wrong word, especially items, features, aspects of this watch in greater detail.

So to give you the quick tour, we've got two styles here. We have the NH-35 version in the, in oh, let me change my, excuse me here guys want to like change my perspective a little so I can get a little better on the close up here on the watch. we've got it in, the, the, what's the word? What does everybody call it? Safety. Orange. We've got it in the safety orange, which is a really bright, I mean if you like orange watches, Ooh. And then we've got it. And kind of like, it's like a tan. Maybe it's a light tan color, almost a little yellow in it. It is a really beautiful color. On the other one we have an NH-35 execution on the watch and then we have also success 21 execution. So one is going to be your automatic mechanical with the NH 35 and the other is going to be the quartz chronograph, which we're going to get into more detail later.

This is, let's check it out with my handy dandy caliper and let's see the zero it out so we'd know we'd get it right and we've got a, what do we have here? We have a 46.7 millimeter case, so let's just round up and call it a 47 millimeter case. And then in width we are at a little over 17 millimeters. So again, not a small watch. This is definitely one of the watches that are in that are in the larger end of the spectrum for Vostok Europe. I think by anybody's standards today, even though there are so many bigger, larger watches out there, a 47 millimeter watch was still being considered a large watch, especially in 17 millimeters thick. And with the knurling a lift on this unidirectional rotating bezel on here, it really does give a startling look from the, a stunning look.

It also could be startling. It is a monster after all. A stunning look on, in terms of from when you look at an edge on a, it does have the K1 mineral crystal, system, the gorilla grass really glass easy for me to say the gorilla glass system, which puts you right in the middle of the Mohs scale, nine being Sapphire, five being mineral. This is a seven. So it has nearly the scratch resistance of Sapphire and nearly the shadow resistance of mineral. This is 200 meter, I believe this is a 200 meter or 20 ATM, a water resistant watch that makes this a true professional grade dive watch. It does have the tritium tube elimination, which I'm going to get into greater detail later. These are both surgical grade stainless steel. This with the, with the bead blasted case here.

It kind of gives you a little look of titanium, but this one is actually in stainless steel. So there's no confusion that this is not actually a titanium case on this version of the Ekranoplan. They're both gonna come on the leather and there are other alternative straps that we can talk about and just a couple of minutes, in fact, we were shipped, we're going to show you a couple of packages that while they're not specifically what you would automatically get with the watch, you could put together some really cool packages with this watch where the alternative straps, that we have available on R2Awatches.com and I'll switch over here to the, to the light tan one to talk about some of the other features. It is a screw in case back, not surprisingly with it being a it with it being a professional grade, dive quality watch and all of the watches are actually are actually closed case backs.

There aren't any exhibition case backs in the current Caspian sea monster collection and they all have the etching of the Caspian sea monster on the back. So let me think about other details. It does have a multilayer dial, which is really cool. I mentioned that it does have the unidirectional rotating bezel. It is a 25 millimeter strap on this, which is important to point out because that is an odd size. But we have found that a 24 works pretty darn well on here and then you could squeeze this 26 onto and if you wanted to put an alternative strap on it, this, it's just one of those things where the design as it came together, it just didn't work. If they moved the lugs even one millimeter either direction, it just kinda changed the overall look and feel of the watch. So they stuck with the 25 on this, which was the same as the original Caspian sea monster.

Okay. So I'm going to get into some more detailed specific details. I'm going to hold up the orange here to talk a little bit about, more about the dial and about the, and about the tritium tubes. So first of all, if you're not familiar with tritium tube technology, uh, Tritium tube technology is the laser sealed glass tubes that are filled with a substance called tritium, which constantly agitates the luminous material inside the laser sealed tubes so that you get constant illumination. The tubes are guaranteed to last up to 10 years, but they're going to last longer than that because the half life of tritium is 12 and a half years. So, you know, a half life is in half and then half and then half into to almost infinity before you reach zero. Um, so it's going to be many, many years possibly up to even 25 if where you're going to see serious fade.

Uh, in terms of the tritium tube technology. But what is really cool about this particular one about the Caspian sea monster, this is the only watch in the Vostok Europe lineup that has what are called the hair lights. Now, MB Microtech is a company that makes the tubes, they make the tubes in Switzerland. In fact, I was lucky enough to do a, to have to go on a tour with Roger Segenthahler the president of MB Microtech and Gary Girdvainis, the publisher of About Time Magazine a couple, three years ago. And it was really fascinating to look at the process of how they put the tubes together. In fact, we're going to show some, we're going to show some footage here so you can see what it looks like inside the, inside the, the place where they make the tubes. What am I looking for?

What's the word I'm looking at? The manufacturing facility for the tubes. So you can see some of that and look at how really cool it is, how they put this together. The hair lights are something that's very new from MB Microtech, they'd been out maybe a couple of years now. When Vostok Europe first put these on the Caspian sea monster. When it came out, they had literally just come onto the market. And what makes the hair lights different and special than these standard tritium tubes that you see on this watch or any other? Well on most other watches that aren't using hair lights. The hair lights are the fittest tritium tubes built today. They are actually a third of a millimeter thick. I want you to think about that. The technology that it had to be put together to create hair lights third of a millimeter thick and they actually still have tritium and luminous material inside.

In fact, by the way, the luminous material inside the tube is just like any other luminous material. In this case, it's super luminova when you're talking about MB micro tech. But it's the agitation with the tritium that constantly makes it illuminate as opposed to when you're wearing a watch that has, super luminova and you have to charge it up in like preferably a UV light. The sun being the best and then it's gonna fade. That doesn't happen with the tritium tubes. Now what's really amazing about the, about the hair lights and why Vostok Europe decided to try them out, is that if you look at most watches that have Tritium, you'll see that the tritium tube on the hands, doesn't run that long. So it doesn't really span the length of the hand. And the reason for that is, and to give you a comparison, the full size Tritium tubes are about a millimeter thick.

So think about the difference between the hair lights and the full-size Tritium to what you're talking about. A millimeter thick versus a third of a millimeter. What that allows them to do is to make a much longer tube that can go on the hands. And the reason that that's important is a watch movements have only so much pressure that you can put on that pinion that holds, the hands in place before that pressure is going to cause a problem with the functioning of the, with the functioning of the movement, specifically the movement, being able to properly sweep the hands around on the, as they go around the chapter ring. Um, so you have to have a lightly, they have to be light enough for that to happen, having these hair lights and they call them hair lights because they're pretty much about as thin as a, as a human hair.

Allows you to have much greater space longer to with, with, with much greater surface area on the hands without creating more weight so that you can get that effect. So that's why the Caspian sea monsters have the hairlines. That's also why the Caspian sea monsters are a little bit more expensive than some of the other tritium tube watches that you see from Vostok Europe. And it definitely puts the Ekranoplan up there in the top tier of Vostok Europe watches. Similar to say the Energia or the Lunkhod 2 or any of the, you might make an argument that the Caspian Sea Monster is more in line with say the Anchar or the expedition underground Everest. If you're really somebody who wants to put Vostok Europe watches in tiers, and I don't know why that's suddenly become a hobby of mine lately.

Mostly I'm just trying to explain where it fits in with the brand and what you're getting in terms of whether this is more of an entry level Vostok Europe. I would say that this is mid-level to top tier. If, if you're, if you're wanting to kind of put it into the, into the overall catalog of Vostok Europe watches. Another thing that I really love about this, the, the, this particular execution from Vostok Europe with the Caspian sea monster and I'm just going to keep switching back and forth here between the two color executions is how they did. Where I put my planter there. This is how they did the chapter ring. As you can see, it's actually a lifted stadium, a little bit above, the, the main dial below. And they had these cutouts. So where the tubes are, they actually have a, a contrast in color with the tubes.

And I think that just creates such more interest on this dial. and that's not to mention the really great Giashe waves that are on the dial, like kinda hard to see in the video. But when they catch the light on your wrist. Wow. They are amazing. Oh actually is it matte orange on the orange? It's actually Matte in the, in the center orange area on the tan, which for want of a better term for beige for want of a better word for calling there. You can see how it pops and I'm going to quickly show you two. I am wearing the orange on the wrist right now and you can see back up a little bit more. Actually. Here you go. And now you can see the watch on the wrist. I have about a seven and a half inch wrist so you can see how it fits on there.

I didn't have a big wrist and they give this as a big watch, but I can comfortably wear this watch. No problem. so I really like how that like especially on here with the orange, if this dial were all orange, if those divots where the the tritium tubes are, were also orange, I think it would actually be a lot more plain. I love how that creates this, this interesting little extra color combo in the watch. And that is all goes back to the fact that they 100% design everything in house and those kinds of special touches that you're not necessarily going to get if you're working with just OEM. And when I say that, I mean when I talk about custom, I mean they design everything. They start with a blank computer screen and they end with the completed watch. OEM watches, you know, you go and you say, I want this case, I want that those hands.

I want that dial. You put it together and you slap your label on it. That is not what Vostok Europe does. Everything is 100% custom. The watch is going to come on this really cool leather strap with the contrast stitching, which looks beautiful on both edge, on both executions. Now I mentioned earlier that I was going to show you a couple of combos that you can do. First of all, the Caspian sea monster does not normally come with, is that normally come with a dry box. But at R2A watches, we add the dry box on every Caspian sea monster. Because of the fact that we do see this further up to tiers of Vostok Europe watches. As I mentioned, this is just a combo that you could possibly do. Some extra straps that are available on the site.

I mentioned earlier that it is a 25 millimeter, but you can make the 24 millimeters from the, expedition, North pole collection. Really work well on this watch. And here you can see the two orange options. Like you've got the NATO with the orange contrast stitching. You've got the all orange. There's also an actual, orange and matching silicone that's available for these watches. We don't happen to have them in stock right now, so that's why I'm not able to show you the one that officially comes with the watch right here. And then there's a black NATO and a black silicone has some other options. So we just showed, I wanted to show you a couple of packages you can put together. This is a nice combination with the black and black silicone on the beige. We've also now going to be adding a changing tool with every watch that comes with multiple straps from R2A watches.

So we can truly say that everyone is a full kit and they're going to come into the amazing Pelican dive case. And then there's another combo you can put together here is the orange on the leather. And then we have the orange silicone. And again, these are expedition North pole straps, but they work just fine. The orange silicone and the orange striped NATO, which is a really great fit for this watch. And again, we're adding the changing tool. So those are the basics of this. These two particular Caspian sea monsters from Vostok Europe. There are others available. You want to check them all out. We will be going through every single watch that is available at R2Awatches.com, at some point or another throughout our, our, this journey on these new videos that we're doing and posting on YouTube. So you want to come back.

If you want to learn more about some of the other Caspian Sea Monsters. And we did one quite recently. So this is the orange that's safety orange, that amazing safety orange with the bead blasted case. And I love the knurling on that, you know, directional bezels so awesome. And then we have the beige and I didn't even get to it and I'm not going to have time now about the 6S movement. It is just a fantastic movement with, I'm just going to quickly show you that when you activate the chronograph, how it almost sweeps like a mechanical watch. I always say there are quartz movements and there are quartz movements. These are the really high end upper echelon of quartz movements. And then of course the NH-35 that workhorse movement from Seiko with the automatic. Well, until next time, I'm Craig Hester with R2Awatches.com this has been the Caspian sea monster and Hey, keep watching. 

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