This FAQ section is a continual work in progress. We welcome your input and suggestions for additional questions and answers.
Q: What do the time frames on shipping mean?
A: We have three availability options on our watches. Products that are marked "In Stock & Ready to Ship" are in stock and will ship either the day of the order or on Monday if ordered after 10 a.m. EST on Saturday. Those marked "7 to 14 days" or "14 to 21 days" will be ordered immediately upon your ordering. The time frames are based on our past experience of how long it will take for the watch to arrive for shipping. This may not be exact and we work hard to be toward the shorter end of the window and it could take a few days longer in some cases. We send out weekly order updates via email and are happy to answer any on-going inquiries. If you pay with a credit card, we will only charge your card after we have re-confirmed we can get the watch for you and that it is shipping to us from the manufacturer. PayPal payments, obviously, will be transferred to us immediately. Our fourth option is for pre-order items that are not in stock at the manufacturer at the time of your order. A time frame that is our best available information will be posted. Anything marked "special order" we may be able to get, but we are not certain and will look into it upon your inquiry.
Q: Why Russian and Eastern European watches?
A: Our watches have a 70+ year history behind them largely unknown to the west prior to the end of the Cold War. Russian watches offer immense value for dollar spent. With the predominance of Russian watches being built with mechanical movements, Russia is in a rather exclusive club. Only Switzerland, Japan, Germany, China and Russia have on-going watch movement production of any magnitude. With prices starting around $50 and a wide range of offerings between $200 and $700, comparable watches of quality and design from other sources go for multiples more. You won't find many watches with the same prices and features as ours that also have the same quality. Some say they don't exist.
Q: Are Russian watches well built?
A: Absolutely! Our manufactures go to great lengths to ensure quality control. For instance, the Volmax company dismantles every movement before assembly of the watch, runs it through an acid wash, reassembles it and tests the watch it goes into for 30 days before shipping. Check out this Volmax factory tour clip to see the process in action. As with any country's industry, quality depends on the maker and "you get what you pay for" is a useful guide. That said, the basic Vostok automatics and manual wind watches that run between $40 to $60 are remarkably rugged and accurate for their price. During the cold war era, the Russian watch industry was much different than it is today. Back then, quantity over quality did impact production. But since the mid-1990s, the major Russian watch brands have become formidable players in the world of western watches, competing in quality and certainly affordability with the Swiss and Japanese. Production is a fraction of what it was 20 years ago, but quality and longevity have improved exponentially.
Q: Do you sell only true Russian watches and are they really Russian?
A: If a watch on our site is marked as Russian, then it absolutely is. All of the Russian movements for our watches are built in Moscow, Chistopal or St. Petersburg. There are watches produced by our manufacturers with Swiss or Japanese movements and these are clearly marked as such. We have built our business around true Russian and Eastern European timepieces with true Russian movements and will continue in that vein wherever possible. I
Q: Can you really call Vostok-Europe a Russian watch when it is based in Lithuania?
A: Even the most casual viewing of the world's watch forums and printed press will demonstrate that passions run very high on what defines the true country of origin of ANY watch built anywhere. Debates rage in the Swiss watch industry as to what should be the threshold for calling a watch Swiss or Swiss Made. In many ways, it ends up a "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" argument to our view.
Vostok-Europe actually doesn't put the words "Russian Watch" anywhere on their watches. If the watch is equipped with a Vostok movement, which is made in Russia, then the movement will be marked as such. The history of Lithuania and Russia are inexorably tied and both were part of the Soviet Union before it's collapse last century. The company is run by Russians and Lithuanians. All the watches are hand-assembled in Vilnius by Russian or Eastern European watchmakers. About 65% of the watches they produce today use Vostok, Russian movements.
For us, the watches are reasonably referred to as Russian, though we have taken to calling them "Eastern European" in an effort to avoid any confusion. We also take every measure we think anyone could reasonably expect to disclose the origin and manufacturing processes of our watches. Vostok-Europe is an excellent brand that is tied to the best of the Russian watch heritage and tradition. Whether they are technically Russian, Lithuanian or "Eastern European" we believe is secondary to the quality, reliability and functionality you get for the money from a Vostok-Europe watch.
Q: What is the difference between Poljot and Maktime and why do some of your listings show Poljot/Maktime movement?
A: Poljot, one of the most storied names in Russian watches, ceased to exist a few years back and sold off the parts of the company. This included the production of the famed 3133 chronograph movements to MakTime. MakTime is a Russian watchmaker as well, building primarily gold watches. Because of the name recognition of Poljot, we continue to combine their name with MakTime and will do so for the foreseeable future. This is intended to reflect the familiar and not to confuse. They are using the same equipment as Poljot and many of the same engineers and watchmakers. In fact, most experts agree they have improved upon Poljot's designs. Any new watch on our site with a 31 caliber based movement has an engine that is now built by MakTime. As their name recognition grows and becomes more well known, we will drop the Poljot from the combination.
There are some New Old Stock (NOS) watches on our site that use movements that were built by Poljot. We do our best to make this clear when this is the case. If there are listings of new watches where the movement is referred to as Poljot rather than the hyphenated name including MakTime this is an oversight, as websites are living organisms and changing all the time. We may have inadvertently left something from a previous listing. We work every day to clean these small errors in our text.
Q: Are all of your watches new and genuine?
A: Unless clearly marked in our clearance section as otherwise, all of our watches are 100% new, direct from the factory with all original packaging and paperwork. At R2A Watches, we take pride in the brands we represent. You won't find replica, counterfeit or unofficial watches on our site. They are out there though. Whether you buy from us or not, we encourage you to buy only from authorized retailers or distributors. To do otherwise is to risk getting an inferior watch without manufacturer warranty protection. We are happy to identify, to the best of our ability, the origin of Russian watches you find of interest on the net that we don't carry.
Q: Is there a warranty and does my watch have to go back to Russia to be fixed?
A: We provide a 2-year North American warranty. That is double what the manufacturers offer. We do this because we believe in our watches and stand behind them. Here is more information about our Russian watch warranty . The watches do NOT have to return to Russia for repair. We have a repair facility in the Northeastern United States that is run by a Russian watchmaker. As the importer of record, we have easy access to parts and can often handle non-warranty repairs (for a fee) of older or vintage Russian watches. There are times when it actually makes more sense to send a watch back the manufacturer, depending on the complexity of the issue, and this may even be faster.
Q: I can't find the position on the crown to set the date on my Russian watch?
A: That's because there isn't one. The best way to learn how to set the date on a Russian watch is to view this "How To Set The Date On A Russian Watch" video.
Q: How do you ship your watches?
A: Our primary and most often chosen method of shipping is through the United States Postal Service. We offer priority mail and express mail services, both with signature confirmation. We also offer UPS and FedEx service as an option. We do not offer Fedex or UPS as an automatic option for international orders as these services are two to three times more expensive than USPS. If you are interested in these services for international shipping, please contact us separately.
Q: Do you ship outside the United States?
A: Absolutely. We ship to many countries around the globe. If you don't find your country when you are setting up your shipping for your order, email us and we will look into it for you. There are some countries we are unable to ship to due to circumstances beyond our control. R2Awatches.com is based in Colchester, CT, USA, but we send our products world wide. The shipping charge reflected by the shopping cart will ensure that your order reaches you.
HOWEVER, you may also be liable for customs fees, once the package reaches your country. You are responsible for these charges - we have no way of controlling or predicting them. Since these policies vary widely from country to country, you are advised to contact your local postal office for more information.
R2Awatches.com will not reimburse you for these fees.
Q: What is your return policy?
A: All watch products purchased from R2A Watches are eligible for return within 21 days from the date of shipping provided they are in the original condition, are returned in the original box with all printed materials associated with the product, and are physically received back to R2A prior to the 21 days being up. Return shipping dates must be planned so R2A receives the watch before the return period is complete. Alerting R2A of plans to return a product on day 21 is not sufficient. No shipping charges will be refunded for returned merchandise. For all watches priced over $500 in price OR that are marked as ships in 7 to 14 days; 14 to 21 days; or special order we reserve the right to charge a 10% restocking fee for returns.
In the event you purchased your watch during a free shipping or reduced shipping promotional period and return within the 21 days, we will reduce the amount refunded by the actual cost of shipping the watch. The net amount refunded will NOT include our cost for shipping even though we did not charge a shipping fee when shipped.
RMA numbers are not required for a return. However, we do require that we are alerted in advance of shipping and a copy of the original sales receipt must accompany the returned item. Items purchased with a gift item must have the gift item returned as well for a refund of the purchase price of the main item purchased. Otherwise, a fee $21.99 will be deducted from any refund for any gift item kept.
Q: How do coupon codes work?
A: From time to time we offer specials to our customers. These will come in the newsletters we send out. Please note that we ONLY honor coupons for the specific offer made. Any coupon used for any item not SPECIFICALLY stated in the promotion will NOT be honored. Also, please remember you must hit APPLY when checking out for the coupon code to work. And there can be only ONE coupon used per item. No offers can be combined. Any orders submitted with multiple coupons applied to one item will not be fulfilled.
Q: Will you sell or distribute my information to any other business or website?
A: Absolutely NOT! We are strident believers in the right to privacy in general and even more so when it comes to our customers. We want long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our customers and we do everything in our power to ensure that the private information you share with us in your transactions stays that way - private. The only exception to this is if our credit card processor or the issuer of your credit card asks us for additional information as a part of fraud protection. If it becomes necessary to ask for this data, you will be aware of it as the customer and it will ONLY be shared with our credit card processor as a part of fraud protection, for both you and us, and when required to ensure that your payment will be processed without difficulty.
Q: Is your site secure?
A: We use Network Solutions site security and all payment and shipping information is sent over an encrypted connection.
Q: I spent $239 and didn't get a free item or didn't get the one I ordered?
A: If you spent $239 and didn't get a free item, most likely you didn't choose one when you placed your order. We have found that asking every time someone does not put a free item in the cart slows the shipping down too much. So, if there is no free item in with the order, we assume the customer doesn't want one. If you would like a free item after we ship and do NOT put one in with the order, we will have to charged for shipping. Sometimes, we run out of free items and if this happens, you may get a different item than the one you chose. In this case, we try to pick one as close as we can to your original choice.