As a watch collector and amateur horologist, I've noticed one company flying under the radar, apparently overlooked in the clutter of brand names. That company is Volmax, a Russian watch company headquartered in Moscow.
If you are thinking about buying a Breitling or Omega or other brand of pilot or aviator watch, I'd suggest taking a look at Volmax, especially if the prices of the big Swiss brands are making you hesitant.
Although you may not have heard of them, Volmax is not exactly new on the scene. The company was formed in 2000 when a group of experienced watch professionals took over the Poljot factory. Poljot was the most recognized and prestigious name in the history of Russian watchmaking. It could be said that Volmax has taken over where Poljot left off. Indeed, the company has a great pedigree.
Volmax watches are not marketed under the "Volmax" name. Instead, the company produces and markets several different lines. My favorite line of watches under the Volmax umbrella is Aviator, a brand strongly tied to Russia's rich aviation history.
A good example of a watch in this line is the Hughes Aviator. It's a classic "aviator" watch in the generic sense of the word. The watch was developed with a marketing tie-in to the movie "The Aviator", the story of eccentric aviation pioneer Howard Hughes, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio.
The quality of Volmax watches is good and their performance compares favorably to many Swiss aviator-style chronographs – even though some models cost only one-third of the price.
Most Volmax watches are based on the Poljot 3133 chronograph movement, which has been produced since 1975. It's a reliable, hand-wound movement that serves as the heart of the watch. Other models are equipped with Swiss ETA 2671 and ETA 7750 movements.
Cases for Aviator watches are made of stainless steel. You see, true pilot watches can not be made of gold or other soft metals.
Another Volmax watch that might interest Omega Buyers is the Shturmanskie. But the name is a mouthfull, but did you know that the first man in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, wore aa Shturmanskie on the cuff of his space-suit during that historic flight?