Once you start learning about Russian watches, it usually doesn't take too long before you want to buy your first piece. Vostok's deep history and ties with the Russian army make this brand very enticing as a first step into the Soviet watch world.
The problem when shopping for Vostok timepieces is the scarcity of information available online. It's pretty easy to figure out the Amphibia and the Komandirskie are Vostok's most popular models, but it can be hard to find the differences between them.
In this article, I will provide all the information you need about the Amphibia vs Komandirskie, so you can be sure to get the right watch for your needs.
18mm / 22mm
The measurements in the table above are for the standard Amphibia and Komandirskie models. Both these watches have tons of variations and special editions with different case sizes, so take this table with a grain of salt.
As you can see, the case diameter, lug width, and lug-to-lug length are exactly the same on the two watches. This means a lot of parts, like the dial and bezel, are interchangeable between the Komandirskie and Amphibia.
The only measurement that varies between the two models is the case thickness. Two main factors explain this divergence. First, the crystal on the Komandirskie is a bit thinner and cheaper than the one used on the Amphibia.
Secondly, the metal used to build the Komandirskie's case is also a bit thinner than the Amphibia. It also has cheaper/lighter seals and gaskets, contributing to the thin profile of the watch. The Komandirskie is also the lighter of the two.
To finish this section, I must add that the Amphibia can also be equipped with a square case (pictured above) which also has 40mm of diameter, but instead has a 22mm lug width.
200m / 20 Bar
20m / 2 Bar
Hands & Pips
Hands & Pips
Even though the Amphibia and Komandirskie both use a domed acrylic crystal, the latter has a thinner/ cheaper acrylic crystal.
Even if the Amphibia's crystal is a bit higher quality, any acrylic crystal will get scratched very easily. This isn't that big of a deal since these scratches can be polished off easily.
The water-resistance is the biggest divergence between the two watches. As I said earlier, the Amphibia uses higher quality seals and gaskets, allowing it to reach 200m water-resistance, which is plenty for amateur diving.
On the other hand, the Komandirskie's poor leakage protection is rated at 20m water-resistance, which is odd since Vostok says you can wear it while swimming. Also, the use of a screw-down crown on such a low WR watch is questionable.
After water-resistance, the quality of the case is the second biggest differentiating factor between the Amphibia and Komandirskie. The former uses a nicely-finished stainless steel case, whereas the latter's case is made of chrome-plated brass.
This means that the Komandirskie will show wear & tear much sooner as the chrome plating inevitably starts to chip away. On the other hand, the Amphibia's case will certainly collect a few scratches, but the general finish of the case should remain the same.
It's important to note that the two watches use a chrome-plated brass bezel, so this should be the first part to deteriorate.
The case back is made of the same material as the rest of the case: brass on the Komandirskie and stainless steel for the Amphibia. While they both have a screw-down mechanism to open the case back, most Komandirskies use an ''O ring'' system, whereas the Amphibia has a ''Gasket & Bayonet'' system.
This means the Amphibia is much easier to maintain since an O ring system requires you to change the O ring every single time you open the case, whereas the gasket & bayonet system doesn't have this problem.
The two Vostok watches are equipped with lume-coated hands and hour marks, but the general consensus is that the Komandirskie has a thinner layer of lume compared to the Amphibia. I don't know if Vostok did this on purpose, or if it simply is a quality control issue.
As you can see above, the luminous phosphorescent used is of average brightness (a bit less powerful than similarly priced Seiko models).
Back in the days, both these watches used to be equipped with a manual wind movement. Ever since the early 21st century, Vostok decided to equip the Amphibia with an automatic movement.
Depending on which version you get, your Amphibia will either be equipped with the 2415 or 2416 in-house caliber, two near-identical automatic movements.
Apart from the type of winding, the big difference with the Komandirskie's 2412A caliber is the number of jewels used. The 2415/6 uses 31 jewels, compared to 17 jewels in the 2412. Technically, this means the 2415/6 should be a bit smoother and last longer (less friction).
Another difference between the two movements is the power reserve. The automatic 2415/6 uses a lot of energy, so its power reserve only lasts for about 31 hours. This is a bit disappointing considering similarly-priced Japanese watches have a 38-40 hours reserve. The Komandirskie's 36 hours power reserve gets a bit closer to the industry's average.
As for accuracy, you must know that both these movements are known for their robustness/durability much more than their accuracy. Vostok hasn't released official accuracy benchmarks, but some users say they have great accuracy, while others lack precision. This means your accuracy will greatly depend on the quality control of your piece.
As far as shock-resistance goes, the Amphibia seems to have the most ''bomb-proof'' design, but it's mostly due to the higher-quality case and components.
Diver / Military
Aviator / Military
60 Minutes / Rotating
60 Minutes / Rotating
Thick Arabic Numerals
Sword / Arrow
Nylon / Steel / Leather
Nylon / Steel / Leather
The two watches reviewed in this article both have a different lineage and history, explaining why they differ in style. The first watch produced was the Komandirskie, which appeared in 1965, the same year Vostok got appointed as the official watch supplier of the Soviet Union Army.
Even if you don't speak Russian, you can probably tell that Komandirskie stands for "Commander's" watch. This explains why this model has a rugged military/pilot look.
With all the experience Vostok acquired by manufacturing tons of Komandirskie, they developed the technology necessary for deep water-resistance. The Amphibia (which roughly translates to "diver watch") was then born.
Out of the hundreds of Amphibia variations currently sold by Vostok, there are two main bezel designs. The first one is a classic looking 60 minutes rotating bezel with numerals every ten minutes.
The other bezel layout available looks a bit distinctive, as it has numerals every 5 minutes and small squares for every minute of the bezel. (right picture above)
Furthermore, you can also buy the Komandirskie with two bezel layouts. The first one is the same as the Amphibia (numerals every 10 minutes). You should take note that these bezels are identical and interchangeable from one timepiece to the other.
The second bezel layout available for the Komandirskie is much bulkier. Like the first option, it has numerals for every 10 minutes mark, but the rest of the bezel is completely plain.
Of course, there are other special editions with different bezels.
The Amphibia's dial layout is pretty simple: you get huge numerals for the 3/6/9/12 marks and indices for the rest. In the center of the dial, you get small white indices for every minute. Of course, many special edition models have a different dial layout, but there's too many to enumerate.
Most Komandirskie models also use Arabic numerals, but the font is much smaller. Also, you get a numeral for every single hour of the day with the exception of the 12th hour, which is often marked by a communist red star.
The Amphibia has my favorite set of hands between the two watches. You get a mixed set of sword (minutes), arrow (hours) and needle (seconds) hands, which all look great in my opinion. The minutes and hours hands are usually silver, while the seconds hand is almost always red.
The Komandirskie's hands are a bit more neutral and "boring" as the minutes and hours hands both have a simple silver sword design.
Band / Bracelet
The Vostok Amphibia and Komandirskie are available with nylon, leather or metal bracelet depending on which version you get. You shouldn't care that much about which one's equipped from the factory since all these straps/bracelets are basically worthless.
The quality of the material used by Vostok is subpar, so their OEM straps/bracelets are uncomfortable, flimsy and deteriorate very fast. I don't consider this to be a problem since it is expected from such cheap timepieces. All you have to do is get a nice third-party strap (just make sure you get an 18mm strap for round cases and 22mm for square cases).
$70 to $90
$50 to $75
As I mentioned a bit earlier in the article, the Vostok Amphibia is a bit more expensive than the Komandirskie. In my opinion, the higher material quality, as well as the 200m water-resistance, completely makes up for the 20$ markup.
Of course, the price range above is for standard Amphibia models. If you start looking at special editions or vintage collectible versions, the check can climb up to several hundreds of dollars.
On the other hand, the Komandirskie is extremely cheap, as it can be bought brand new for the price of a gas tank. This does come with a few downsides such as lower material quality and lack of water-resistance, but I think it is the true definition of a beater watch. You can take your Komandirskie through hell and simply replace it when it taps out
The warranty you get on your brand new Vostok watch will depend on a few factors. First, if you buy it from the grey market, there's a good chance you won't have any warranty, so make sure that the retailer mentions a warranty.
Also, the warranty you get depends on where in the world you buy your watch from. Most U.S retailers will offer a one year warranty, while European customers often get a two years warranty.
It's important to note that you'll have to send your watch to Russia if you plan on getting it repaired under warranty. For that, you need to fork out at least 15-20$ for shipping, while also waiting weeks or months before getting your piece back.
Since both these watches are very cheap, the quality control isn't as good as it would be on a 2-300$ watch. Also, Russian watchmakers don't have the same reputation as Japanese brands such as Seiko.
This shouldn't deter you from getting either watches, but take into consideration the small chance that you might buy a lemon (faulty movement, unaligned dial, etc.).
Get the Amphibia if:
get the Komandirskie if:
This Post Has 17 Comments
I like and have both, Vostok Engineered to be Taft!
When your budget allows it, it’s always best to get both!
Hi Romeo. Great article. I always assumed the K would be higher quality. But I don’t agree about the bracelets. My Amphibia has a steel bracelet which I find perfectly comfortable and looks OK. It’s my daily beater, I love it!
It is dangerous to generalise because there are so many variations of both the Amphibia and the Komandirskie, but the I believe handwinding Komadirskies are thinner because they don’t have to accommodate the self-winding rotor of the automatic movements. Nice article though!
You’re absolutely right. I did my best to outline the differences between the two watches, but sometimes the lines can get blurry as there are so many variations.
Thanks for your comment!
Wonderful, detailed article! Thank you for sharing!
The author describes only very old models. For 15 years, both Vostok Amfibia and Vistok Komandirskie have many new models, including sapphire crystal. Komandirskie have many models with water resistance up to 200 meters. It’s a pity they can’t upload photos, I would show them to you.
Thanks for the information Emil.
This article was very hard to write because Vostok seems to mix & match almost every components between the Amphibia and Komandirskie. I will definitely try to update the article when I have free time.
Have a great day
Thanks to Romeo’s Watches
If you have any problems with the article or ambiguities about Vostok watches you write, I will be happy to help you. I have been collecting them since 1980 and I think I know a lot about them. We are talking only about Vostok ЧЧЗ ” Чистополь” – Татарстан Руссия . And not for Vostok Europa -watches manufacture in Lithuania
Nice article. I’m not sure which to get but I like them both. Its interesting that the commander watch case is chrome over brass. I’ve read that the case is steel, but maybe its changed or I got wrong information. thanks!
Nice read, very informative.
I have a secondhand amphibia just bought one for my sister who teaches aerobics and just bought a new komandirskie for my brother,
Cheap watches that have good reliability and so cheap it is cheaper to replace than repai,
I have for other watches including a solid gold rotary manual wind from 1970.
The amphibia is my favourite watch, I demonstrated its waterproof nature by putting it under a running hot water tap, the bloke I was talking to had a moder omega with a fogged up crystal ,
Not all it’s true, some models of komandirskie are automatic and have 200m of water-resistant, you need update you post
Excelente articulo,muy instructivo,muchas gracias ,tengo 2 Komandirskie 1 moderno de 24h hecho en Rusiavy 1 antiguo con caja de laton hecho en la URSS y 1Tanque en la esfera y un Amphibia antiguo hecho en la URSS,muy contentos con ellos ,gracias otra vez
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The caseback on all of the Komandirskie range is stainless steel and is secured with the same method as the Amphibia, with a ring, thinner back and a flat gasket. You should check facts before doing the review as some of it is misleading.
I have two KOMANDIRSKIE watches, one of them lasted about 2 years of use and died, and the second one lasted twice as long and died. During the time I could wear them they kept awful time, they were at least water resistant enough to wear while showering. I will never again buy a Russian made watch. I bought these at a KOMANDIRSKIE watch store in Moscow, and was told by the interpreter they were not only a legit store but a factory authorized retailer for the brand.