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wotsch

Modding a Vostok Amphibia - resources, tips and tricks

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wotsch    274

I've had much pleasure modding my Vostok Amphibias and may have contributed to the spread of the Vostok modding virus around these parts.

I've had quite a few questions via PM on this and other forums, so I thought it might be a good idea to get this thread going as a resource for budding modders. The idea is to collect together links to useful resources and have a place where we can share tips and tricks about this curious affliction.

To get things started...

 

Where to buy your Amphibia New

There are various sources of new Amphibias online. The most well known are Meranom and the Zenitar eBay shop:

http://meranom.com/

http://stores.ebay.de/zenitar-store

 

Both seem to be reliable. Meranom seems to be the only source of the Special Edition “SE” models. Shipping from zenitar seems to be (slightly) faster, although shipping from Russia always takes some time due to customs. There are a number of other sources online, for example:

http://stores.ebay.de/GOODS-FROM-USSR-AND-RUSSIA

http://chistopolcity.com/

...and plenty more.

 

Where to buy your Amphibia Used

Ebay is the obvious source with plenty of newer Amphibias on sale as well as older ones from USSR times. As with any purchase from eBay, checking descriptions, photos and the seller's feedback are to be recommended. Forum sales sections are also a good source of used Amphibias.

 

What mods can I consider?

Bezels and bezel inserts:

The simplest mod is a bezel swap and the majority of mods don't go much further than this. A well-chosen bezel and insert can transform the look of an Amphibia.

There are a few sources of bezels, depending on the desired result. Some of the best-known sources of bezels are:

boris_gvb on eBay: http://stores.ebay.de/VOSTOK-POLJOT-WATCHES-FROM-RUSSIA?_rdc=1

Dave Murphy: http://murphymanufacturing.com/

Am-Watches: http://www.am-watches.com/accessories-bezels-c-44_45.html

 

Another alternative is to modify the stock bezel, e.g. via sanding off the chrome, dipping in egg or burying in the garden, for example:

here: http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217#post2097942

here: http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.php?325643-Vostok-Amphibia-mods&p=3672086&viewfull=1#post3672086

 

Some skilled modders make their own bezels, but this requires access to the right tools and the right level of skill to do. Here's an example:

http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217#post2097568

 

Hands:

Changing one or more of the hands on an Amphibia is a subtle way of changing the appearance.

Hands for a Vostok Komandirskie will fit unmodified on the Amphibia. New Amphibia and Komandirsie hands can be sourced, for example, from the favinov eBay shop:

http://stores.ebay.de/GOODS-FROM-USSR-AND-RUSSIA

 

I can't confirm this, but there are reports that SE models from meranom use hands with a different specification to the hands on a standard Amphibia (it has been suggested that the SEs have movements also used in the Turbina models) and these are not interchangeable. I haven't been able to find a source for SE hands, other than buying a whole SE watch from meranom.

 

Dials:

Amphibia dials can be swapped easily, and dials can be sourced from meranom, zenitar, favinov (linked above) and many other sources. Some modders make their own dials, often with stunning effect.

E.g.

here: http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.php?325643-Vostok-Amphibia-mods&p=3672086&viewfull=1#post3672086

or here: http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217#post2097942)

 

Cases:

Amphibia movements and dials can be swapped between the different case types at will to get the right combination for your mod. New cases, both polished and matte, can be sourced from the shops linked above. The factory matte finish is quite rough. Although this can be fine for a mod, depending on the look that is to be achieved, a much nicer finish can be achieved by bead blasting. Some modders have the equipment to do this themselves and occasionally will do this for other modders active on the same forum. Alternatively, a metal shop can do this for you.

 

Straps:

A well-chosen strap can make a huge difference to an Amphibia. There are lots of online shops selling straps.

 

Tutorials and other online resources

Great picture-book guides from Dave Muphy on how to do a bezel swap and how to glue the insert:

http://murphymanufacturing.com/vostok_tutorial.html

http://murphymanufacturing.com/insert_tutorial.html

 

A detailed description of a bezel replacement:

http://www.webwatchworld.com/vostok-amphibia-bezel-replacement/

 

A picture-by-picture description of dismantling an Amphibia, including removal of the case-back, movement, hands and dial:

http://forums.watchuseek.com/f54/anatomy-vostok-68330.html

 

Please add your links, tips, tricks and links.

-wotsch

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SBryantgb    10,115

Fantastic thread idea... thanks for taking the time:thumbsup: Hopefully Roy will make it a sticky

Edited by SBryantgb

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Krispy    2,802

Hi Wilf,

What a great post, very informative.  I may just make this a sticky unless there's any objections??

:thumbsup:

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Krispy    2,802
8 minutes ago, SBryantgb said:

Fantastic thread idea... thanks for taking the time:thumbsup: Hopefully Roy will make it a sticky

 

6 minutes ago, wotsch said:

Go ahead. No objection.

Stuck!

Nice one Wilf

Wouldn't hurt to also link through to some of your recent examples too...

 

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jsud2002    4,211

Thankyou for creating this thread it is very useful and an interesting read . well done :thumbsup:

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wotsch    274
On 9.12.2015 at 22:33, Krispy said:

Wouldn't hurt to also link through to some of your recent examples too...

Good idea, mine are all in this thread:
http://www.thewatchforum.co.uk/index.php?/topic/94938-amphibia-mod/&page=1

 

Here are a few of my favourite simple bezel/insert and strap swaps:
http://www.thewatchforum.co.uk/index.php?/topic/94938-amphibia-mod/&do=findComment&comment=986594
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217-17#post2461148
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217#post2098613
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217#post2098613
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217-9#post2421742
http://www.thewatchforum.co.uk/index.php?/topic/94938-amphibia-mod/&do=findComment&comment=961518

 

Here some of my favourites with more ambitious bezel swaps.

A custom made bezel:
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217-3#post2130141

With the chrome taken off the original bezel:
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217-10#post2423540

Another with the chrome removed from the original bezel:
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217#post2097609

With a bronze bezel:
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217-29#post2650504

 

My favourite mods tend to have a number of changes.

On this one, the case and strap have been bead blasted (by the same bloke who did my case here: click):
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217-22#post2515202

The case, strap and bezel on this one have been bead blasted and the bezel painted:
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217-20#post2483117

On this one, the dial and movement has been taken from a Neptune and put in to a bead blasted case along with a bead blasted plain bezel:
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217-37#post2747440

This one has the case and a home-made bronze bezel grit blasted for a stunning finish:
http://www.thewatchforum.co.uk/index.php?/topic/90969-wet-bank-holiday-amphibia/&do=findComment&comment=910633

This one is great. He's selected case, dial, hands, bezel, insert and strap to create a homage to a mechanical calculator:
http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.php?355407-The-Curta-Amphibia

This one is a Komandirskie with the plating removed from case, crown and bezel:
http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.php?325643-Vostok-Amphibia-mods&p=3430436&viewfull=1#post3430436

This one (first pic) has the plating removed from the case and bezel, possibly a custom crown, a home-made dial and different hands:
http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.php?325643-Vostok-Amphibia-mods&p=3672086&viewfull=1#post3672086

The case and bezel on this one has been hand matted, the dial indices and hands have been painted black, and superluminova has been added:
http://uhrforum.de/vostok-amfibia-modding-t172217-14#post2433955

 

I hope this gives you some inspiration.

-wotsch
 

 

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jsud2002    4,211

Some lovely combinations you have found , I have spent most of the weekend on Meranom website deciding what watch to buy for my first mod I want something that little bit different just cant decide what 

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wotsch    274
47 minutes ago, jsud2002 said:

I hope its ok to add this link

Of course it's OK. The more material linked in the thread, the better.

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Shikef    2

Thank you for creating such a useful thread!
I read many useful articles and decided to buy a Vostok Amphibia. I ordered it from Russian store https://vostokamphibia.com, the watch was delivered in 45 days. I am happy that the quality of my watch is excellent for this price. I will be ordering more as my friend likes it too. Frankly speaking, I would like to change the strap on my Vostok from metal to leather, I like the latter more. I also want to share the article about Vostok Amphibia watches, if you do not mind: http://www.webwatchworld.com/vostok-amphibia/ I guess, it will be interesting for you.

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wotsch    274

I'm afraid I have to report some problems with one of the bezel makers I recommended in my first post above.

I can no longer recommend pers184 as a source for bezels. Details here: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f63/bad-experience-pers84-3443842.html

Unfortunately, I can modify the original post. If a moderator could remove the applicable line in the first post, I'd appreciate it.

-wotsch

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wotsch    274

Yes, I have. He's been reliable so far and sends his wares lovingly packed. I have a bezel from him that's going on my next mod, if it suits, and I've ordered a couple of inserts from him.

He's been expanding his line of Vostok parts and I agree with you that some of them are very interesting.

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Krispy    2,802

Thanks Wilf.  I might try a few bits out on some of mine, I'd be interested to hear about (and see) how the bezel fits.  Any clues or will we have to wait for your next reveal?!

Some of the case backs look good too - although a lot deeper than the standard issue ones?

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WRENCH    9,291
4 minutes ago, Krispy said:

I quite like the look of these, just not sure how it would make the watch sit?

6dbcf5a1280c370462df0718067ec021.jpg

Price is very reasonable, I see he recommends a new ring to finish it off.:)

s-l1600.jpg

Might take a punt, next month.

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jsud2002    4,211
1 hour ago, Krispy said:

Has anyone used Dr.Seikostain on eBay? He's knocking out some interesting bits...

I used him for my coin bezel and gun metal grey insert . He is a friendly chap to talk to via email and has some amazing stuff on his  facebook page 

20arj2r.jpg

 

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wotsch    274
59 minutes ago, Krispy said:

Any clues or will we have to wait for your next reveal?!

A few more weeks unless I find time of an evening. The case is off being bead blasted and I've got a lot on for the next few weekends. But I'm looking forward to this one, so I'll be putting it together as soon as I find the time.

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Robden    4,302
54 minutes ago, WRENCH said:

This one is on my list.

s-l1600.jpg

I used one of these on a 420 case and the undercut just about cleared the crown, whereas other bezels wouldn't.

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Draygo    1,617
On 12 August 2016 at 21:16, Krispy said:

Has anyone used Dr.Seikostain on eBay? He's knocking out some interesting bits...

Yes, I have, too. I'm really pleased with mine - quality seems great - and as @wotsch says, it came beautifully packaged.

I went for the one that's frankly a bit of a beast :biggrin: and added one of the Dr's inserts too.

It's on an old self-brushed 710 case for now, with a new Meranom all-steel crown.

P1050061_zpsmoo1l43j.jpg

P1050054_zpsnzgxllll.jpg

P1050055_zpspn5tztfg.jpg

P1050059_zpsr4858xtx.jpg

 

I like the knurled edge - I'd really like a Vostok crown with knurling. 

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Krispy    2,802

That looks really good @Draygo, thanks for sharing.

No issues with the crown / bezel getting in each other's way on the 710 and does the crystal still sit proud of the bezel?

I have one of your brushed 710 cases - it's a real improvement on the original.  Did you ever post how you did it? (sorry for being lazy and not searching :blush:)

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