Pramzius is a new watch brand with the unique mission of bringing the Trans-Siberian Railroad pocket watch back, but in the form of a wristwatch. Our company has been importing watches from Eastern Europe and Russia for the better part of two decades, with names you know like Vostok-Europe, Sturmanskie and Tsikolia. In late 2015 we decided to launch our own brand drawing from our many years of experience with watches from this part of the world.
Pramzius, which is named for the mythological Baltic Ruler of Time, will use inspirations from one of the eight countries that border the Baltic Sea. For the first edition, we chose for inspiration a Russian railroad pocket watch popular in decades past built by a company that sadly ceased operation in 2007. As a result, we built this first model to be “unapologetically big” at 48 mm in order to be sized similarly to the inspiration watch. We wanted the first Pramzius to be a pocket watch for the wrist, and a quite specific one at that.
The original pocket watch maintained popularity throughout its run and was really just a cool piece. The simple dial and that amazing relief image of the train on the back made the watch a must-have for collectors of Russian timepieces as well as devotees to pocket watches. We actually sold the original watch in North America for many years before the company that built them folded, and it was always one of our co-founder’s personal favorites. He has several in his private collection.
Despite our love of the original, we knew the Trans-Siberian would have to incorporate critical updates from the inspiration piece for today’s watch consumer demands. The case, crystal and crown, among other things, are all significantly improved. The original was plated brass, and the Pramzius is all surgical-grade stainless steel.
We also know that watch owners really enjoy multiple strap options these days, so we are having three made for the Trans-Siberian – a bund or lagarto style, a nylon Zulu style, and a more traditional wide-grain leather version that still has the screw-in system for security. The base model automatically comes with two straps, with the third as an optional upgrade. And for those who love the piece but perhaps don’t see themselves wearing it, we are offering an optional cherry wood veneer stand made right here in Connecticut that can convert the Trans-Siberian into a desk clock.
For the engine, instead of a pocket-watch movement with a sub-dial second hand, we went with the NH38 open heart movement built by SII, so that the open heart displays where the sub seconds would normally appear. We wanted the quality that comes from Seiko but we also wanted to have the configuration speak to the pocket watch legacy. The open heart accomplishes both and puts a new twist on the whole theme.
With all that said, for us, the case back is as important to the watch’s identity as anything else. We insisted the case back feature the large, 3D rendering of the original train that appeared on the inspiration watch. That was really what made the original such a sought after piece. The acrylic crystal on the inspiration watch is upgraded to a K1 mineral (or optional sapphire) crystal. The watch is also a numbered, limited edition of only 999 per dial while the original was a continuous production. Nobody actually knows how many were ever produced.
The inspiration watch also had new luminous material, which is not that uncommon for pocket watches. So, that was another change we knew we would be making. We are lume nuts. We won’t personally wear watches that don’t have excellent lume and there was no way we were going to produce timepieces that didn’t rock great luminous material.
This is a watch for those who love bright, highly visible lume. The Super-Luminova on the Trans-Siberian lights up the night and splits the dark. The full-lume dial on the white model is, of course, a stand out. However the lume on the blue and black dials is also excellent, with the black sporting the coveted blue color lume. The lume on the full lume dial is C3, which is the brightest offered by Super-Luminova. The black and blue use one of the newest compounds, BGW09, which allows for the wider variety of color options. Something of note: we apply 15 to 20 coats of lume (well beyond any industry standard) and we silk screen between layers to provide the maximum illumination from the bottom layer all the way to the top.
Even though this is not a dive watch, we at Pramzius insisted on 10 ATM water resistance. Our goal was not to simply recreate the original pocket watch and put it on a strap. We wanted to create something new that is true to the inspiration but also a solid upgrade in material and workmanship. If you are a fan of big watches with stand out lume and are looking for something that won’t look like what is on everyone’s wrist, the Pramzius Tran-Siberian is definitely for you.
We have set the full retail price for the Trans-Siberian at $459 to $509, however they are currently available during the Kickstarter campaign starting at an early-bird special of $269. The watch is covered by a two-year warranty, with all servicing done by our watchmakers here in the US. We hope you can become a backer of our active Kickstarter campaign, which runs through May 8, 2017 and is already over 40% backed.
UPDATE: Based on the feedback received, we have decided to make the hands longer and wider. Renderings of the new hands can be seen in the comments below.
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