Timekeeping in the former East Germany

Ruhla and the Kosmos

InterKosmos Soyuz 31 USSR-GDR pin badge

InterKosmos Soyuz 31 USSR-GDR pin badge

The Ruhla Watch and Machine Works was tasked with providing two time pieces for the Interkosmos Space programme between the GDR and the USSR. The first was a multi-function electronic quartz stopwatch, the calibre 87-01, developed by Ruhla specialists for recording timings for experiments to be performed by the kosmonauts whilst in space. The second item was a special souvenir watch for the kosmonauts using the new Ruhla quartz watch calibre 28-40.

Sigmund Jahn answered a question put to him about the watch he wore on his space mission. Here is a translation of his reply. (See original text)

soyuz-31 Interkosmos DDR

soyuz-31 Interkosmos DDR

“At the start, I was wearing my “normal” watch. However, in my luggage were four watches which had been produced as a special souvenir by the Ruhla watch works. There was one for each of the three Russian Cosmonauts on board the space station Salut -6 (the fourth was for me).  How many of these watches were made is beyond me.  They have been awarded in any case, even after the space flight as a souvenir. I assume that the dial was added to an existing watch .

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Sigmund Jähn


4 responses

  1. P.M.C

    Hello, I collect Ruhlas, and I`m curious regarding Sigmund Jahn watches used in space.
    Can you please clarify a few questions regarding “Sigmund Jahn`s Ruhla”:
    1- About the first image on top (sub – second, silver dial w/ blue markers picturing a rocket) was the case gilded or chromplated? Was this watch one of four “souvenir” watches as stated by Sigmund Jahn on his reply?
    2-In your topic “Ruhla in the life of East German Citizens”, the three pictures of Sigmund Jahn, looks like he`s wearing a Glashutte Spezimatic, can you confirm that?
    Thank`s in advance. Looking forward to hear news from you.
    Best regards

    January 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    • Hello PedroCosta,

      Thank you for your message and good to hear of another Ruhla Collector. Is your collection online?

      As to your questions: 1) This watch is gold plated although the plating on these watches is very thin. This watch is the watch which was produced during the space mania that surrounded Sigmund Jahn’s space flight and is often known as the Sigmund Jahn watch. They were also produced in different cases also. The other watch pictured on the page is probably the one mentioned by Sigmund in his reply.
      2) The watch pictured in the cosmonaut’s photo’s has a case and crown used by Ruhla. Do you know of a clearer photo or other information on this watch? I woud be interested in any information.

      Thanks again for you enquiry,


      January 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      • P.M.C

        Hello again, thank you for your fast response.
        I collect Ruhlas and have various derivatives: MORTIMER, ANKER, ANCRE, CLIPPER, SAXON, KAREX, ASEIKON, EUROPA, NEW CLASSIC, ALPINA,etc…) I also have various watches from Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belarus, Bulgaria, for about three years, I`ve 55 pieces from GDR, but ufortunately still don`t have my collection online (lazy of me!!!).
        I`ve posted this questions because I recently bought a dial for a project, and I was doubtfull about the plating of case.
        I do have similar watch (the quartz one w/ crown at 4 o`clock) with black textured dial, but unfortunately without any commemorative picture.:((
        I do not know of any clearer photo regarding the watch pictured in the cosmonaut`s photo, but the design of the lugs and the curved shape sure does resembles to me as a Glashutte Spezimatic….Again it`s just an assumption.
        I`m really glad that you have created this site, I hope one day to do the same and hopefully make people value this historical timepieces.
        I`m also a member on Watchuseek forum, but I don`t participate regularly at this time, I do however noticed that Ruhla brand has been referred lately on the Russian forum, but again OT. Unfortunately many people consider these watches as low grade, this must be the reason why I still haven`t found a theme forum related specifically to GDR watches.
        Again,thank you for your answers
        Best regards.
        Pedro Costa, from sunny Azores Islands.

        January 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm

  2. Pingback: TUW Ruhla Interkosmos: Remake der Uhr des ersten Deutschen im All › Chrononautix

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