The Vostok Europe Anchar’s design, without a doubt, permits it to be more than the sum of its components. When you read the list of technical specifications, it sounds like a thousand other sub-$1000 dive watches. However, upon closer inspection, it appears to be something far more special.
Vostok Europe is a strange firm, which I believe is a Lithuanian branch of the more historic Russian watchmaker Vostok. Vostok Europe uses calibers from manufacturers like Seiko rather than the typical Vostok-based movements. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are some better options for those seeking a more authentic Russian watch experience. Aside from the novelty factor, I’m not sure how cool it is to own a Soviet-era mechanical watch movement. However, some of them have a reputation for being constructed like a tank and equally as ugly.
The Anchar was released by Vostok Europe a few years ago. The name is a nod to the world’s fastest submarine, which happened to be Russian. Despite the distance between Vostok Europe and actual Russian timepieces, the brand is thematically linked to Russia. To be honest, while liking their looks, I wouldn’t wear most of the Vostok Europe watches. Doesn’t it sound odd? However, I’m drawn to a handful of their timepieces. One of them is the Anchar. I’ve been intrigued about the piece since the collection’s debut, and after wearing it on my wrist, I’m not disappointed.
What is it about the Anchar that I find particularly appealing? Actually, there are two things. The look and feel, as well as the feature set. However, when both of those elements are combined, the result is a fascinating viewing. Even at this price point, it isn’t the best item ever built. The unusual and well-thought-out design, on the other hand, makes it worthwhile to pay attention to. The Vostok Europe Anchar is a substantial timepiece. The 48mm broad case isn’t too big for me, but it might be too big for others. The casing is made of sandblasted steel with a polish that resembles titanium. Although the edges are rounded, the case retains a tool-like appearance. It’s also not overly weighty at 150 grams.
The dial is set in a valley created by the large case and tall bezel. When you glance down at the watch, you’ll see three pieces that all work together visually and share a unique instrument style that is fundamental to the piece’s theme. The bezel is the first ring, followed by the flange ring, and lastly the dial itself. While each segment is distinct, they all work well together. The elements are well-balanced here, with just the appropriate amount of visual interest and legibility open space. I agree that the hands are unusual in appearance and legibility – particularly that cool-looking “arrow” hour hand.
The use of Tritium gas tubes for darkness illumination is another benefit noted on the dial. The hour markers have tubes on the flange ring, and the hands have tubes. The hour hand tubes' layout makes it simple to distinguish the hands in the dark, which I appreciate. Furthermore, removing the hour marker tubes from the main dial prevents them from interfering with the hands.
The Anchar is made by Vostok Europe, and the case is water resistant up to 300 meters. This, along with other characteristics like the rotating diver’s bezel, help it to become a true dive watch. The piece, however, does not appear to contain a sapphire crystal. However, the mineral crystal it employs has an AR coating. An etching of the Anchar submarine, which was designed in the 1960s, can be found on the back of the case.