The Elektronika B6-02

May 14, 2006

There doesn't seem to be a lot of information on the internet about the first (is it?) Soviet digital watch, apart from this and this, so let's see what we can add.

Getting one

I found my Elektronika B6-02 (Электроника Б6-02) in the summer of 2005 in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi at a large flea market where I was looking for cameras and calculators. Digital watches were something I'd had in the back of my mind ever since my Estonian friend Sander introduced me to the lure of old LED models, so recognizing this one as vintage (but unfortunately not LED), I pounced on it. Since the seller didn't speak any English, and my Georgian is just about as good as my Russian, we had to resort to the international language of hand gestures and eye contact. My one single phrase of trade Russian ("rabotayet?" − does it work?) and his response of "da, da, rabotayet" and sticking eight fingers in the air put the price of a working B6-02 at eight Lari, just four Euros, including the display case and passport. From that point on, it was me, my watch and a big smile on my face.

Two weeks later, back home in Holland, having miraculously steered the brittle watch case through two thousand kilometers of harm with just a few hair cracks incurred, I decided to give a shot at reviving the watch. My watch opening key didn't work on this one, so I had to use a tiny screwdriver to catch the nooks and be careful not to slip. Thank God nothing was stuck, the case came apart easily. Out fell two Russian cell batteries, bulged up but thankfully not leaking. Using replacements from my drawer, I expected the watch to come up beautifully, but... nothing. No reaction at all. Knowing these old watches, I just kept on fiddling till I eventually got a response. Finally, rabotayet, and beautifully too!

The display case The entire watch


The face of the B6-02 is slightly large, but not out of the ordinary. What makes it look big is its height. The height is accentuated by recessing the display into the case, way down like a bomb timer. Most of the height seems unnecessary and is probably just cosmetic. The top of the case has a slightly grooved pattern that scatters the light and gives a soft chrome look. On the side are three buttons, А, Б and В (after the first three letters of the Cyrillic alphabet), which respectively zero the seconds (which are not displayed), set the hour and set the minute. When you set the hours and go past 23, the watch pauses on 24 for about a second before going to zero! The watch strap is the typical linked type and seems a bit flimsy to me. The display is black LCD digits on a greenish backing, nothing special except for the font used to display the numbers, which looks a little clunky. The LCD is always on, giving this watch an advantage over contemporary LED models that only displayed the time on the press of a button.

Technical aspects

Going with the passport, my watch was made by factory "Transistor" in Minsk, Belarus, on the 26th of April, 1978. It has a purple triangular stamp from "Promtorg" warehouse number two. Price is indicated, also with purple stamp, as being 106 roubles. Factory number is 80482396, filled in with black ball point. I don't read Russian, so I can't translate the manual in full, but here are some things I got from it. Nominal operating voltage is 2.7 volt, the minimum is 2.4 volt. The daily accuracy (?) of the watch is in the order of plus minus 0.5 seconds, in temperatures of 25 degrees celsius, plus minus five degrees. There's a lot more, so I want to get the manual online soon.

(Under construction)