The Vostok Amphibia is a unique and historical watch that is on many people’s must have list for dive watches.

Unlike most dive watches on the market, this one is Russian through and through. They started making them back in 1967 in a factory that was originally making military equipment. 

Vostok Amphibia Zissou with Rubber Band

They had to completely re-invent the way dive watches keep waterproof as they were unable to copy the Rolex methodology, which was becoming standard at that time.

How The Vostok Amphibia Zissou Came To Be

Since the, the Amphibia has become a bit of an underdog, or cult classic among watch collectors. It’s cheap (often under $100), quirky and very unique in the watch world.

Which is perhaps why they chose it as the watch for the quirky Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) in the movie – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

A special model was made for the movie called the Vostok Amphibia Zissou to give Steve Zissou a custom watch to wear, as Cousteau was also known to do back in the day.

You can see below an Amphibia 1967 and Scuba Dude compared with a Zissou below where you can see the main visual difference between these Amphibia watches. There are actually quite a few different styles in the Amphibia collection, so depending on which one you get, they can vary significantly.

vostok amphibia 1967
Vostok Amphibian Scuba
Vostok Amphibian Zissou Blue

Unique Features Of The Zissou

Mechanically, the Amphibia Zissou is the same as all other Vostok Amphibias. The real differences lie in the face:

  • At 12 o'clock is a large ship's steering wheel
  • At 6 o'clock is an equal sized and color anchor
  • At 2, 4, 8, and 10 o'clock are numeral markers
  • A rope running around the edge of the face
  • A rope running around the edge of the face
  • Black and red dots running around the bezel

Amphibia Zissou Specifications

The visual differences are not the only thing you care about, so I have also listed the specs below:

  • Automatic self-winding movement with 31 ruby jewels (2416B)
  • Hand-winding possible
  • 31 hr running stored
  • Water resistant - 200 meters / 660 feet
  • Shock resistant
  • Case size: 40 x 12mm
  • Strap: 18mm stainless steel
  • Complication: date

Amphibia Zissou Problems

This watch is a real cult classic and a great collectors item, but that does not mean it is perfect. Remember, this is a cheap dive watch that is made in Russia, not Switzerland. So, it comes with some issues.

Many owners of this watch report that the strap it ships with is very uncomfortable. So, be prepared to swap it out when you get it for something more stylish like a Nato or Perlon, that is also comfortable to wear.

Also, the bezel is not the most accurately machined in the world, so quite a few people have said it is difficult to turn and use. Although, for most of you this will not be a big issue because you won’t be diving or timing anything with it.

Where To Buy The Amphibia Zissou

This is maybe one of the toughest parts – getting hold of this watch. No, they are not expensive, but as of early 2018, it is not available on Amazon. There are quite a few other Amphibias on there though.

Your best bet at the moment is either ebay or Christopol directly.