Russian Custom Shop HoD Presents the “Guiding Star”

One-off watches made affordable.

A four-person workshop in Moscow, HoD Russia specialises custom watches at affordable prices. Because the team is made up of a sculptor, engraver, and two engineers, HoD’s offerings are diverse in style, with a focus the dial. Cofounder Vasiliy Avitisov describes the brand as specialising in “dials with high relief [made] from a variety of materials”. Amongst its recent project is the “Guiding Star”, commissioned by a watch collector based in Japan.

Initial thoughts

Conceived alongside the client, the Guiding Star is a good example of what HoD can do. The dial is minimalist in function, yet decorated and visually striking – and it is made in house, from raw material to finished product. The dial is made of an epoxy resin mixed and coloured in HoD’s workshop, and then machined into the dial disc.

The purple contrasts against the hobnail guilloche sub-dial, while the client’s initials form the 12 o’clock market, a reminder that the Guiding Star is a custom watch. One of the joys of going full custom, so to speak, is being able to dictate even the smallest of details, such as the buckle. It’s been hand-engraved with the client’s initials flanked by a Japanese wave motif, or seigaiha.

The personalised pin buckle

With comparable watches starting from US$2,800, the Guiding Star illustrates the brand’s value proposition – time-0nly watches with a high degree of customisation. The affordability means that while the customisation can be elaborate, the finishing is workmanlike. HoD makes sense for a watch enthusiast on a budget who is looking experiment with a custom timepiece or simply something off the beaten path.


HoD Russia describes the case as being “vintage-inspired”, which explains the inclusion of teardrop lugs and an onion crown, though the watch still has a contemporary case size of 41 mm. The movement is a Unitas 6498 that’s been skeletonised by hand – with a saw and file. For what it costs, the movement has been open worked in an interesting and thorough manner, leaving most of the movement’s mechanics visible through the sapphire case back.

The primary bridges of the Unitas movement

According to Mr Avitisov, the overall design, production of dial and hands, as well as the skeletonisation of the movement are all done in-house by the HoD team.

However, the manufacturing and finishing of the case, certain aspects of the movement finishing, and the assembly of the watch is done by Saint Petersburg watchmaker Maxim Sushkov, who was also responsible for the production of the made-in-Russia Ouroboros.

Key facts and price

HoD Russia “Guiding Star”

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 10.85 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Unitas 6498-1
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Winding: Manual
Power reserve: 46 hours

Strap: Leather with engraved steel buckle

Availability: Unique piece commissioned by a client; custom dials available upon commission 
Starting from US$2,800 for a comparable custom order

For more, visit HoD Russia on Instagram.


Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.