CNN  — 

With pseudonyms like the The Bastard, The Broker, The Astronaut and The Vampire, they’ve banded together deep inside the world of Soviet-era watch collecting.

This cabal of watch aficionados spans the globe, albeit in cyberspace, bringing history to the wrists of thousands with timepieces dating back to the days of Stalin.

Dashiell Oatman-Stanford calls himself “a Soviet watch nerd.” His friends call him The Catalog.

His website, Watches of the USSR, reveals why. It brings together highlights from his exhaustive archive of around 3,000 pieces. Some come and some go, as he refines and revises his collection. But despite only starting his hobby seven years ago, Oatman-Stanford is one of the czars of historic Soviet watches.

“Why Soviet watches?” he asks on his website. “I am not a collector of watches as much as I am a collector of history and culture – fragments of a life that once was. And indeed, these timepieces have an incredible tale to tell.”

“Soviet watches are functional and utilitaria