The oldest Russian watch company is considered to be the ‘Petrodvorets Watch Factory’. It was founded by Peter I in 1721. For almost 300 years, the factory from St Petersbourg has been taking one of the most important places in the history of our state.
The ‘Raketa’ watch has been produced at the factory since 1961. This watch is dedicated to the first man who conquered the space - Yuri Gagarin. The ‘Raketa’ brand watches were exported to more than 30 countries of the world, many people were interested to buy raketa watches, but in Western Europe and America it was associated rather with missile weapons of the USSR than with Yuri Gagarin. The watches were based on the same movement ‘Raketa-2609Н’, which was the basis for more than two dozen of modifications: the watches with self-winding and a calendar with 24-hour scale for polar explorers as well as anti-magnetic models and even watches for weak-sighted people.
The watch factory collections also included the models for the army, Navy, polar explorers as well as astronauts and all those who love to wear watches. All watches were in great demand, while the company was one of the 13 largest watch factories of the Soviet Union (CCCP). The Russian watches were exported to 38 countries. The ‘Raketa’ movements did not rust even in the tropics. The model range of watches was extremely great.
In 80-ies, the factory became bigger and considered to be one of the most successful factories in the USSR. It produced 4.5 million watches per year. The number of workers was about 8 thousand people. A real city with its hospital, school, University, shops and culture center appeared around the Petrodvorets watch factory. The workers were relaxing in health centers of the factory by the Black sea. The nuclear bunker for 8 thousand people was built under the factory. In the case of a nuclear attack from America, it should have saved all the factory employees and residents of the city.
One more interesting story is related to this watch. In 1985, Gorbachev went to Italy. He had a ‘Raketa’ watch with a zero dial (instead of 12, there was 0). When the Italians saw that, they published an article with the following title: ‘The Russians began to live from scratch’ and put a close picture of his watch.
With time, the ‘Raketa’ became not just a watch, but a special line. The first models under the brand name ‘Raketa’ were called ‘Russia’, ‘Record’ and ‘Petrodvorets’. The watch ‘Record’ was distinguished by its size as it was only 2.7 mm thick. Among the popular models there are raketa arctic / antarctica / polar watches, atom, classic, diver, copernic (moon and sun), 24-hour pilot, submariner, svet raketa watches and others. Until now this watch is considered to be not only the thinnest one created in the USSR, but also the thinnest mechanical watch in the world. Raketa watches are very popular from London to NewYork. There are many Raketa watch lowers buying it to the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe so as in Asian countries like China, Malaysia and India. The gold medal obtained at the international fair in Leipzig in 1965 tells about their universal recognition. By the way, the mass production of the ‘Raketa’ watches began in 1964. By 1980, the factory was producing 4 million 600 thousand watches.