Created in 1961 as a tribute to Yuri Gagarin’s achievement, Raketa (rocket) watches were one of the most iconic brands of the Soviet Union. Its historic factory, which will turn 300 years on the 3rd of November 2021, had up to 7,500 workers, and its annual production was around 5 million units. The city of Peterhof, located on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg, depended almost exclusively on this factory, a provider of stable jobs and the pride of the region.

Like many other state-owned companies, the 1990s and the liberalization of the Russian economy were fatal for the Raketa factory. At the end of the 2000s, it had no more than fifteen workers, the sole keepers of unique know-how, the basis of Raketa’s rebirth. In 2011, a duo of foreign investors set out to redevelop this iconic brand. Without denying its identity and its history, the priority has been to develop Raketa towards the high-end segment of the watchmaking sector.

Since then, Raketa has wanted to innovate and become a key player in the world of watchmaking. The recipe for this is based on a clever mix of modern technology and Soviet Union know-how. In 2014, Raketa joined the closed club of watch brands capable of creating the mechanical movement in-house and fully mastering the manufacture of an automatic watch and its 242 components.

The transmission of knowledge related to the hundreds of machines in the factory has been the cornerstone of the revival of the Russian brand. Apart from the purely technical aspect, the Raketa factory also witnessed the recent changes in the industrial sector in Russia, the transition from a Soviet organization of labour to a capitalist organization.

With a production of 5,000 watches per year, Raketa is the precursor of Russia’s return to the world luxury scene.

To know more about Raketa (here).

Other photo series from Russia (here, here and here).