Raketa / Ракета

In 1721, a decree from Tsar Peter the Great established Petrodvorets Lapidary Works in present-day Peterhof, St. Petersburg. For centuries, this factory was responsible for the production and refining of precious stones (including hardstone carvings and other precision work) for use in jewelry, mosaics, and marble decorations that adorned the palaces and cathedrals of that era. 

In 1932, the factory was renamed the First State Precision Jewel Factory (ТТК-1), and the factory continued to refine precious stones for use in a variety of Soviet industries. In 1935, the factory began manufacturing ruby jewels for the burgeoning Soviet watch industry, and by 1940, the factory was the sole supplier of rubies to the First State Watch Factory. (Rubies are integral to high-quality watch production, as these stones do not wear out as a result of prolonged friction the way other materials do.) During World War II, from 1941 to 1944, the factory was completely destroyed.

Following the war, the factory began to rebuild, and by 1949, ТТК-1 had begun focusing on wristwatch production, including the assembly of Zvezda and Pobeda watches. In 1954, by decree of the government, the name of the factory was formally changed to “Petrodvorets Watch Factory” with the intention of producing high-quality pocket and wristwatches for men. A new company logo depicted the factory initials inside a diamond. During the second half of the 1950s, numerous discrete brands were conceived (e.g. Baltika, Leningrad, Mayak, Neva, Russia, Start, and Svet), all powered by Petrodvorets movements. At the height of the Space Race in 1962, the factory name and logo were changed one final time to what it is still known as today: Raketa.

From the 1950s until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Raketa Watch Factory was extremely prolific, manufacturing untold watch variations using numerous advanced designs and production techniques. In 1965, Raketa was awarded the gold medal at the Leipzig Trade Fair for the ultra-thin calibre 2209 movement, the thinnest three-hand movement ever produced in the USSR. And in 1974, the factory was the first in the USSR to move to an entirely automated production line. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Raketa Watch Factory experienced unprecedented success. At its peak, around 8,000 employees were working to produce 4.5 million watches per year. The plant was so successful that an entire city grew around it, complete with hospitals, schools, universities, shopping centers, and cultural attractions. Workers lived in boarding facilities nearby and were protected by an enormous nuclear bunker built under the factory. As tensions continued to escalate between the USA and the USSR during the Cold War, this bunker was designed to accommodate all 8,000 factory workers should the unthinkable happen.

 

Since the 1950s, the Raketa Watch Factory has manufactured watches for the the Interior Ministry, the Russian Railways, the Red Army, the Soviet Navy, the Air Force, the North Pole expeditions, and for civilians. Many of these civilian models had their dials printed in English and were intended for foreign markets; by the 1970s, Raketa was exporting to 38 countries worldwide. In the early-1960s, the ultra-thin caliber 2209 was introduced, measuring just 2.7mm in height — the same height as two 5-kopek coins stacked together. In addition to the aforementioned gold medal at the 1965 Leipzig Trade Fair, the Raketa caliber 2209 won a prize at the World Exhibition in Montreal in 1967. Other well-known civilian models include those with stone dials (drawing on their heritage dating back to 1721) and the popular 24-Hour and Perpetual Calendar models. In total, over 50 unique calibers were developed at Petrodvorets, though only about half saw the light of day.

Following the fall of the USSR, Raketa was reorganized several times and forced to cut production significantly. During a particularly turbulent period in the 2000s, it seemed uncertain if the company would survive. But today, despite significant difficulties in adapting to the capitalist system, Raketa is one of only Russian watch manufacturers still in operation (the others are Vostok and Molnija).

(Sources: 1, 2, 34, 5, 6)

Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 503092 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 503099 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory, "50 Years October Revolution" Commemorative

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 503093 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 503xxx Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 503066 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813099 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813xxx Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813104 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813099 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory, "50 Years October Revolution" Commemorative

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813096 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813095 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813xxx Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813093 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813159 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813074 Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2209 (23 jewels) Model: 813xxx Year: 1960s Notes: Thinnest Soviet three-hand movement, Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2409 (17 jewels) Year: ~1970 Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: L2356 (quartz) Year: 1980s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: L2356 (quartz) Year: 1980s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609.I (21 jewels) Model: 823106 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609A (21 jewels) Model: 821130 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609A.I (21 jewels) Model: 823103 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609Б (21 jewels) Model: 821128 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609Б (21 jewels) Model: 823102 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609A (21 jewels) Model: 821129 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609A (21 jewels) Model: 821129 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609A (21 jewels) Model: 953102 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609A (21 jewels) Model: 651125 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609 (16 jewels) Model: 651022 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa Atom
Raketa Atom

Caliber: 2609 (16 jewels) Model: 653072 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa Atom
Raketa Atom

Caliber: 2609A (21 jewels) Model: 653072 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa Atom
Raketa Atom

Caliber: 2609 (16 jewels) Model: 651073 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa Atom
Raketa Atom

Caliber: 2609A (21 jewels) Model: 783072 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa Atom
Raketa Atom

Caliber: 2609A (21 jewels) Model: 781073 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609Б (21 jewels) Model: 653118 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609Б (21 jewels) Model: 651111 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609 (16 jewels) Model: 653121 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609 (16 jewels) Model: 653123 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609 (16 jewels) Model: 653110 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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Raketa / Ракета
Raketa / Ракета

Caliber: 2609 (16 jewels) Model: 653109 Year: 1970s Notes: Petrodvorets Watch Factory

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