Raketa is one of the most popular watch brands in Russia. The Raketa watches are manufactured by the Petrodvorets Watch Factory, Russia’s oldest watch factory. One of the oldest watch making companies in the world, the Petrodvorets Watch Factory was founded by Peter the Great in 1721. The Factory started producing wrist watches under the brand “Pobeda” (Victory) since the End of World War II and since 1961 under the brand “Raketa” in honor of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
The Petrodvorets Watch watch company’s origins trace back to 1721 when Peter the Great founded the Lapidary factory in Peterhof. It was the first specialized stone workshop in Russia and its craftsmen contributed their skills in the construction of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Hermitage, and the fountains of St. Petersburg. At the end of the XIX century the Peterhof factory began the production of pocket watches.
After the October Revolution of 1917 the Peterhof Lapidary Factory became the first Russian factory specialized in the production of technical stones for the precise instrument-making industry. In 1930 the factory was renamed as the First state factory of precision technical stones (ТТК-№ 1) and began producing stones for the watch-making industry in the USSR.
In the 1940s, the factory started producing watches. During the Second World War, a major part of the building of the factory was destroyed yet Workers continued their work with limited resources despite daily bombardments. After the Second World War the factory started producing watches under the brands ‘Zvezda’ and ‘Pobeda’.Soon the factory started producing new generation mechanical watch movements including world renowned “Raketa 2609 НА movement. During this time, Russian watches were exported to 38 countries.
In the 80’s the factory expanded and became one of the most successful enterprises in the USSR. It used to produce 4.5 million items annually with a work force of 8000 people.
After the Perestroika (a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s) and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the factory had to rebuild completely the infrastructure. The factory turned out to be unadapted to the new economical environment, and the watch production drastically decreased. However, the factory workers managed to keep the production going and saved its unique equipment. Watches were produced by special orders. Among their regular clients were military and state bodies that helped the factory to survive until 2009.
Re-organization of the Brand
To renew the legacy of Russia’s oldest watch factory, an investment fund was founded by Russian and foreign investors in 2009 and the reorganization of the factory started with the help of Russian and Swiss engineers including ex-director of the hair-spring and escapement department of “Rolex”, Jean-Claude Quenet.
In 2010, Prince Rostislav Rostislavovich Romanov, a member of the House of Romanov, the former ruling Russian Imperial dynasty, was appointed as a Director of the Board of Petrodvorets Watch Factory, founded by his ancestor Peter the Great. He is also advisor to the factory’s Creative department. In the same year, Russian top model Natalia Vodianova joined the Petrodvorets Watch Factory team. In August 2010, the factory opened Petrodvorets watchmaker school, presently it is the only specialized horology institution in Russia.
“Raketa” created the new collection in March 2011 under the direction of Creative Director Jacques von Count Polier and David Henderson Stewart. After a few months Petrodvorets Watch Factory participated in the international exhibition Baselworld.
In 2013, Prince Rostislav Romanov created a special limited edition of Raketa watches in honor of the anniversary year of the royal house of the Romanov and Natalia Vodianova designed a new model of Raketa watch which is equipped with the new Raketa Avtomat mechanism.
In 2014, Raketa launched its new movement “Raketa Avtomat”, one of the most reliable movements in the world. The popular watch models equipped with this movement are Raketa “Petrodvorets Classic”, Raketa “Zvezda”, Raketa “Polar” and Raketa “Amphibia”.
|Raketa Classic Avtomat|
In 2015, the Petrodvorets Watch Factory launched an exclusive watch line offering the engraving of customer’s name and special messages on the dial.
Presently the brand’s operations are spread out at two locations: the Petrodvorets Watch Factory in Petergof and the Raketa Creative Studio in Moscow. Today, Petrodvorets Watch Factory is one of the rare watch factories in the world that fully manufactures its own movements from A to Z, including hairspring and escapement.
In its 290 years of history, the Petrodvorets Watch factory has created numerous national symbols in Russia, such as precious stones for the court of the Russian Empire, for the House of Fabergé, ruby stars of the Moscow Kremlin, marble for Lenin`s Mausoleum, marble works for St.Isaac`s Cathedral, for the Malachite room. In 2014, the Petrodvorets Watch Factory was chosen to realise the biggest mechanical clock movement in the world in Dietskii Mir on Lubyanka. Today, some of the beautiful objects created by the Petrodvorets Factory can be discovered in the world’s most famous museums such as the Louvre, Versailles, Hermitage, Sanssouci and others.
Official website: http://www.raketa.com/