Russian watchmaker Raketa has created a limited-edition timepiece made from a piece of the Russian “Soyuz” space launcher and from the fabric of a Russian spacesuit.
Soyuz is a family of disposable Russian rockets developed by OKB-1 and manufactured by Progress Rocket Space Centre in Samara, Russia. With over 1,900 flights since its debut in 1966, the Soyuz is the most frequently used launch vehicle in the world as of 2021, according to Wikipedia.
Fittingly, the brand “Raketa” means “space rocket” in Russian and the brand was specially created in tribute to the first-ever manned spaceflight by the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961.
The Raketa “Space Launcher” limited edition wristwatch comes in a 43 mm stainless steel case with a bezel made from a metal piece of the space launcher (rocket) “Soyuz-2.1a” which took off on 14 October 2020 and made a record breaking 3-hour flight from the Baikonur launch pad to the ISS.
In addition, fabric from a Russian “Sokol” spacesuit — worn by all cosmonauts flying in the Soyuz rocket — is used for the strap, and features a robust white nylon canvas with royal blue trim. An additional leather strap is also included. The straps are 22 mm wide and have quick-release spring bars.
The Raketa Space Launcher is a 24-hour watch, meaning the hour hand circles the dial once every 24-hours, as opposed to a standard 12-hour configuration. The design of the hour and minute hands replicates the hands on the control panel of Gagarin’s spacecraft. On the model with a white dial, the countdown printed on the sapphire glass is followed by the word “Poyekhali!” “Let’s go!” that Gagarin pronounced as he flew off.
“The cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, who were sent to space by this space launcher, actively participated in the design and production of this watch. They both insisted that the only crucial complication needed in space is a 24-hour movement to enable them to distinguish day from night in the ISS (where they have 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours),” according to Raketa.
Cleverly, the second hand is represented by the Earth revolving around its axis. Moreover, the seconds scale (printed on the sapphire glass) emphasizes the countdown to launch (last 10 seconds).
Powering the watch is a 2.5Hz automatic caliber 2624A with bidirectional winding, 24 jewels, and a 40-hour power reserve. The movement is decorated with constellations printed on the bridges of the movement and a special coating on the rotor. Each movement has been adjusted in 4 positions to -10/+2- seconds per day.
The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal while the caseback has a mineral crystal. The watch has a depth rating of 200 meters.
This watch is officially designed and produced in collaboration with the Russian Space Agency “Roscosmos”. Each watch is delivered with a certificate from Roscosmos certifying the true origin of the rocket metal and the spacesuit fabric. The Raketa Space Launcher retails for 1,458 Euros and is limited to 300 pieces for the white dials and retails for 1,542 Euros with blue aventurine dials which are also limited to 300 pieces. Raketa watches are delivered worldwide free of charge by DHL within 2 to 5 days.
Photos by Raketa.