History of Raketa

written by YWH team 1 January 2016
History of Raketa

History of Raketa
From: 1721 (but officially founded in 1961)
Founding place: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Founded by: Peter the Great
Current headquarters: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Owned by: unknown
Official name: Raketa Watch Factory

The history of Raketa, a Russian watch brand, is quite rich and that dates back to the 18th century. In 1721 Peter the Great establishes the first Russian watch factory in Saint Petersburg, and this moment is seen as the start of what later would become Raketa. The factory is primarily focusing on producing instruments and tools and is called the “Imperial Peterhof Factory”, but sometimes also “Peterhof Lapidary Works”.

They made hard stone carvings, items made with precious stones for the tsar and his family. In 1812, when the Patriotic War started, the factory was reorganized to supply the Russian army with essential equipment like weapons. The factory also provided the stones for Lenin’s Mausoleum, and the famous red stars which you can see on top of the towers of the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, in 1801, the First Russian Watch Factory is ordered by Tsar Alexander I, which could be seen as the first Russian watch factory. This factory leads the foundation for the Russian watchmaking industry. It is known as the “First Russian Watch Factory” or the “First Moscow Watch Factory”, as it was located in Moscow, and holds historical significance as the first watchmaking enterprise in Russia.

The Russian watch industry possibly moves from Saint Petersburg to Moscow

It is unclear if the start of the First Russian Watch Factory ended the Imperial Peterhof Factory in Saint Peterburg when it comes to watch making. It is plausible that both existed next to each other. As there where more watch factories in Russia. However, the creation of this new watch factory in Moscow is part of Alexander I’s efforts to develop domestic industries in Russia and reduce the country’s dependence on imported goods. It initially focuses on producing pocket watches, which were a symbol of prestige and status during that period.

Over the years, the First Russian Watch Factory undergoes various changes and developments. It was part of the broader effort to modernize and industrialize Russia during the 19th century. The factory produces timepieces that are not only functional but also showcases elements of Russian craftsmanship and design. Its legacy continues through subsequent developments in the sector, including the establishment of the Raketa Watch Factory in the 20th century.

The start of the Raketa Watch Factory

The Raketa Watch Factory, which was founded in 1961, carries on the tradition of Russian watchmaking and becomes a prominent brand known for its mechanical timepieces. It starts in Saint Petersburg, and later moves to Petrodvorets, a suburb of Saint Petersburg. Which is why it is sometimes called the Petrodvorets Watch Factory. The name “Raketa” translates to “rocket” in Russian, reflecting the excitement of the space age during that era.

A remarkable model of pre-Raketa era is the Pobeda watch, which is introduced during World War II. Yes, the Raketa Watch Factory did not exist at that time, but its precursor creates the Pobeda watch in 1945, following a decree of the Kremlin. “Pobeda” means “Victory” in Russian, and the watch symbolizes the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. Apart from the brand Pobeda, another brand was created: Zvezda, meaning “star”. It looks like this brand is disappeared over time.

The Pobeda brand and another new brand

In 1961 the Pobeda brand is also active in developing watches for the Russian space industry. Just before the name changes into Raketa. One of their claims is that a Pobeda watch is the first watch that went into space. According to the brand a watch of Pobeda accompanied a dog in the Sputnik 4 satellite which landed unharmed back on Earth. Later, Raketa makes other models, also commemorating Yuri Gagarin as the first man in space.

Today, the brand is still active with different models, mostly with 24-hour indication. And they have revived the Imperial Peterhof Factory as a new brand name in 2021.

History of Raketa:

1721 – Establishment of the Imperial Peterhof Factory by Peter the Great
1801 – Tsar Alexander I orders the start of the First Russian Watch Factory
1940s – The precursor of Raketa, Pobeda, launches a watch to celebrate the victory on Nazi Germany
1961 – The Raketa Watch Factory, sometimes also called Petrodvorets Watch Factory is founded
2021 – Relaunch (or creation) of the brand Imperial Peterhof Factory

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