In perfect time for the holidays, Raketa has launched a limited-edition gift set that features two new watches designed in close collaboration with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. The gift set includes two watches — one with a white dial and the other with an aventurine stone dial, along with two additional straps (one made from the official Sokol space suit material), a certificate from Roscosmos certifying that the metal used in the watch bezel came from the Soyuz-2.1a rocket, an official insignia of the space mission, a detailed brochure, and a scale model of the Soyuz 2.1a space launcher. What better gift for a watch and space enthusiast?
Many brands have created watches for various space agencies over the years, but it’s hard to argue that any has as close a connection to space exploration as Raketa. Indeed, the brand name itself, Raketa, translates to “space rocket” and was created specifically to pay tribute to Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut who piloted the first-ever piloted space flight. Since being established since 1961, Raketa has worked closely with Soviet and Russian cosmonauts, helping design and engineer watches that would accompany cosmonauts into space.
Raketa’s philosophy on watches and movements mirrors that of Roscosmos. The goal is to create devices that are functional and robust, with simplicity at their core. Just like the Soyuz rocket, Raketa’s in-house movements were launched in the 1960s. And, like the Soyuz rockets, Raketa’s original calibers continue to be used today, largely unchanged since their inception. If it works, it works.
Though there’s often a fair amount of obfuscation around the term “in-house” in the watch industry, Raketa’s movements are as in-house as it’s possible to get. Fully modernized in 2011, the Raketa watch factory produces every part of its mechanical movement, from bridges to hairsprings to escapements. Raketa uses the knowledge passed down from its early Soviet days but produces the watches in its thoroughly modern factory, crafted by watchmakers trained in their own watchmaking school. You can’t get more in-house than that.
In developing the Space Launcher, Raketa worked closely on the watch’s design and construction with cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of whom were sent to space by the Soyuz-2.1a. In true Russian fashion, both cosmonauts insisted that the only complication that was truly needed was a 24-hour movement that allowed them to easily tell night from day — not an easy task when you’re orbiting earth in the International Space Station and experience 16 sunrises and sunsets each day. Thus, each Space Launcher is equipped with the automatic calibre 2624A, which features a 24-hour time function, 24 jewels, a 40-hour power reserve, and is tested in four positions.
The goal with this release was to bring the space-faring experience as close to home as possible. To do so, the bezel on each watch is constructed from metal from the Soyuz-2.1a space launcher that took off on October 14, 2020, making a record-breaking three-hour trip to the International Space Station. Even though the vast majority of us will never venture far from the earth’s surface, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov had one more idea to help capture the feeling of space travel. While flying in the Soyuz rocket, all cosmonauts wear Sokol space suits crafted from an extremely strong white nylon canvas offset with royal blue trim. These iconic suits are as emblematic of cosmonauts as the curvy lines of the NASA logo are for American astronauts. Ryzhikova and Kud-Sverchkov suggested that this fabric be used to create the straps on the Raketa Space Launcher, and it’s hard to think of a better match. However, if you want to change up the look, Raketa also provides leather straps that can be swapped in with the aid of quick-change spring bars.
For the watch itself, Raketa designed the Space Launcher in two iterations (each limited to 300 pieces), one with a white dial and the other with an aventurine stone dial. Both watches are housed in a 43mm stainless steel cushion case with a sapphire crystal, display caseback, oversize crown, and a rotating bezel crafted from a piece of metal from the Soyuz-2.1a launcher. Though water resistance may not be high on the necessity list for cosmonauts, it certainly is for those of us stuck on earth and, luckily, Raketa equips the Space Launcher with 200m of water resistance and a screw-down crown.
Regardless of which version you choose, each has a unique character all its own. The white dial features an image of earth as seen from the North Pole at the center of the dial, with the watch hands extending out from beneath the earth. Given that this was designed specifically to suit the needs of cosmonauts, the watch features a 24-hour dial with Arabic applied markers and a distinctive handset that makes reading the time instantaneous. When the lights go out, the full-lume dial, amply coated with Super-LumiNova, glows bright.
The second iteration utilizes aventurine to its best effect. This natural stone is a dark, inky blue, but set off by metallic flecks that reflect like stars in the night sky. With a silver earth at the center of the dial, it’s impossible not to imagine cosmonauts staring down at our terrestrial realm floating in the darkness of space. As with the white dial, Raketa ensures that cosmonauts and earth-bound wearers alike can easily view the time at night with Super-Sponsored post presented on aBlogtoWatch for advertiserLumiNova filling the hands and indices.
The Raketa Space Launcher gift set is available now, just in time for the holidays, with free worldwide delivery by DHL in 2-5 days. Each gift set comes with both the white and aventurine dial watch, two complimentary leather straps with a quick-change system, a certificate from Roscosmos, the space mission insignia, a detailed brochure, and a model of the Soyuz-2.1a space launcher. Gift sets are extremely limited and available now for Є3,500 (Є2,917 not including VAT) so if you’re interested, be sure to head over to Raketa’s website and order one now.
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