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Raketa, one of Russia’s best-known watch manufacturers, began producing watches for the Soviet military in the 1960s. Since then, the brand has become known for its interesting, eclectic mix of designs, many of which use space and astrology as thematic inspiration. One of the brand’s most beloved and historically important watches is the Copernicus — a watch that is instantly recognizable and a great representation of why collectors find Raketa pieces to be so interesting. The design of the Copernicus is inspired by Nicholas Copernicus’ 16th-century discovery that the sun lies at the center of the solar system and all other planets revolve around it.

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First released in the 1980s, the Copernicus displays the time with a view of “planets,” each represented by the hands symbolizing the relationship between space and time. Originally, the hands of the Copernicus were considered to represent the Earth and Moon, while the Sun was represented by the dial itself. However, Raketa recently revealed that the original designers of the piece intended for the minute hand to symbolize the Earth and the hour hand, Jupiter. Their logic? Earth orbits the sun once per year, while Jupiter orbits the son once every 12 years; this is the same ratio between the minute hand and hour hand, as the minute hand “orbits” the dial once per hour, and the hour hand “orbits” the dial once every 12 hours.

A limited-edition of just 300 pieces, the Raketa Copernicus 2021 features the same unique dial layout and novel approach to time-telling that has made the series such a hit among collectors. However, there are several key differences that set this piece apart from previous generations of the watch. Perhaps most notably, the Copernicus 2021 features a stealthy overall aesthetic marked by a black PVD case, which suits the space-inspired theme of the watch quite nicely. Additionally, its dial is comprised of two different stones. The outer portion of the dial surface is a beautiful dark-blue aventurine, which is meant to evoke a starry night sky, while the inner portion is made up of a radiant round yellow agate, which conveys the incandescence of the sun’s surface. This tactful utilization of semi-precious stones makes for a dial that is visually interesting and quite dynamic.

As opposed to previous versions of the watch, the Copernicus 2021 features a transparent caseback, allowing owners to admire its automatic in-house movement, Raketa’s tried and true Caliber 2615. With a power reserve of approximately 40 hours, the movement has been thoughtfully decorated for this edition, with stars and planets engraved on the bridge and gold plating throughout. The gold-finished details of the movement are meant to evoke the color of the sun.

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On the wrist, the Copernicus is a wearable 40.5mm with a relatively short lug-to-lug distance of just 45mm. The piece is adorned with a domed sapphire crystal that slightly warps the appearance of the dial when viewed from different angles. This is an interesting visual effect that suits the astrological inspiration for the watch while adding dimension and personality to the piece. Completing the look is a 22mm black leather strap with blue trim and a red leather interior.

A quirky, interesting limited edition that boasts a unique approach to telling time, the Raketa Copernicus 2021 is a true conversation piece — one that will appeal to watch enthusiasts and astronomy fans, alike. Priced at EUR 1,500 including VAT or EUR 1,250 without VAT, the watch is available for order on Raketa’s website.

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