With an exciting recent release, Russian watchmaker Raketa is delivering a brisk blast-from-the-past for horological enthusiasts around the globe. Evoking a sense of adventure and exploration, the original Raketa Polar watches were created in 1970 for Russian Antarctic explorers. The modern Polar watch pays homage to those intrepid adventurers and the engineering prowess of Raketa’s historical work. Furthermore, the new Raketas also stand as a 200 year anniversary piece regarding the discovery of the Antarctic continent—in 1820.
Preparing for six-month-long spans of daylight, followed by six-month-long spans of night, the Russian explorers of the 16th Antarctic mission needed something reliable; They needed a watch that could indicate day/night cycles—in order to fight disorientation. As well, they needed a timepiece able to combat extreme temperatures. Experiencing rigorous testing, the original Raketa Polar watches were physically fit companions. They were designed to combat days that could dip well below 80degrees (Fahrenheit). On top of that, they also employed a 24hr display on the dial—to aid with tracking days. While maintaining a Polar-ready robustness, Raketa’s latest release employs a fair update to the already durable design of the past.
Mother Russia Approved
The original Raketa Polar watches were stamped with an official seal by V.M Rogachev on December 10, 1969. Rogachev was the second-in-command of the Soviet Antarctic Expedition. With his approval, these updates to previous Russian exploration watches were sent into the freezing desert of Antarctica for expedition. Fast-forward fifty years and a similar seal of approval has been given to the anniversary Raketas. After applying a 24hr-wind mechanical movement, a reinforced sapphire crystal, and an updated luminescence, Raketa’s anniversary pieces were given official certification from the Russian Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology. This certification is specific approval for use in polar conditions—though it’s very unlikely they’ll be used for that purpose.
Old School Toughness
In terms of history, the Raketa Watch Factory was instituted by Emperor Peter the Great in 1721—making it Russia’s oldest factory. While it could handle a much larger order, the recent Raketa Polar release is pared down to just 200 watches. This minimalist manufacturing effort mirrors the 200 year anniversary aspect of the release. Raketa’s Polars still retain the 4 piece case design that brought the watches to-and-from Earth’s harshest climate—fully in tact. While the recent timepieces employ some modern features (namely the sapphire crystal), their construction is essentially a to-the-letter reprise of the original design. For collectors, this is a fantastic way to dip into the past without the high cost of purchasing the rarer originals. Each of the new Polar watches comes with a certificate from Raketa and only cost around 950Euros. Not a bad grab for anyone who’s intrigued by quality design—and of course—adventure.
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