This is arguably the best 24 hour Raketa watch ever produced. Specially made for the Detente Watches (the biggest distributor of Russian watches in North America and the Caribbean), this model is based on the famous “Pilot 1” Raketa watch which features a dial inspired by the cockpit watches of Soviet military aircraft in the 1936-1948 period: it is elegant, with a definite “military” feel to it, and highly readable.

This is without any doubt the best (clearest) dial ever made by Raketa. Pilots, in particular, will love it.

The watch also features a special made case plated with a stricking and highly resistant titanium nitrade (TiN) coating. The bracelet which is shipped with this watch also has a TiN plating, although Russia2all (the only place where you can purchase this watch) also offers a black leather strap as an alternative.

The back of the watch is laser engraved with “Special for Détente Watches” and and worldwide limited series count xxx/100.

The manual wind (hackable) mechanism inside this model is the famous Raketa 2623-NA whose history was described by the Executive Director of Raketa in his recent interview for Russian 24 Hours (see the interview section of this website).

Even though only 100 such watches were ever made by Raketa this might well be the “ultimate Raketa”.

Titanium nitride plated Raketa
Yet another variation of a polar Raketa, but this time with no logos or pictures. This one has a simple, yet clear, hour scale, minute scale and rotating world cities bezel. The thin hand are well adapted to this information packed dial, and the watch has a very “technical” feel to it. These “polar” Raketas come in many variations and are easy to find on Ebay and elsewhere. They are cheap, yet clearly popular.

Raketa Polar
Of all the Raketas I have ever seen, this one has the best designed dial. According to the Raketa website, the dial of this watch is made in the same style as the instruments on Russian aircraft from the 1936-1948 period. Whatever may be the case, the face of this watch is extremely well-designed. It definitely has a “military” feel to it, and while the luminosity of the hands and numbers is not as powerful as the super-luminova found on Aviator or Sturmanskie watches, it is still very decent. Considering the legendary high quality of the Raketa mechanisms and the superb dial, it is absolutely baffling that such a watch can be purchased for about 40-50 dollars. This watch is, in my opinion, the best possible choice for somebody wanting to try out 24 hour watches but being unwilling to invest in an expensive watch.
Raketa Pilot
My first Raketa. You can read the story of how I got it in the FAQ section (“What triggered your interest”). This is a *great* watch. Not only does it have the Imperial Eagle of Russia, but it has a rotating bezel with one city for each time zone indicated in Russian. I have never seen this model elsewhere and I consider it one of my most precious watches as it has this unique personality which only Russian watches really have.
Raketa Imperial
Yet another iteration of the seemingly endless supply of Raketas. This once has a nice, elegant, face. But the real reason why I had to get it is that it features a couple of penguins. The penguin is the mascot of the Linux kernel, the heart of the GNU/Linux free operating system. As a proud and card-carrying member of the Free Software Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation I simply had to get one of these watches. Wearing it celebrates the fact that I have been 100% in the marvelous world of free software since 2000 (of course, this website was also designed with free software).

Of course, the real purpose of this watch was to celebrate the Russian exploration and science stations on the South Pole, but I choose to see it as an endorsement of the values of freedom.

Raketa Antarktika
This watch is the basic, low-cost, Russian 24 hour analog watch. The dial has no fancy logos or features, the minute and hour hands are simple and functional, and the only added feature of this model is a simple and highly functional 2nd timezone bezel. In this photo this 2nd timezone bezel has been rotated so that the 2400 hours on the white dial corresponds to a 0900 on the white bezel. In other words, if the local time is midnight the 2nd time zone’s time would be 9 o’clock in the morning. Once this basic time difference has been set, it is easy to tell the time in each timezone. For example if, as in the photo, the local time is 1138 the time in the 2nd timezone will be 2038 as indicated on the black bezel.

Raketa watches are the cheapest mechanical 24 hour watches you will find anywhere (they go on Ebay for prices ranging from 30 dollars to 60 dollars depending on the model), yet they have very reliable and accurate mechanisms. Raketa feature basic, if solid, cases, mostly made out of chrome-plated brass. The water-resistance of these watches is very minimal. Their straps and bracelets, however, are uniformly ugly and poorly made. The first thing I do when I get a Raketa is to immediately throw away the bracelet and buy a new one.

Raketas are very much a Soviet-era product: cheap, simple, yet sturdy and accurate. Raketa watches often feature some kind of commemorative dial, sometimes rather goofy ones: usually a piece of military hardware or some Soviet explorer’s feat. I personally don’t like this kind of commemorative dials, but that is a matter of personal preference I suppose. I prefer the more basic and functional Raketas. All in all, these are very good watches, mostly found at absolutely unbeatable prices.