The Soviet Union produced the Raketa Kopernik in the 1980s as a manner to tout its space exploration, akin to a Soviet moon watch perhaps. The hour hand took the form of a golden disc, representing the Sun, while the minute hand was the Moon, taking the form of a large ring. Paired with a dark black dial evoking the darkness of outer space, once an hour the Sun and Moon hands would overlap for an eclipse on the wrist.
Named after Nicolaus Copernicus, the Kopernik was imaginatively designed; per the Raketa website, “The first Kopernick watch was launched in the early 1980s, and it is no coincidence that it bears the name of the famous astronomer. Its design is entirely inspired by Copernic’s theory of the universe, which led to a fundamental revolution in the science of the 16th century: the sun lies at the centre of the system, and the earth and the moon revolve around it (and not the other way around).”
The Kopernik was manufactured in several color schemes, to include the black on black variant here, and a white dial variant in a chrome-plated case. Circa late 2019, Raketa re-issued the Kopernik, albeit at a much higher price point approaching $1,300.
Raketa, also known as Paketa, started making watches in its St. Petersburg, Russia, Petrodvorets Watch Factory in1961. Petrodvorets is Russia’s oldest factory, and was founded by Peter the Great in 1721, and its watches were produced for the Red Army, the Soviet Navy, as well as for civilians.
Raketa acquired its namesake from Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin inaugural flight into outer space, the first for mankind. In honor of the flight, Petrodvorets named its watches “rocket,” or Raketa in Russian. Mechanical Raketa watches produced in Petrodvorets were exported to many Eastern Bloc and communist countries and were considered one of the most durable and reliable movements there – the Ak-47 of watches at the time, if you will.
This Kopernik comes with two NATO straps, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1980s Soviet Raketa Kopernik Sun & Moon Mechanical Watch
DIAL: Beautiful original black dial, with no patina evident. Original sun hour, moon minute, and second hands.
CASE: Original 35.5mm (37mm w/crown) x 41.5mm black case, with original caseback; black coating is handsomely and evenly worn throughout the case, which adds a great vintage feel to the Copernicus.
CRYSTAL: Domed crystal is scratch-free.
BAND: Gray and black NATO strap, with stainless-steel hardware. This Raketa comes with a second strap, a black NATO.
MOVEMENT: Original Raketa 2609.HA manual mechanical movement; this Copernicus beats at a frequency of 18,000bph..
CROWN: Original unsigned crown.