Nostalgia is a weird thing. It makes us desire the old and weird and confuses quality with age. Nothing that, we present the Raketa Polar, a 24-hour watch that creates a curious pang of sentimentality for endless tundra and the rise of the proletariat.

The Polar isn’t a well-built watch. Like most Raketas, it suffers from weird manufacturing quirks stemming from the USSR’s manufacturing limitations. It’s a sort of watchmaking folk art, full of quirks defined by artisanal limitations.

And, if you’re the kind of watch wearer who loves that kind of thing you’re in luck.

The watch is a 24-hour watch that does nothing else. It has no date window, no screw down crown, no fancy engraving. The face is stark silver with a design that recalls the North and South poles. The movement is sloppy – turning the crown makes the seconds hand jump a little – and the lime is minimal. In short, it looks like a watch worn by a brilliant exiled scientist in some rundown dacha outside of St. Petersburg.

Given all this, I find it slightly hard to take the 950 Euro price tag but can definitely see the appeal. Again, this is a watch so bad its good. Like Holga cameras and Glash?tte Original?watches, this thing hits a certain dystopian 1960s note and stays there, ensuring that you’ll definitely get some looks if you wear this bit of flash over your shots of vodka and plate of herring.

This watch is for true fetishists of the USSR. It’s a good, solid piece on a nice band and, although you can get similar watches on eBay for $90 or so, getting a brand new piece like this one offers a bit of authenticity unavailable from the pressed steel pieces you find on the grey market. The bottom line is this: if you buy this you’re supporting a company that beat the odds and came out as an horology darling. It’s a bit expensive, but you’re paying for the fact that Raketa is still in business and still producing watches that old Uncle Joe loved.


  1. Thanks for reviewing such an under the radar watch.
    My only quibble is that I don’t think you can get this same look in a vintage Raketa for $90. This is clearly a modern, vintage inspired watch and not an exact copy of the same old design from the 60’s with a new bezel color (like some tired watch brands I won’t name).
    I need to see it person (the applied indices, the finishing)–a hard feat since there are no AD’s in the US, but I love the unique design, dial color, and not because I have a Russian fetish. It’s a watch fun without being cheesy, but that’s just my opinion.
    Any thoughts on the Baikonur?

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