An Intro to Russian Watchmaking: Highlights from Raketa and Konstantin Chaykin

When you want to go off the beaten path in your watch collecting journey, why not take a look at Russian novelties?

While it’s probably not a big secret to dedicated watch enthusiasts, plenty of people might still be unaware that there are quite a few watch brands based in Russia. And, more importantly, they make impressive, often unique and, for the most part, highly-dependable timepieces. Basically, if you like watches, this is a whole new rabbit hole to get yourself lost in as you delve into the history, design language and uniqueness of the various Russian watchmakers.

For now, however, we’re going to take a closer look at two models from two brands that—in their own unique ways—beautifully capture the appeal and variety of Russian watches.

Raketa “Baikonur” 0247

During the Soviet era, Raketa produced watches for the various branches of the military and also for the space industry. Obviously, reliability and toughness were the hallmarks of the brand’s watches. This particular watch—the Baikonur—was designed in collaboration with an actual cosmonaut, Sergei Krikalev, who is also a prominent rocket scientist and holds third place for the longest time spent in space (more than 803 days).

One of the most unique features of the Baikonur is a special system that disengages the wheels of the automatic winding mechanism. Why? Because in space, automatic winding won’t work due to the lack of gravity. Other than that, the watch also features a 24-hour dial (useful when you’re in a space station where night and day can be hard to tell apart), a solar compass and a reliable Raketa movement, all packed into a steel case with a titanium bezel.


Konstantin Chaykin Make Halloween Green Again 2019

Self-taught Russian clock- and watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin has a penchant for creating amazingly complex pieces, but is perhaps best known for his eye-popping—and best-selling—Clown and Joker watches. Back in 2017, when the Joker made its debut, the watchmaker also introduced a Halloween-themed novelty. Last year, Konstantin Chaykin continued this tradition with a green twist.

The Konstantin Chaykin Make Halloween Green Again 2019 limited edition model features a jack-o’-lantern dial to celebrate All Saints’ Eve and comes in green as a nod to Ireland, whose folk customs and beliefs are the roots of modern-day Halloween. It is also a reflection of Konstantin Chaykin’s passion to create a greener Earth.

Design-wise, the dial sports a guilloche pattern with a double relief and semitransparent glossy lacquer coating giving an incredibly spectacular picture of shimmering yellow-green tones from light green to dark. Interestingly, the “mouth” part of the jack-o’-lantern motif is a moonphase indicator. All in all, it is certainly a festive and unique watch.