Dmitry Brodnikovskiy – The Unique Rare Raketa-Big Zero Jade Stone Watches from the USSR

Raketa Big Zero quadrante in pietra
Дмитрий Бродниковский-уникальные каменные часы Ракета-Big Zero Зеро из нефрита СССР ПЧЗ

In the video titled “Дмитрий Бродниковский-уникальные каменные часы Ракета-Big Zero Зеро из нефрита СССР ПЧЗ” (translation: “Dmitry Brodnikovskiy – Unique Rare Raketa-Big Zero Zero Jade Stone Watches USSR PChZ”), Dmitry Brodnikovskiy guides us through the discovery of a particularly rare watch: the Raketa Big Zero with jade dials, produced in the late 1980s.

Key Features

Dial: Made of natural jade with a thickness of 0.5 mm, each dial boasts a unique and unrepeatable texture. Available colors include yellow and classic chrome.

Case: Brass with chrome plating for classic models or titanium nitride for yellow ones, with a diameter of 38 mm, typical for the Big Zero series.

Movement: Raketa caliber 2609, featuring a high triple minute and a high hour wheel to accommodate the thickness of the dial.

Hands: Nickel-plated for chrome models and identical to those of the classic Zero model with a white dial for yellow ones.

Limited Edition: These watches were produced in limited quantities, not available for general sale, and were made to order, mainly for the Italian market.

Variants: In addition to jade dials, the Big Zero model was produced with perestroika-themed dials and with the quality mark.

Details on Titanium Nitride Case Models

Models with titanium nitride cases stand out for some peculiar features:

  • Dial: Yellow with black numbers, indexes, scale, and hands.
  • Hands: Identical to those of the classic Zero model with a white dial.

Raketa Watch Factory

Located in the city of Petrodvorets near St. Petersburg, the Raketa watch factory has written an important page in Soviet watchmaking history. Initially a supplier for the army, Raketa soon distinguished itself for its ability to combine tradition and innovation, creating not only functional timepieces but also design masterpieces. Among its most iconic creations are watches with stone dials, authentic handcrafted jewels that represent an invaluable cultural heritage.

A Laboratory of Experimentation and Beauty

The genesis of Raketa’s stone dials dates back to the first workshop of the Petrodvorets watch factory. Here, skilled craftsmen engaged in meticulous research for alternative materials for watch dials, experimenting with various natural stones. The goal was to create timepieces that were not only durable and functional but also aesthetically unique and capable of telling the story and beauty of the earth.

Unparalleled Aesthetics: The Charm of Stone

Among Raketa’s stone dial models, one in particular captures attention for its extraordinary beauty. The presenter of the video describes it as the most beautiful in the collection, enchanted by the saturation of colors and the unique and unrepeatable texture of the stone. Each dial, in fact, represents a unique piece, the result of meticulous craftsmanship and the unpredictability of nature itself. The stone, with its veins and inclusions, becomes the absolute protagonist, giving the watch an unmistakable identity and timeless charm.

A Heritage of Tradition and Reliability

In addition to their unparalleled aesthetic value, Raketa stone dial watches also boast solid and reliable construction. All models in the collection feature organic glass, chrome cases, stainless steel case backs, and the robust Raketa caliber 2609 mechanical movement. These elements ensure not only refined aesthetics but also longevity, making them precious objects to be carefully preserved even today.

A Piece of History to Be Passed Down

Today, Raketa stone dial watches are considered rare collectible items, sought after by enthusiasts and lovers of Soviet craftsmanship. They represent a tangible testimony of an era when ingenuity and creativity came together to create objects that were not only functional but also true works of art. Their timeless beauty and fascinating history make them true treasures to be passed down from generation to generation.

A Legacy That Lives On Today

Raketa’s legacy lives on today in the spirit of innovation and research that animates the brand. It continues to produce high-quality watches, appreciated for their unique design and high performance. However, stone dial watches remain a standalone chapter in the factory’s history, an indelible symbol of the ingenuity and craftsmanship that have made Raketa a legendary name in the world of watchmaking.

The French Branch of SLAVA in Besançon: A Fascinating Chapter in Soviet Watchmaking

Orologio Slava Besançon automatico con quadrante nero e indicatori gialli


The history of Soviet watchmaking is enriched by fascinating episodes of international cooperation. A significant example is the French branch of SLAVA, located in Besançon. This branch, established to facilitate Soviet industrial activities in the West, played a crucial role in the production of high-quality watches.

Orologio Slava Besançon automatico con quadrante nero e indicatori gialli
Orologio Slava Besançon automatico con quadrante nero e indicatori gialli

Origins and Historical Context

Besançon, known for its long tradition of watchmaking, hosted the SLAVA branch at number 7 rue Auguste Jouchoux, right next to the famous Lip company. The choice of this location was not accidental: the city not only had a strong tradition in the sector but also historical ties with the USSR. In fact, collaborations between Lip and the Soviets in the 1930s laid the foundations for the post-war revival of Soviet watchmaking.

Production and Innovation

The French branch of SLAVA began producing gold-plated cases as early as the late 1960s. This strategy allowed the Soviets to leverage local expertise to create high-quality products for the European market. The factory also produced and marketed various models under the Raketa brand. The dials of these Soviet-Besançon watches bore the inscription « механизм cccp » (« USSR mechanism »), distinguishing them from those produced in the USSR.

The SLAVA Besançon supply catalogue, probably dated to the late 1960s, lists spare parts for Chaika, Zaria, Slava, Molnia, and Poljot movements. This document is a valuable testimony to the diversification and quality of SLAVA’s production in France.

Expansion and Development

Slava Besançon also registered the trademarks Diamant, Diamant de Luxe, and Saintis, under which it marketed watches entirely made in the USSR. Initially, Slava was located in place Saint-Pierre, the headquarters of S.I.C.E.H., then in place du Jura. The first factory was installed in rue Henri Baigue, but in 1975 Slava built a new factory in rue Auguste Jouchoux. The industrial park still bears the name Slava today.

By the early 1980s, the factory employed 70 people for assembly, quality control, and after-sales service. Soviet mechanical movements were gradually replaced by quartz movements, all supplied by France-Ébauches. The company also marketed, in the last years of the USSR, the Big Zero and Rising Sun models, classics marked “Made in USSR”. It is unclear whether these watches were imported, assembled from Soviet parts, or assembled with a Soviet mechanism and a Besançon case.

Changes and Decline

In 1983, the Soviet board of directors (Mashpriborintorg representatives) of Slava parted ways first with its Besançon director, Bernard Le Varlet, then with Maurice Carruzzo a few months later. Dismissed for “technical reasons”, Maurice Carruzzo distributed leaflets through his wife at the factory gates on 16 August.

One possible explanation is that he had brought Slava closer to Lip and France-Ébauches, sourcing quartz mechanisms from them and thus creating 100% French watches, which probably was not in the Soviets’ interest.

Slava Precision: New Directions

On 15 January 1990, the joint-stock company Slava-Précision was founded, taking over Slava’s assets. It was led by M. Aubach, already active in the para-watchmaking industry (Interstrap and Watch Design companies), with the Russian supervisory board president, M. Korolev. The company continued its watchmaking activities in the same building on rue Jouchoux, importing from Russia and Hong Kong, and exporting to Canada, Switzerland, and Italy, but moving its optical activities to the Paris region.

Slava Précision still employed 24 people in 2004 but went into judicial liquidation on 12 June 2006 (the procedure was closed in 2009).

Union of Expertise and Tradition

The watches assembled in Besançon used movements produced in the USSR, such as the 2602 movement from 2MChZ. These watches bore the inscription “RUSSIAN MOVEMENT” on the dials, testifying to the Soviet origin of their components. This production avoided the commercial constraints that would have made the use of the “Made in USSR” label problematic in Europe.


The SLAVA branch in Besançon represents a fascinating example of industrial cooperation between the USSR and Western Europe. This story not only enriches the narrative of Soviet watchmaking but also demonstrates how the union of different skills can lead to the creation of exceptional products.

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