Raketa Marine Navy 24h, the mystery unveiled…

russian watch Raketa 24h Marine
russian watch Raketa 24h Marine
Raketa 24h Marine

The Raketa Marine: A Classic Russian Watch with Hidden Secrets

The Raketa Marine is a beloved classic among Russian watches, known for its subtle intricacies. Produced during both the Soviet and Russian eras, this watch is highly sought after by collectors. Often regarded as a “must-have” for anyone looking to start or complete a watch collection, the Raketa Marine is not only aesthetically pleasing but also boasts several unique functions.

1. The 24-Hour Format

One of the key features of the Raketa Marine is its 24-hour format. Powered by the Raketa calibre 2623.H, a 26mm diameter manual winding movement with antishock protection, this watch stands out in the realm of Russian timepieces. Unlike conventional 12-hour watches, the hour hand of the Raketa Marine completes one full rotation every 24 hours. This results in a distinctive gap between the hour and minute indices, which we’ll explore further. Despite variations across Soviet, Russian, and GOST-branded versions, the Raketa Marine remains clear and easy to read.

Raketa Marine 24h explanation
Raketa Marine 24h
Raketa Marine 24h rotation of the guards
Raketa Marine 24h rotation of the guards

2. Tracking Watch Duty

Another notable feature of the Raketa Marine is its rotating inner ring, adjustable using a crown located at the 8 o’clock position. This ring is designed to help track watch shifts, which in naval terms consist of 4 hours on duty followed by 4 hours off. The cycles are represented on the ring, allowing for easy adjustment to mark the start of a shift. A curious aspect is the color coding: one of the four-hour shifts is marked in red, while the others are in blue. Although this might simply highlight the first shift, the precise nature of Russian design suggests there could be a deeper meaning. There’s also speculation online about dashed lines on the dial representing shower times for sailors, but this remains unconfirmed.

3. Understanding Radio Silence

The most intriguing mystery of the Raketa Marine involves the blue lines on the dial between 6:00-7:00 and 18:00-19:00. These markings, which don’t immediately reveal their purpose, hold a significant function related to maritime operations. By closely examining the watch, it becomes evident that the blue lines align with minute indices rather than hour indices. This observation, coupled with research, points to a well-known naval practice called “radio silence periods.”

raketa marine radio room mistery gif

What is Radio Silence?

Radio silence is a crucial practice wherein radio operators cease transmissions to listen for distress signals. Specifically, this occurs for three minutes every half-hour, at 15-17 and 45-47 minutes past the hour. This period allows operators to pick up any SOS signals from ships in danger, particularly on the 500 kHz frequency. There’s also a separate listening period for MAYDAY messages on a different frequency. For a detailed explanation, you can refer to the page on RADIO SILENCE.


On the net, there are many examples and two often used are of famous Soviet clocks and watches:

The 500 kHz frequency

Due to the legibility issues on the watch dial, only the period related to the 500 kHz telegraph transmissions was highlighted. Listening on medium waves at 500 kHz fell out of use in 1999 after about 90 years, replaced by more modern and reliable systems. However, at the time the Raketa Marine was designed, this practice was still in effect.

Further Reading

For those interested, HERE are insights in Italian about the use of this frequency. This explanation should clarify the purpose of the small blue lines on the dial of the Raketa Marine.

Interestingly, many “Radio Room Clocks” also highlight only this band. They likely date from before the introduction of the full system with the four-time bands. Here is a historical example.

Last articles

Simple Guide to Soviet and Russian Watch Movements

Vostok 2416b Rannft (C)

How to Recognize Soviet and Russian Movements?

One of the key features of Soviet watches is that they contain only Soviet movements. These watches do not feature any external parts; all components were produced within the USSR. The quality of these movements varied depending on the factory, with some periods of excellence and others less so.

Here are some fundamental and curious pieces of information about these movements.

The Codes on Soviet Watch Passports

The codes used to identify Soviet movements were developed and standardized in the 1960s. These codes can be found on the passports that accompanied every watch produced during the Soviet era:

    Passaporto sovietico Vostok 2609A
    Passaporto sovietico Vostok 2609A
    Passaporto sovietico Molnija 3602
    Passaporto sovietico Molnija 3602

    What Do the Codes Mean?

    Deciphering the code is not particularly complicated. The movement code consists of 4 digits and one or two letters. After the fall of the Soviet Union, more codes were added, and the two digits often became three.

    • The first two digits represent the movement’s diameter in millimeters.
    • The next two/three digits represent the specific characteristics of the movement.
    • The following letters represent the variations that occurred over time.

    Movements with the same characteristics produced by different companies have the same code, but this does not mean they are identical. Usually, the movement is identified by the manufacturing company followed by the movement code.

    A classic example found on many websites includes:

    • Slava 2416
    • Vostok 2416
    • Poljot 2416

    All three movements have a diameter of 24mm, and the 16 identifies them as:

    • Automatic
    • Central seconds
    • Date
    • Shockproof

    For detailed characteristics of the movements, you can find an exhaustive list here.

    Online Resources

    There is another valuable online resource often used to identify movements and gain related information: Ranfft Watches.

    Other useful resources include:

    A good understanding of Russian/Soviet movements can often help quickly identify when a watch has been assembled or is not contemporaneous.

    Examples of Movements

    Some common Vostok movements include:

    • Vostok 2409
    • Vostok 2414A
    • Vostok 2416b

    For more detailed characteristics of these movements, you can refer to the Ranfft database.


    The subject is vast and complex with many nuances. This guide aims to provide a brief introduction to help you start understanding the complexity of the Russian/Soviet watchmaking world.

    All images of the movements can be found at: Ranfft Watches.

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