The Raketa Yamal Watch: An Icon of Soviet Craftsmanship

russian watch Raketa Yamal


In the late 1980s, during the Perestroika period, the Peterhof Watch Factory saw the emergence of several cooperatives, including the renowned “Peterhof Masters”. One of their most iconic creations is the Raketa watch commemorating the nuclear icebreaker “Yamal”. This article explores the distinctive features of this rare watch, highlighting its design and the historical context in which it was produced.

Description of the Raketa Yamal Watch

russian watch Raketa Yamal
Raketa Yamal (PM)

The Raketa Yamal watch boasts several distinctive elements:

  • Case: Made of gold-plated brass with a TiN-finished bezel, measuring approximately 36 mm in diameter.
  • Dial: The dial features a detailed print of the nuclear icebreaker Yamal. It is signed “P.M.” (Peterhof Masters). Within the image, the initials “A.L.M.” (Atomnyy Ledomkol Yamal) are part of the commemorative illustration. The blue lines at the top of the dial represent a stylized aurora borealis, a typical graphic element of polar watches. This design predates the addition of the famous shark mouth painted on the ship’s hull in the 1990s.
  • Hands: Black dagger-shaped hands, including the second hand.
  • Movement: Equipped with a mechanical 2614 movement from a Russian factory, with an unengraved bridge, marked “2614” and the “Angels” logo.
  • Case Back: Pressure-fitted steel case back without inscriptions.

The video presents a rare watch from the late 1980s called the Atomic Icebreaker Yamal, produced by the Peterhof Masters cooperative. The watch is distinguished by its dial printed with the image of the Yamal atomic icebreaker and the date at 6 o’clock, signed “П.М.” (Peterhof Masters) and “АЛМ” (Atomic Icebreaker Yamal). Classic baton hands for hours and minutes and a red seconds hand complete the design. The chrome-plated brass case with a smooth finish, the plexiglass crystal and the black leather strap give the watch an elegant and robust appearance. The snap-back case back hides a late-model Russian 2614 mechanical movement, with a flat mainspring, shock absorber under the anchor and balance wheel without a regulating screw. A rare and fascinating watch, which captures attention for its unique design and its history linked to the late 1980s and the Peterhof Masters cooperative. A true collector’s item for fans of vintage watches and Russian history.

The Peterhof Watch Factory Cooperatives

During Perestroika, the historic Peterhof Watch Factory, also known as Raketa, gave rise to three unique cooperatives: Renaissance, Prestige, and Peterhof Masters. These cooperatives represent a fascinating chapter in Soviet watch history, characterized by high quality and innovative designs.

  • Renaissance: Specialized in watches with semi-precious stone dials like jade, jasper, malachite, and nephrite.
  • Prestige: Known for its mirror dials with religious themes and images of churches.
  • Peterhof Masters: Focused on producing watches with printed dials on various themes, often decorated with high-quality naval and military images. The commemorative Yamal watch is one of their most iconic models.

The Yamal Icebreaker

The Yamal is one of the nuclear icebreakers of the Arktika class, built to operate in harsh Arctic conditions. Here are some of its main technical characteristics:

  • Nuclear Reactors: Equipped with two OK-900A nuclear reactors, each with a capacity of 171 MW, for a total thermal power of 342 MW.
  • Power: The maximum propulsion power is 75,000 horsepower (approximately 55.3 MW), distributed over three four-blade propellers, each 5.7 meters in diameter.
  • Dimensions: Length of 148 meters, width of 30 meters, draft of 11.08 meters, height from keel to masthead of 55 meters.
  • Displacement: 23,455 tons.
  • Speed: Maximum speed in open water of 22 knots (about 40 km/h) and the ability to break ice up to 2.3 meters thick at a speed of 3 knots (about 5.5 km/h).
  • Hull Structure: The outer hull is 48 mm thick in areas in contact with ice and 25 mm elsewhere, with a polymer coating to reduce friction. It uses an air and hot water bubble system to facilitate icebreaking.

The Yamal is known for its ability to navigate through thick Arctic ice, thanks to its powerful nuclear reactors and advanced icebreaking technologies. It has played a significant role in creating annual travel expeditions to the North Pole, being one of the few ships capable of reaching this destination and safely transporting tourists​ (CruiseMapper)​​ (Wikipedia)​.

Tourist Cruises

The Yamal offers tourist cruises to the North Pole, a unique experience for adventurers. These cruises typically depart from Murmansk, Russia, and prices for a 14-day cruise can be around $30,000 per person. The cruises include various activities such as helicopter tours, Zodiac excursions, and photography programs​ (Poseidon Expeditions)​​ (Cruise Critic)​.


The Raketa Yamal watch by the Peterhof Masters cooperative is a rare and valuable piece for collectors and watch enthusiasts. It represents not only the excellence of Soviet craftsmanship but also an era of change and innovation. For more details and an in-depth look at the watch, you can consult Dmitry Brodnikovskiy’s video available on YouTube, which provides a detailed analysis of this unique model.


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 Watch Cooperatives of the Petrodvorets Factory

russian watch Raketa PM - ВМФ СССР

During the Perestroika, a period of major economic and social reforms in the Soviet Union led by Mikhail Gorbachev, the historic Petrodvorets Watch Factory (also known as Raketa) gave rise to three unique cooperatives: Renaissance, Prestige, and Peterhof Masters. These cooperatives, active in the late 1980s and early 1990s, represent a fascinating chapter in the history of Soviet watches. Here, we will explore the history, activities, and peculiarities of each of these cooperatives.

Renaissance: The Art of Watches in Precious Stone

Origin and Specialization

The Renaissance cooperative emerged in the late 1980s at the Petrodvorets Watch Factory in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Founded during the Perestroika, Renaissance specialized in producing wristwatches and pocket watches with dials made of semi-precious stones such as jade, jasper, malachite, and nephrite. These watches were particularly appreciated for their beauty and uniqueness.

Activities and Production

Renaissance was renowned for the impeccable quality of its stone dials, making each watch a unique piece. The watches produced were mainly mechanical but also included quartz models. The pocket watches with stone dials were rare and produced in limited quantities, making them highly sought-after collectibles.

Sources and Videos

Prestige: Elegance Reflected in Mirror Dials

Origin and Specialization

The Prestige cooperative was also founded in the late 1980s, during a period of economic transition for the Soviet Union. Prestige is distinguished by its production of watches with mirror dials and iridescent coatings that change color depending on the viewing angle. This type of dial was particularly innovative and attractive.

Activities and Production

Prestige was famous for its mirror dials, often decorated with religious themes and images of churches. These watches were not sold commercially and were probably produced in very small batches. The watches had tall cases with a projection for the calendar, giving them a distinctive appearance.

Examples of Models and Technical Details

  • Mirror dial with an image of Saint George the Victorious
  • Gold-plated case nicknamed “Peterhof frog”
  • Mechanical movement 2609

Sources and Videos

Peterhof Masters: Creativity and Printed Themes

Origin and Specialization

The Peterhof Masters cooperative, also founded in the late 1980s, focused on producing watches with printed dials on various themes. This cooperative was known for the high quality of its prints and the variety of themes covered in its designs.

Activities and Production

Peterhof Masters’ watches were often decorated with naval and military themes. The dials were detailed and well-finished, giving the watches a particular charm.

Examples of Models and Technical Details

  • Atomic Icebreaker Yamal: Printed dial with the image of the atomic icebreaker Yamal, mechanical movement 2614
  • Koppernik: White dial with Roman numerals, naval and military themes, caliber 26NP movement

Sources and Videos

The Charm of Petrodvorets Cooperative Watches

Watches produced by the Renaissance, Prestige, and Peterhof Masters cooperatives not only represent the excellence of Soviet craftsmanship but also tell a story of innovation and adaptation during a period of significant change. These watches, with their unique characteristics and fascinating history, are precious items for collectors and watch enthusiasts.

Authoritative Sources

Alexander Brodnikovsky, a recognized expert in this field, has shared much of this valuable information, providing a detailed view of these rare watches and the cooperatives that produced them.


The cooperatives of the Petrodvorets Watch Factory represent a unique chapter in the history of Soviet watches. Each cooperative left a distinctive mark, creating watches that are appreciated today not only for their beauty and quality but also for their historical significance. Collecting these watches means owning a piece of history and celebrating the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the past.

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