Raketa wear their Cosmonaut inspirations on their sleeve. Not only does the name translate to ‘rocket’, they’re obsessed by the extra-terrestrial, with inventive designs dedicated to planets, space travel and the stars – and their latest limited edition continues that theme, albeit with a nod to a pair of British watch industry instututions.
The Raketa Mars-3 is based on the Space Launcher, meaning a lozenge-shaped 43mm stainless steel case and a 2624A calibre automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve. The base version’s definitely handsome but in the Mars-3 the watchmaker’s taken a very different aesthetic direction.
When the Mars-3 lander arrived on the red planet, it only managed to send back one, distorted image of the surface. The laser-etched bronze dial here is an eerily close copy of that image. It’s eye-catching for sure and the precision of the shallow engraving is superlative. That said, it’s less red than you might expect; more of a shimmering brown blur. Rather than mar the dial, the indexes are actually engraved onto the underside of the sapphire, floating above the miasmic visual of Mars.
There is a flash of the expected red on the reverse, with a bright winding rotor, along with a depiction of the mars probe, engravings of constellations and the date of the Mars-3 landing in 1971. It’s a nice riff on the standard Space Lander’s movement, which instead uses a blue rotor.
While it looks like your usual GMT layout with its 24-hour bezel, it’s local only. You actually read all hands off that bezel, useful if you don’t have the sun as your point of reference. I.e., when you’re in space. There’s an inventive touch to this particular bezel too; it has a slight overlap at the 24-hour mark, indicating the extra 39 minutes and 35 seconds of a Martian day.
The new collaborative timepiece is only available through The Limited Edition, and limited it is indeed. Only 50 pieces are being made, individually numbered and presented on a leather strap with red lining. It’ll set you back £ 2,016, which is a chunk above the original Space Launcher, but still a seriously good price for a manufacture watch with some impeccably cool Martian twists.
Price & Specs:
Model: Raketa Mars-3
Case/Dial: 43mm diameter x 13.15mm height, stainless steel case, laser-etched bronze dial, Martian Sol scale bezel
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: In-house calibre 2624A, automatic, 24 jewels
Frequency: 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 40h
Functions: 24-hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: Brown calfskin leather with red lining and steel pin buckle and additional black rubber strap
Price/availability: £1,680 (excl. taxes), limited to 50 pieces