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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
From A Quest to Give Russia a Luxury Brand:

Whether to modernize the factory or close it altogether became an agonizing question: “That was the biggest decision we had to take at the beginning, whether to just shut down the factory and buy from China and Switzerland and assemble in Russia, and say we’re a Russian watch,” he said. “But we soon understood the legitimacy of the brand was based on the factory.”

The investors hired a team of Swiss watchmaking consultants, some of whom advised Mr. Henderson-Stewart to abandon the outdated machines in favor of the CNC, or digital, machines now widely used in Swiss watchmaking.

But the desire to restore the factory to its former glory ultimately won. “We had all these machines,” Mr. Henderson-Stewart said. “We knew how they worked; if they broke down, we knew how to repair them. We must have been the only watch brand in the world not to spend a single dollar on marketing during the first seven years. Everything went to the factory.”
Some fun pictures. I'd love a new Raketa watch from this factory (especially an "Avant Garde"), but I'm wary of the costs. It's also hard to justify paying so much when used Raketas are plentiful and affordable on eBay.
 

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Really great article. I'm so glad they kept the old machines and techniques. I still maintain that the stuff they were turning out in 2012 were the best stuff they've ever made.

Really odd to think that I stood in the same shop but back in the middle of the construction in almost the same spot as the woman in the photo. What progress!
 

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I also am glad they kept the old machines and techniques alive -- to me, that's the best argument for buying a new Raketa! I just with the prices were a little more affordable, but maybe high prices are a necessary component to being perceived as a luxury brand.
 

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I also am glad they kept the old machines and techniques alive -- to me, that's the best argument for buying a new Raketa! I just with the prices were a little more affordable, but maybe high prices are a necessary component to being perceived as a luxury brand.
The prices are a lot easier to understand when you see they aren't a volume manufacturer
 

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I was just thinking that. They are making FAR fewer watches than we previously thought.

I hope they survive. I'd really hate for yet another small player to get swallowed up by a big conglomerate.
It would kind of help if they leant on the past and made a distinctive and desirable watch to fetch funds in.
 

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Well now I would like to purchase a new watch from them just to help the cause of keeping that factory going. They are a bit steep but I am going to try ... maybe around Christmas
 

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For me, what sets a Raketa apart from everything else is that Raketas are made by people who use precision machinery, while everything else is made by precision machinery that uses people to do the various bits the machines can't do. I just recently bought the Polar LE and I find ownership an interesting experience (and yes they fixed the crystal problem). There's actually a lot of spilt ink in general overall about how brands do compete against their vintage market. For Raketa its a bit more dear given the low prices, but you cannot make a new Raketa and sell anywhere near vintage prices and survive. Their price point, if you spend time analyzing the market, is a little on the high side, but just about right.

I can make that concrete. Pricing is a tiered construct, so if you had to pick a near competitor, I would say Stowa is one. Look at the prices there and compare to Raketa, and it becomes clear where Raketa is coming from.
 

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For me, what sets a Raketa apart from everything else is that Raketas are made by people who use precision machinery, while everything else is made by precision machinery that uses people to do the various bits the machines can't do. I just recently bought the Polar LE and I find ownership an interesting experience (and yes they fixed the crystal problem). There's actually a lot of spilt ink in general overall about how brands do compete against their vintage market. For Raketa its a bit more dear given the low prices, but you cannot make a new Raketa and sell anywhere near vintage prices and survive. Their price point, if you spend time analyzing the market, is a little on the high side, but just about right.

I can make that concrete. Pricing is a tiered construct, so if you had to pick a near competitor, I would say Stowa is one. Look at the prices there and compare to Raketa, and it becomes clear where Raketa is coming from.
Yes exactly. That's a very succinct way to put how I view them especially. In my Amphibia review I contrast to a Diver 65 at about $2,200 and people didn't understand that I was referring to a model that was also a vintage reissue. If you take like for like they're on the high side of where I think they can position themselves effectively.
 

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For the money though they have to maintain high quality. Every release matters, they can't have poor initial releases like the Polar LE and survive. Every piece that comes out of the factory needs to be perfect, and they're small enough to do it. I truly believe their future rests on giving people a high quality near hand made experience at a very (well, relatively speaking) affordable price point. Its also important for them (and from David's comments I think they do) recognize that they are fully priced in their tier for years to come, so continued quality production as well as any improvements can't be offset by price increases.

Since all their competitors use either ETA Elaborated Grade 2801-2/Sellita SW210-1 or ETA Elaborated/Top Grade 2824-2/Sellita SW200-1 movements, it would be nice if someone could compare the build quality with Raketa movements. Pure timing spec wise Raketa is behind, but I never liked those ETA/Sellita movements for their cheap quality, despite the better timing some brands can get from the better grades.
 
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