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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I was told you might be able to answer a question I posted over on the 24 hour forum. My original post is below. Thanks for any help you can give!

Please let me preface this with an apology.

I've been lurking on your forum for quite some time now. I've been looking at 24 hour watches for the better part of six years and finally, this past Christmas, was given one as a present from my lovely wife. She found it on eBay and asked me for my opinion. I told her not to spend more than $50 but that I would love the watch. She got it for $46. A fair price I believe. My apology is thus...I must use my first official post to pose a question I've seen asked here many times. So. I'm sorry. But I must!

Is my watch a fake!

I bought it from a seller in the Ukraine...supposedly a genuine Raketa from the 90s. The pictures looked legit and the markings were fairly standard based on all of the Raketas I've seen in the past few years. One difference I've been unable to verify as real is the "18 Kamhen" mark along with a 2609.HA movement. I haven't seen the two paired before. Also, I am complete striking out finding this watch face on any reputable site like WUS.

The watch itself is of personal significance to me because I was a NASA Flight Controller for a little over five years and left my post just last year. So the combination of the Soyuz flight to MIR and the 24 hour movement is better than I could have imagined.

I'm pretty convinced that the movement is indeed genuine but am not sure about the face.

What do you think? I'd love for the movement at least to be real. Either way though, I'm thrilled to finally have a 24 hour mechanical watch. My 6 year old daughter loves listening to the "heart" inside the watch too!



 

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You want the good news or bad news?

The good news is that it's a Raketa movement, and will probably run for decades to come.

The bad news... Well, for starters the movement has been modified. It started out in life as a 12hr movement (which is what 2609HA is; the "18K" is fine, by the way), and has been modified to run as a 24hr movement. There are rumours that some of these modded movements were produced by the factory when times were hard (converting their stock of 12hr movements to the trendier 24hrs), but I have my doubts.

As to the dial, I hate to break your heart but I have my doubts over that too. I've seen that dial quite a lot of times, and I suspect it's a third-party dial. The case is definitely a Raketa case, though!

All in all, I think what you have there is symbol of Soviet ingenuity (which, let's face it, kept a lot of their space program going!), rather than an original piece. But enjoy!

Cheers,
Paul
 

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I'd agree with Paul.
Deciphering original spec for many Russian watches can be a minefield as I know to my cost. You still have a good, solid reliable watch and as long as you like it all's well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You want the good news or bad news?

The good news is that it's a Raketa movement, and will probably run for decades to come.

The bad news... Well, for starters the movement has been modified. It started out in life as a 12hr movement (which is what 2609HA is; the "18K" is fine, by the way), and has been modified to run as a 24hr movement. There are rumours that some of these modded movements were produced by the factory when times were hard (converting their stock of 12hr movements to the trendier 24hrs), but I have my doubts.

As to the dial, I hate to break your heart but I have my doubts over that too. I've seen that dial quite a lot of times, and I suspect it's a third-party dial. The case is definitely a Raketa case, though!

All in all, I think what you have there is symbol of Soviet ingenuity (which, let's face it, kept a lot of their space program going!), rather than an original piece. But enjoy!

Cheers,
Paul
Thanks for the response Paul!

I have read a few different posts here on WUS mentioning that in the 90s some curious things were happening at the factory and that parts may have been sold or shipped off. I'm assuming that this watch is a product of that.

How would a movement such as this be modified for 24 hours? Excuse my ignorance, but would a gear just be swapped out or something to that effect?

I'm glad that the case and movement are essentially original Raketa in the sense that they are not reproductions! No bad news here.

Over on the 24H forum, another member made a really good post about this...link below.

https://www.watchuseek.com/f5/soyuz-raketa-real-fake-963021.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'd agree with Paul.
Deciphering original spec for many Russian watches can be a minefield as I know to my cost. You still have a good, solid reliable watch and as long as you like it all's well.
That's really what I wanted to hear! I love it...I need a new stainless band as leather ones don't suit me well (or I don't know how to take care of them), but I absolutely love this watch.

Thanks!
 

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//How would a movement such as this be modified for 24 hours? Excuse my ignorance, but would a gear just be swapped out or something to that effect?//

I used to think it was just a gear-swap but, as someone here (can't remember who) pointed out, it's a little more complex. I just took one apart to confirm this. Two gears on the front (dial-side) of the movement do indeed get replaced (halving the ratio of the hour hand to the minute hand); but the recesses in which they sit have to be enlarged, and the peg that one of them sits on has to be moved (ie, old peg ground away, and a new hole drilled and fitted with a peg). So, this modification is itself quite a precision piece of engineering. But 24hr watches command a higher price, so there's an incentive. (The "original" 24hr movement, of course, has the larger recesses and different peg position from the beginning).

The whole question of the authenticity of Raketa watches from the early 90's is a bit muddy. As someone mentioned on the other forum, the factory was definitely in trouble and it's hard to know what went on. Their website at that time listed a huge number of models, including many clearly aimed at Soviet nostalgists or tourists (eg, KGB; hammer and sickle); some of these designs seem to have been based on fakes (the fakers clearly had a good idea of what would sell well). There are also rumours of employees at one point being paid (officially or unofficially) in watch parts from which to assemble their own watches (to sell). How much of this is true is anyone's guess.


In any event, you have a nice watch with an interesting (if slightly mysterious) history!

Cheers,
Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)

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//How would a movement such as this be modified for 24 hours? Excuse my ignorance, but would a gear just be swapped out or something to that effect?//

I used to think it was just a gear-swap but, as someone here (can't remember who) pointed out, it's a little more complex. I just took one apart to confirm this. Two gears on the front (dial-side) of the movement do indeed get replaced (halving the ratio of the hour hand to the minute hand); but the recesses in which they sit have to be enlarged, and the peg that one of them sits on has to be moved (ie, old peg ground away, and a new hole drilled and fitted with a peg). So, this modification is itself quite a precision piece of engineering. But 24hr watches command a higher price, so there's an incentive. (The "original" 24hr movement, of course, has the larger recesses and different peg position from the beginning).

The whole question of the authenticity of Raketa watches from the early 90's is a bit muddy. As someone mentioned on the other forum, the factory was definitely in trouble and it's hard to know what went on. Their website at that time listed a huge number of models, including many clearly aimed at Soviet nostalgists or tourists (eg, KGB; hammer and sickle); some of these designs seem to have been based on fakes (the fakers clearly had a good idea of what would sell well). There are also rumours of employees at one point being paid (officially or unofficially) in watch parts from which to assemble their own watches (to sell). How much of this is true is anyone's guess.


In any event, you have a nice watch with an interesting (if slightly mysterious) history!

Cheers,
Paul
Here's my analysis: https://www.watchuseek.com/f10/analysis-raketa-2609-2623-24-hour-movements-894141.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

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Well, just to muddy the waters on the OP's dial a bit further, here is that same dial (complete with misspellings) on a watch with a more normal Raketa 24 hour configuration (case and rotating bezel) and what looks to be a factory 2623 (rather than a conversion) inside: 231130764156.
 

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From Ukraine...
Fake dials are usually printed by the dozen.
 
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