Let’s talk about the Raketa Big Zero, Mikhail Gorbachev’s favourite watch

Possibly the most easily recognisable post-Soviet watch shape

Mikhail Gorbachev has just died aged 91.

He was the last the Soviet leader and contributed significantly to the demise of the USSR.

I don’t want to get to political so I’ll keep this short.

He’s a hero in the West because we see him as ‘one of us’, he wanted more freedom, a stronger focus on the economy and less government intrusion.

In Russia, people mostly believe he was a dummy, and they blame him for accelerating the USSR dissolution in a way that weakened it.

But we don’t wanna talk about that.

What we want to talk about is his watch.

Gorbachev was a big fan of Raketa – Russian for ‘Rocket’ – one of the oldest and possibly best known Russian watch makers outside of the country.

Legend has it that during an international political summit in Italy, when asked to explain the Perestroika, he simply raised his arm and pointed at his watch.

And then he said: “It’s like my watch [Raketa Big Zero]: the Russian people want to start everything from zero.”

The Big Zero, as the name suggets, is characterised by the absence of the ’12 o’clock’ marker, which is replaced with a BIG ZERO.

Because after all, the day starts at 00.00

It’s a simple two-hander watch, and there are a million variations.

And amazingly, I’ve ever owned one.

Maybe I should fix that.

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