April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin made the first flight in the history of mankind in outer space on the rocket Vostok 1. In honor of Yuri Gagarin the Petrodvorets Watch Factory named its watches "Raketa," or "rocket" in Russian. At the height of the Cold War, however, the name "Raketa" was perceived negatively in the West, as the word was associated with the latest generation of Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles, the R 16.
Before the Petrodvorets Watch Factory began to produce watches, it produced objects made of precious and semi precious stones for the Tsar and his family. Later, it began to produce goods for military manufacturers as well as jewels" for the watch industry. In 1949 the factory released the first watches under the names Zvezda ("Звезда", star) and Pobeda ("Победа", victory). The factory's own watches, sold under the brand name Raketa, first appeared in 1961 and the factory also began to manufacture its own movements, like the «Raketa - 2609N». Over the years, the Petrodvorets Watch Factory produced more than two dozen versions Raketa movements. Some were equipped with features such as automatic winding, calendars, 24-hour models for polar explorers, anti-magnetic watches (for use in case of a nuclear attack), as well as watches for the military. Mechanical Raketa watches produced in Petrodvorets were exported to many Eastern Bloc and communist countries and are considered one of the most durable and reliable movements in the world and by the 1980s Raketa was producing 4.5 million watches a year.