The Russian watchmaker, now headed by a Prince, marks the 100 year anniversary of the Communist Revolution in Russia, with a special timepiece featuring a drop of blood on the dial.
Every monumental historical event will have its supporters and its critics. As far as monumental goes, they usually don’t come more so than the 1917 Revolution in Russia, which ushered in the age of Communism.
The centenary of the event is celebrated by some, critiqued by others, and probably completely overlooked by a fare share of the rest of us out there.
So one wouldn’t expect that such a political event would enter the world of business and watches, but it has.
Yet at the same time, Prince R. Romanov declared that "We shall not celebrate the October Revolution.”
Who is Prince R. Romanov, you might ask? The surname might be familiar to history buffs. He is a direct descendant of the Romanov dynasty, the same family that was executed during the 1917 Revolution when the Communists took over.
Born and raised in exile in the United States, he eventually returned to his beloved Russia, and in 2010 took on the role of Director of the Board of Russia’s oldest factory. Some of you might know it as the the Petrodvorets Watch Factory, or Raketa (which translates to ‘rocket’).
The revolution wasn’t kind to the royal family, to say the least. So you could be sure that Raketa would not be celebrating the occasion. Rather, we can say that the company simply ‘commemorated’ the event. That’s because the event was tragic in many ways, with some 10 million estimated deaths from all sides.
At the same time, such an event is hard to ignore. So the Prince and the rest of the Raketa team decided to produce a black watch as a sign of mourning. Not only that, but the watch has a drop of blood on the dial to symbolize all the blood that was shed as a result of the revolution.
As you might expect, the dial is all black with various finishing to provide some texture, including the drop of blood in the center of the dial. The sword shaped hands provide some contrast, which also look to be a fitting choice given the occasion.
The case back, on the other hand, sports the coat of arms of the Royal family. With that design choice, the watch makes a significant statement of allegiance with regard to the Revolution and its outcome.
As a result, I imagine that this watch will divide opinions, one way or another, just like the Revolution continues to do so today.