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A Romanian Soccer Referee's watch

Last updated, July 06

Manufacturer: Movement certainly Swiss. Conversion by a Romanian manufacturer.

Dimensions:

Watch diameter.................47.3 mm
Movement Ø.................... 39.0 mm
Thickness..........................14.0 mm
Total weight ......................62 g

Indications:... Minutes, only

Movement no #:: ...Bridges movement from brass, hallmarked "V", Cylinder escapement.
Crown wound and pulled to set by a rocker facility. The ratchet wheel is arranged beneath the barrel bridge . The only jewel is the upper end stone of the balance wheel. All bearings are brass. The pivot of the seconds wheel has been pinched off, - an obvious sign of alteration for this watch'es later, specific use. The minute train has been removed, exept for the cannon pinion.

The 45 minute cycle of the minute hand has been accomplished by shortening the hairspring of the balance. So, now it runs on a 25'000 frequency in lieu of the original 18'000 frequency. The end-curve of the hair spring has been very shoddily bent.

Fig. 1: The 45-minutes dial indicating the elapsed time of the soccer match.
Watch on a 10 millimeter grid.
Fig. 2: Cylinder movement without jewels. Note, the ratchet- and crown wheels are situated beneath the barrel bridge and hence not visible.

Dial: ....Made from cardboard, with nine circular windows, through which the numerals are visible, glued atop a brass sheet. The numerals are printed on a paper underneath. A rather elaborate make, compared to the primitive adaptation of the movement, although, the dial is fixed by two dog screws.
Quite obviously the brass base of the cardboard dial is a remnant of the original dial, since it still shows the proper bore for the second hand and the original two dial feets. On this brass dial underlay, there is a hand-carved, Romanian inscription including the date, 1934, - probably the year of its alteration.
The minute hand is made from blued steel.

Case no#:: ....From nickel plated brass. Hinged back, no dust cover. Snap-on bezel with a mineral glass. Back cover marked DR 26, engraved by hand, presumably a serial number of a small batch by an enterprising watchmaker.

Bought: ....A gift from a friend who is a representative for Swiss car parts in eastern Europe. A watch collector himself, he received this watch from a Romanian customer.

Remarks: ....The purpose of the watch is quite obvious: a soccer match is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each.
Soccer spread from England to the rest of the world in about 1880. So this specimen is not a very early example of a soccer timekeeper. Usually a referee measures playing time with a stop-watch. In a country where these are not available the watch introduced here seems the next best acceptable alternative to a stop watch. At the start of the match the referee sets this watch to zero and from then on he can fully concentrate on the course of the game. With a mere glance at this watch he can keep track of the had the elapsed time.

In Switzerland the manufacturing of cylinder escapements ended in about 1910, though I visited a Swiss movement-manufacturer in 1964 who then still exported raw cylinder movements to third world countries for SFr. 2.50 each, then worth about one dollar.
Maybe the watch introduced here was made from such an inexpensive export movement.

Repairs: The mainspring, the indicator finger and the screw of the setting lever had to be replaced.