**** Ulrich Bretscher's Pocket Watch Page ****



Roskopf Watch with the Second Hand Turning to the Left

Manufacturer: E. Rosskopf & Cie, Patent + 6470, ca. 1910


Watch diameter........51.2 mm
Movement, Dia.
Thickness of case
.....15.3 mm (bottom to top of glass)
......................91 g

Indications: Hours, Minutes, Seconds

Movement, stamped "P": Pin pallet escapement of Roskopf design. Plates from gilded brass. Wheels also from gilded brass. 7 rubies. Balance with faked balance screws and a flat, stainless hairspring. Time setting by push piece.

Dial: Enamel dial with sunk center and sunk subsidiary second dial, fixed with two dog screws. Remarkable subsidiary second face, engraved with a second scale that goes to the left.
Usually Roskopf watches are fitted with gilded Louis XV Hands. This watch has blued steel hands of mixed styles, namely an hour spade hand, a Breguet minute hand and a common second hand.

Case: Case from argentan (German silver). Case with snap-on bezel, hinged dust cap and back cover. Casemaker is unknown.

Since a barrel always turns to the left, the second wheel (literally) turns left, too. Notice the second dial with its numerals going counter-clockwise.

Price: I bought this watch at an antique market for SFr. 160.-.

Comments: After the turn of the 19th century, Roskopf's watches became a great commercial success. Since Roskopf's invention had no patent protection in Switzerland, anyone could copy it and a lot of watch manufacturers wanted to join in in this booming business. This watch is an example for this. Only the brand "Roskopf " enjoyed protection. This problem was bypassed by writing Rosskopfs name with two "ss" as in this case is demonstrated.

Roskopf's patent had a substantial disadvantage: Roskopf had spared one cog wheel in his watch, what resulted in a reversed motion of the second wheel. That didn't matter in mid-19th century, since most watches then had no second hand anyway. There was bluntly no demand for knowing the seconds. Only doctors had watches with this indication. (They needed it for measuring their patients pulses.)

But on the eve of the 20th century, watches commonly sported a second hand. For manufacturers of Rosskopf watches that meant an additional wheel to change the direction of rotation of the second wheel to the right. Probably for saving expenses, no additional wheel was put on this model. Consequently, the second hand rotates counter-clock wise. An owner of such a watch had to become accustomed to that feature.

I wore this watch a little more than a week before I became accustomed to the weird rotating direction of the second hand.

Page updated: Sept. 2006