There will hardly be a better time to feature my Gallet Basketball & Football Timer than now, just a day before the Euro 2024 quarterfinals begin. However funny it may sound, imagine me sitting on the couch and starting my timer the moment the next match starts. That’ll be me tomorrow!

Collecting pocket watches is not that cool. Besides my watchmaker and a friend from Prague, I don’t know many collectors who systematically expand their pocket watch collections. If I had to guess, I’d say that for every pocket watch I own, I have about 40 wristwatches. We do not cover vintage pocket watches much either; my latest contribution was a story about my Wilmington four years ago. You can only imagine how surprised and excited I was when Mike recently shared a story about his Art Deco specimens from Longines and Tissot.

Gallet was a big name in pocket watches. There are many pages torn from vintage catalogs and now listed on eBay showing an endless lineup of Gallet pocket watches. The selection was pretty wild and featured a bunch of fascinating dials. Narrowing it down to sports pocket watches, the Gallet watch for timing boxing matches is one of my favorites. Interestingly, though, my Basketball & Football Timer isn’t featured in any catalog we’ve managed to archive over the years.

The Gallet Basketball & Football Timer

Purchasing the Gallet Basketball & Football Timer

I bought this watch only recently. I don’t have many Gallet pocket watches, and I only buy one if something special resurfaces. Obviously, it also has to have a realistic price tag. This Gallet Basketball & Football Timer was listed by a seller from Australia. It was sitting there for some time with no one buying it. Well, that often happens to pocket watches. I got instantly intrigued by the creative dial and started my research. Oddly, I could not find anything in my archive, nor could my Gallet friends. I was starting to have doubts about the watch when Pedro, a friend of mine and one of the most knowledgeable Gallet collectors, simply told me there was probably a 0% chance someone would bother faking a $100 pocket watch. Fair enough.


Still, with a little doubt, I bought it and waited for its arrival. When it came, it looked exactly like it did in the pictures. The slime-green tone of the crystal was not pleasing, but I hoped the dial under it was untouched. I took it to my watchmaker straight away, and he installed the new crystal. Well, judge for yourself what a crystal change can do to a watch.

Gallet Basketball & Football Timer

Look at the dial

I am no expert on basketball, but games in WNBA competitions are played over two 20-minute halves for a total playing time of 40 minutes. Each basketball game regulated by the NBA is played in four quarters of 12 minutes each, totaling 48 minutes. Games at the FIBA World Cup last 40 minutes and are broken down into four 10-minute periods, which is eight minutes shorter than an NBA game. All this helps explain the two special red lines on the minute track and the first “basketball” sector.

Timing a football match

The crossline between basketball and football can be deceiving. To use the timer correctly for a football match, you have to set it up like you do for basketball. You wind the watch, pull out the crown, and move the hand back to the beginning of the basketball sector. There is a slider on the side of the case that allows you to stop the timer. This way, you can align the minute-counting hand and seconds hand precisely on the starting position. Once the match starts, you “unlock” it, and the timer starts counting.

Not ideal but certainly fun

I do admit that for football fans, the layout may be confusing. Each sector has an individual countdown, and the position of the central hand does not represent the actual time left for the football match. After 40 minutes played, the outer minute track doesn’t show five minutes to go but 10. The regular time of the actual game ends the moment the central hand enters the big red “warn” zone. And that is the detail I love the most and why I purchased this watch. The big red pizza slice is a representation of the actual additional time the referee puts on top for the game delays and intermissions.

Gallet Basketball & Football Timer

Last thoughts

We have a lot of nationalities on the Fratello team. RJ is waiting till Friday for the Netherlands to play against Turkey. MikeinFrankfurt, who turned into MikeinLondontown, plays tomorrow against Switzerland, which surprised the Italians. And we, the Slovaks, were leading 1:0 against England recently and almost shocked the football world. But the referee pushed the timer out of the red warning zone when England tied the game in the 96th minute of the match. Delays happen more often nowadays, and games often go six to eight minutes longer. Shall I make the red “warn” triangle wider? Happy watch collecting!