Double-time for Brooklands clock-watchers
This pair of Ulysse-Nardin stopwatches timed some of the great motor races at Brooklands during the 1920s and 1930s, in the hands of timing official Roland King-Farlow.
Swiss-made, the matched pair are protected by being fitted in a wooden box made for them by AV ‘Ebby’ Ebblewhite, legendary Brooklands handicapping expert. The box and swivelling brass frame allowed the watches to stand up on the desk in front of King-Farlow and Ebby as they kept their meticulous lap charts, aided by mechanical calculators.
As was common in this period, the timing was to a fifth of a second, not to a tenth. That is why pre-war timings often show only even numbers when written decimally.
The clocks are sitting on a union flag which in the 1920s was used to start races at Brooklands. So there is every chance that Parry Thomas, Henry Segrave and John Cobb sat with muscles tensed watching for the first twitch of this very piece of fabric as Ebby held it above his head.
Both items are on display in the Brooklands Museum.