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Skyscript Astrology Forum

Mystery Watch - Who can solve the riddle?

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Andrew Bevan

Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 4673
Location: Oslo, Norway

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:23 pm    Post subject: Mystery Watch - Who can solve the riddle? Reply with quote

Mystery Watch - Who can solve the riddle?

We have had a thread here at Skyscript on Astrological timepieces and another one on Astrological Clocks. Yesterday I received a letter from Mr. Ian Hastings of Canada, who is a collector of Russian watches and asks for help to solve the riddle of an astrological watch he recently has purchased. I am including the correspondance with Mr. Hastings, but maybe someone at Skyscript is familiar with such a time piece or would like to participate in figuring out how it works? - Andrew

Mystery Watch

My name is Ian Hastings, & I am a collector of Russian watches. I have recently purchased the watch in the above photo and am hoping someone would be able to shed light on how this watch dial functions. What I currently know is very little. The movement is Russian,... a 24hr Raketa 2623H. I believe it may be an Italian design for the dial but I am not sure. The outer chapter ring rotates with the turn of the crown at the 4oclock position and I think that the abbreviations indicate the signs of the zodiac. The inner chapter ring is more difficult but it has been suggested that the abbreviations there also indicate zodiac signs as follows;

MC = Aries
TR = Taurus
P = Gemini
S = Cancer
IT = Virgo
R = Libra
V = Scorpio
F = Sagittarius
VB = Capricorn
MP = Aquarius
IC = Fish

I am mystified about the use of such a dial, and the significance of the various inscriptions and the meanings associated with the use of color in the design. In particular, nobody seems to know what the central inscription (in blue) means.

Best Regards,
Ian Hastings


Hello Ian,
While I have some general ideas I am not sure I can figure it all out and will share the puzzle with my friends at Skyscript. I notice there is a notch at the 12 hour mark in the ring of the 2nd chapter. This is a clue. I can reason that if you know the position of the Sun in the Zodiac, then you can adjust the outer ring so that the watch shows the Sun in the South at noon (which is only an approximate) but then as the HOUR hand progresses through the 24 hour dial you will be able to read WHICH sign is in the South (approximately) at ANY time of the day by refering the HOUR HAND to the OUTER Chapter. This is because the order of the signs demonstrate that the HOUR indicator is moved FORWARD through the zodiac as the day progresses.

Sticking to the SUN: IF you follow the motion of the HOUR indicator through the dial, it actually indicates, approximately, the position of the Sun in the SKY, so you can see whether the Sun is in the SOUTH, WEST, NORTH or EAST. It is likely to be pitch BLACK when the Sun is toward the North, maybe RED in the South is an indication of heat or action. GREEN in the East could be a time where new things are sown. WHITE in the West could indicate social interaction. Don't take me literally on this, but the division produces a rather decorative dial.

I believe that the position of the crowns indicate that the watch should be worn with the North at the top, and that the bearer of the watch should be facing North in the same manner at we are used to addressing maps. This would appear to the the 'S' the right look. The letters in the 2nd chapter of the watch are puzzling, aren't they? Because they appear to be fixed according to the hours of the day. This chapter cannot be adjusted? There may be a way of setting this watch that I have not thought of.

Kind regards
Andrew Bevan


Hi Andrew,
Thank you greatly for your assistance so far. The watch has generated a little discussion both on an Italian Watch site and the WUS site, but no one has come up with the definitive answer for the workings or origins of the dial. Link to partial discussion here.

IC: Pisces
P: Gemini
F: Sagittarius
VB: Capricorn
TF: Taurus
MC: Aries
R: Libra
V: Scorpio
IT: Virgo
C: Leo
MP: Aquarius
ST: Cancer

These are traditional abbreviations for the zodiacal signs, based on the shape of their respective symbol. Mind you they are not disposed chronologically. A vernier for astrological theme calculation. If one turns the bezel, a triangulation correspondance can be calculated between so called houses for a theme. This does not really fully describe the workings though, and may not be correct either. The meaning of the blue inscription W, upsidedown "P", upsidedown "U" is also still a mystery.

One note about the movement,... it was not an original 24HR movement ( Raketa2623H) as expected, but instead another Raketa movement which is actually a 12HR movement modified to work as a 24HR movement. ( Raketa 2609HA). This leads me to believe that the dial is definitely an aftermarket addition by someone looking for a specific use by this dial design. It most likely did not leave the Raketa factory this way.

Thanks again for your help!

Best Regards,
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006
Posts: 1215
Location: Delhi

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably stupid suggestion.
Rotate the dial 180 degrees and you see the number "1" and "24" in a proper way and the blue letters are "UPM".

Someone added on the dial wrongly in another watch.
Are there any moving parts of the dial?
eg: the three circular dials can be moved around each other before being put together ?
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Andrew Bevan

Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 4673
Location: Oslo, Norway

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you turn the watch upside down, then the crown that turns the zodiac chapter ring is on the wrong side. South does come on the top of the watch, with North on the lower end - but turn the image and you will see that the 'S' looses it's correct shape AND then the quarters of East and West are on the wrong sides of the watch.

I am unsure whether the letters 'upm' or 'wbn' have meaning related to the watch or 'time', or whether it simply us an artist signature. I have received other images of Mr. Hasting's watch, but it appears that it is only the outer zodiac rim that can be rotated - as I have understood.

Pankajdubey! Thumbs up
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