Referee’s 1974 World Cup final stopwatch to cause a “sensation” at auction

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The Omega stopwatch used by a former referee to time the 1974 World Cup final between the Netherlands and West Germany is going under the hammer.

The extraordinary piece of football history assisted English referee Jack Taylor when awarding two penalties in the first 30 minutes of the match, including the second-minute spot-kick by Johan Neeskens which is still the fastest goal ever scored in a World Cup final.

The stopwatch contains engravings including the official 1974 World Cup logo and Jack Taylor’s initials and is now going on sale at Fellows Auctioneers.

Jack Taylor Omega Stopwatch hand shot_Property of Fellows Auctioneers - Business News Scotland
Photo by Fellows. It has been entered into an auction at Fellows by Taylor’s family.

Fellows has placed an auction estimate of £3,000 – £5,000 on the item, which features in the Luxury Watch Sale, a live auction taking place in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, on Monday 14th June.

The 1974 World Cup final took place in Munich, with West Germany emerging as winners in a 2-1 victory.  

Some of the most iconic names in the history of the sport were on show, including Johan Cruyff,  Gerd Müller, and Franz Beckenbauer. 

After awarding a penalty to the Netherlands in the first minute, before a German player had even  touched the ball, Jack Taylor recalled that Franz Beckenbauer approached him and said “Taylor, you’re an Englishman.” 

Steven Yambo with Jack Taylor Omega Stopwatch_Property of Fellows Auctioneers - Business News Scotland
Photo by Fellows. Taylor, born and raised in Wolverhampton, can be seen using the stopwatch in various videos and images of the match.

He is one of only three Englishmen to have refereed a World Cup final.  

It is not known why Taylor was able to keep the stopwatch, although it is likely that he was gifted it by FIFA

He gave the stopwatch to his daughter, Jayne Willis, over forty years ago.

Measuring 54mm in diameter, and with a mechanical, hand-wound movement, the item will be sold alongside 200 other timepieces in the Luxury Watch Sale

Jack Taylor Omega Stopwatch_Property of Fellows Auctioneers - Business News Scotland
Photo by Fellows. The watch still works, and it comes in its original Omega box, which also contains the name of the referee.

Jack Taylor took charge of more than 1,000 competitive matches over a 33-year career, including the  1966 FA Cup final and the 1971 European Cup final.

Steven Yambo, a Senior Watch Specialist at Fellows Auctioneers, said: “I am over the moon to curate this auction.

“In the ten years that I have worked with watches, this is one of the most outstanding and significant items that we have ever had go under the hammer.

“Jack Taylor is one of the most notable referees in British history, and to auction the stopwatch that he used in an iconic match of this magnitude is a privilege. 

“I anticipate a huge amount of interest in the item from around the globe, as it will not only be sought-after amongst watch collectors but football fans will be particularly keen.

“We are delighted  that Jack’s daughter is selling this item with us and we obviously hope it will achieve the best possible price.”