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Stopwatch HEUER ref. 403.914

Stopwatch HEUER-LEONIDAS ref. 403.914 - rowing --- 3/4 wide shot --- --- web version

Rowing: from Amenhotep to modern Olympic games

The Stopwatch HEUER ref. 403.914 was designed for rowing, a very old sport with a long history.

Funerary inscriptions from ancient Egypt (in 1400 BC) mentions the rowing qualities of Pharaoh Amenhotep (who certainly had a HEUER ref. 403.914 stopwatch 🙂 for training).

More recently in 1896, rowing events were scheduled for the first modern Olympic Games, but bad weather led to their cancellation. Finally, the first rowing Olympic races were held at the Paris games in 1900.

Across the Channel, Cambridge students challenge Oxfords ones (and maybe you were/are one of them) at the “Boat race”, a 4.2 mile famous rowing contest on the Thames. By the way, first amateur races took place in England during the 18th century.

And nothing happened between Amenhotep (the HEUER Pharaoh :)) and modern Olympic games contests ? Of course a lot of things (regatta in Italy, US Schuylkill River races …) but rowing has a so rich history, it could be told for hours and hours. So let go back to present day to focus on technical aspect. Yes, rowing is not only a strong physical sport, the “rowing stroke” is a higtly complex and technical gesture. A proper execution at the right rate is the key for the victory !

Frequency rate and 403.914 HEUER stopwatch

The “rowing stroke” can be divided into two steps(catch and extraction) or four (catch, drive, extraction and recovery). To be efficient, rowers has to execute it perfectly.

Rowing frequency is the number of complete “strokes” perform per minute. Theoretically, higher the frequency is, faster the rowboat goes… but it’s not so simple. At hight rate, gesture gets more difficult to perform, effort is more intense and rhythm harder to keep. Finally boat may be slower.
To be at his best, oarsman determines his optimal stroke rate witch can be defined by the number of good stroke movements he can do per minute. Frequency can also depend on the rower’s goal. Between 18 and 22, it is suitable for improving technique and strength during training. The frequency can rise above 38 for short distance races.
The highest one recorded is 48 “strokes” per minute!

The HEUER 403.914 Stopwatch was designed to help the rowing crew to read quickly the stroke rate. Time 4 strokes. Number of strokes per minute is given by red graduation. By example, 4 strokes in 4 seconds, means 60 strokes for one minutes

So now you’re ready to take part to a rowing contest. Don’t forget to take your HEUER 403.914 Stopwatch, it could help you as it helped Amenhotep 🙂

Technical stopwatch informations



Full designation

HEUER-LEONIDAS ref. 403.914 – rowing


  • start, stop and reset to zero by consecutive depression of the crown

Recorder and register

  • 1/10em second recorder (handle makes 1 revolution in 10 second) with indications to read quickly number of strokes per minute
  • 0-10 minute register


big crown and black fibershell case suggest that this stopwatch is from the 70’s or earlier 80’s

After some investigations, 403.914 reference is in HEUER catalogs from 1976 to 1986


  • 7700
  • 7 jewels
  • unbreakable mainspring
  • antimagnetic
  • shockprotected


62 mm without crown

references :
general informations
the boat race
rowing stroke
rowing stroke
rowing rate