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  1. #1

    Default A question about English chronometers

    I thought I posted this earlier but let's try again.

    I have a question about the business model of making English chronometers..
    I'm familiar with the clock trade here in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly the 18th. Clocks were made by small manufacturers, increasing from bought in parts and then progressively complete clocks were bought in as manufacturing became centralised.

    Pocket watches here were generally made in a small number of geographical centres by many small workshops, the retailer would buy in a comple watch wiyth their suignature or finish a mainly complete watch supplied from one of these centres.

    My question is what was the business model for Chronometers, were they bought in part finshed like watches or were parts bought in and complete movements made like clocks in the earlier days .

    Is the signature on the dial the person who made it or sold it?
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A question about English chronometers (By: novicetimekeeper)

    My theory is that the model shifted. In thearly days 1780-1800 they were after prize money, awards, prestige and patriotism.

    It was part of a larger movement which created teh instrument making business and similar advances were occurring in angle division and optical instrument making. The chronometer was useless without sextants which developed at the same time. Many businesses sold both.

    It evolved in a prestige niche for a top English watch dealers. Ship chronometer making after about 1850 was a bad business. The products lasted indefinitely and the market was largely uncertain. In fcat hte prevailing view was that a chronometer needed about 100 years to finally settle on a really stable rate. tehadmiraty was teh major customer and they bough by competition at Greenwich. Most chronometer makers barely eked out a living, especially if that is all they did.

    Mercer and Kullberg consolidated the trade by some time after the mid 19th century they supplied most of teh English box chronometers. The small independents who made them from frames were gone by then.

    As trade for an independent is was a very noble form of extreme poverty.

  3. #3

    Default Re: A question about English chronometers (By: Dr. Jon)

    So before the business went belly up the independents would buy in a frame and finish it? Where were the frames and associated parts sourced, was that an extension of the Presot manufacturing base or was it elswhere? You see watchmakers like Hornby supplying Chronometers so they would have known all the Prescot people.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

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    Default Re: A question about English chronometers (By: novicetimekeeper)

    A raw movement marked for Barraud sold recently. The level of finish was almost exactly the same as the raw pocket watch movements I have seen and have. The movement has the plates and train, but all the arbors are long and no pivots are finished, of course. Here is a link to the completed auction with pictures. https://jones-horan.hibid.com/lot/29...nometer-frame/

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    Default Re: A question about English chronometers (By: novicetimekeeper)

    Hi Nick,

    The chronometer frame makers were mostly in Prescot, and included Isaac Glover, Joseph Preston, James Hewitt, and the ubiquitous John Wycherley.

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

  6. #6

    Default Re: A question about English chronometers (By: gmorse)

    Quote Originally Posted by gmorse View Post
    Hi Nick,

    The chronometer frame makers were mostly in Prescot, and included Isaac Glover, Joseph Preston, James Hewitt, and the ubiquitous John Wycherley.

    Regards,

    Graham

    That's what I suspected but did not know. To me they seemed like large watches rather than small clocks so I wondered if those specialists that made the watches would be involved.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

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