To be more precise, what I have just bought is part of a chronometer: the dial and brass edge, the bezel with its glass, and the brass shell or bowl (I do not know the correct name for this and shall be glad if somebody can tell me) which held the movement but now (alas) holds nothing but air. Given that the minimum price for a complete instrument seems to be about three thousand pounds, I do not think I have done so much amiss in paying about 3% of this for what I have. The dial, measuring 120.5mm across the brass edge, is signed by T. J. Williams of Cardiff, a firm which was founded in the 1860s and still exists today. Loomes records Thomas John Williams as a maker between 1875 and 1887, but I doubt if his business had anything to do with the making of this instrument; he was a general supplier of nautical instruments and his name usually appears on sextants and barometers. Can anyone suggest who the actual maker would have been? I appreciate that most of the evidence on this point is missing, but possibly small matters such as the random scrolls on the back of the dial may afford a clue. My main question, however, is this: – Would it be wholly unrealistic for me to nurse a hope of one day finding a movement compatible with these components? Do such movements exist, and is there any standardisation in their dimensions? I have never yet heard of a bare movement from a box chronometer (as opposed to the watch-sized pocket variety) offered for sale, and of course the usual reason for separating movement and case (namely that the latter, being gold or silver, has been turned into money, leaving the movement naked) does not apply to these wood-cased instruments; but then I am new to this area. I do know that empty mahogany boxes can be found, sometimes complete with the pins for the gimbals. If all else fails, I can at least contemplate a finely-engraved dial, a relic of an instrument which may have travelled the oceans of the world and saved many a mariner's life; this may be a fantasy, but who can disprove it? Oliver Mundy.