BARRAUD’S, London. No 587


Fine small and early Arnold-type box chronometer from this famous firm, circa 1815.

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Full plate fusee movement with barrel-bar, with cap jewels on balance (diamond) and escape. Arnold spring-detent escapement with the detent in a slot, with brass escape of the usual Arnold ‘cycloid’ form. Arnold-type ‘Z’ compensation balance with conical shaped weights at the free end. 6-turn blued-steel balance-spring with Arnold’s terminal curves. Signed and numbered silvered dial with seconds at 12, blued-steel hands. In original brass bowl with the original bezel and domed glass, housed in a brass canister case of the type associated with the Dutch Navy. Dial diameter 7.5 cm (3 inches), canister 7.5 cm overall height.

Paul Philip Barraud, Cornhill, London, one of the pioneers in the retailing of box chronometers. Seemingly undeterred by the failure of his association with William Howells and George Jamison in the manufacture of Mudge-type chronometers, Barraud continued to buy in and retail some of the best work of the period, including many from Robert Pennington, father and son, who almost certainly made this chronometer. Pennington was the real inventor of this style of fixed winding key, the design of which is usually ascribed to Barraud, and so-called ‘Lund’s weights’ are another Pennington invention. See also the book on Paul Philip Barraud and its Supplement by Cedric Jagger.

NB: Numerous early 19th century chronometers are known housed in these specially made brass canister cases, some of which carry the engraving of ‘KOL’ and a number indicating their use by the Dutch Navy. I believe such chronometers were cased this way, not for navigational use on board a ship, but for Observatory or geographical work - see the similarly cased chronometer signed for Knebel, Amsterdam (English work) in the Boerhaave Museum’s collection which was purchased by Cornelius Ekama, along with a regulator, for use in Leiden Observatory in 1817. Many of these chronometers were converted to fast beat for use as a ‘vernier’ type timer. This has not happened to this chronometer.

Please also note that this shows yet another reason to call these timepieces by their real name of ‘box chronometer,’ rather than marine chronometer, as many were never intended nor used for navigation.

Tip of the minute hand missing, as is part of locking screw from the handle of the canister, and the diamond endstone is probably a replacement, the two screws holding it definitely so. Otherwise in unusually fine original and un-messed about condition for a working instrument of this age. For this reason I have not serviced the chronometer but this can be done at the buyers request if required. It will tick if wound, but should not be run without a proper service.