A Coromandel Marine Chronometer
A Coromandel Marine Chronometer
A Coromandel Marine Chronometer
A Coromandel Marine Chronometer
A Coromandel Marine Chronometer
A Coromandel Marine Chronometer

MCGREGOR & CO (worked c.1865-c.1917)

A Coromandel Marine Chronometer

c. 1880 Glasgow

Offered by Leigh Extence


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A fine two-day marine chronometer contained within a rare coromandel box.
The round silvered dial is engraved with the maker's name and details 'D. McGregor & Co, Makers to the Admiralty, Glasgow & Greenock, Double Auxiliary, J/5816', Roman hour numerals and with a subsidiary seconds dial, 56 hour 'up-and-down' state-of-wind dial, gold spade hands to the main dial and blued steel hands to the subsidiary dials.
The two-day fusee movement, set within a brass gimbal, has a spring detent escapement fitted with Poole’s double auxiliary, with maintaining power, the spotted plates engraved with the serial number 5763, being that of Mercer, the actual maker, this number being repeated to the inside of the bowl.
The coromandel box has brass double-stringing to the edges, brass handles set flush to the sides in the ‘campaign’ style, and has a bone plaque to the front engraved with a repeat of the maker's details.
Coromandel is a fairly rare heavy wood, being of the ebony genus from south-east Asia, India and Sri Lanka, being an almost black colour with hazel-brown coloured stripes. It has been logged so much that it has become virtually extinct and no new material is now available for new work.
Duncan McGregor & Company obtained their movements from both Victor Kullberg and the firm of Thomas Mercer, who supplied many of the top makers of the time, this being a good example of a Mercer movement and fitted with Poole's 'discontinuous' auxiliary escapement; James Poole (1818-1867) was said to be the first to use an auxiliary compensation as fitted to a 'standard' compensating balance, the discontinuous form being one that comes into effect at a predetermined temperature, but it would probably be more true to state that he ‘re-invented’ this form of compensation in 1845, it having been used in a different form by Pennington and previous to that Leroux; the latter in a watch hallmarked 1785 displayed in the museum of the Clockmakers’ Company (see Rupert T. Gould ‘The Marine Chronometer, It’s History and Development’, published by The Antique Collectors Club, 2013)
The serial number 5816 would indicate a date of manufacture in the mid-1890s when the cost of purchasing a two-day chronometer from Mercer would have been between £18-18 and £20-00. At this time McGregor's addresses were 32 Cathcart Street, Greenock and 37 & 38 Clyde Place, Glasgow having had various addresses both in Glasgow and Greenock, the latter being the port situated a few miles from Glasgow.
The rare coromandel box, with parallel brass stringers, was made in Hull by the finest craftsman in that town, the chronometer box maker George Thompson. He was a cousin of Frank Mercer on his mother's side and would infuriate Mercer by often being unavailable, having 'gone fishing' and refused to have a telephone installed to aid their communication even though Mercer offered to pay for it! This style of box, the 'fancy', was the best of the three types Thompson made.
From a private collection
Height 7.00 inch (17.78 cm)
Width 7.50 inch (19.05 cm)
Depth 7.00 inch (17.78 cm)
Stock Code
D. McGregor & Co
Leigh Extence

Leigh Extence
By Appointment

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