A fine and completely original 8-day box chronometer, unusually with Kullberg balance, circa 1890.
3-piece finely figured mahogany box with original Dent trade label pasted inside, the brass plaque in the middle section bearing the makers name and number, the distinctive brass furniture retaining much of the original lacquer - it has not been re-done. Double-frame reverse fusee movement retaining most of its original spotting, the frame stamped JP (Joseph Preston). Spring-detent escapement of standard late Earnshaw form (supplied by King) with lovely 'black polished' detent. 10-turn "bright" steel helical balance-spring acting with a fine example of Kullberg's 'split-rim' auxiliary compensation balance (supplied by Lee), both as originally recorded when entered at Kew. Silvered dial with state-of-wind indication and offset seconds, original blued-steel hands. Box 20.5 cm square.
Edward John Dent, one time partner of John Roger Arnold, quickly became one of London's greatest and best known chronometer makers, publishing numerous tracts on the subject as well as designing various compensation balances aimed at overcoming the so-called middle temperature error, and who also sometimes fitted other maker's designs. See the book on the various Dent firms by Vaudrey Mercer, p 690 where it is recorded that this chronometer failed its Kew Trial in 1891. NB: Chronometers that failed Trials were re-adjusted and many became as accurate as any, plus many that did well in Trials went on to perform far less well in use.
Joseph Preston, the most famous of Liverpool watch and chronometer rough movement manufacturers, supplier to all the best English finishers and retailers of his day.
Though often referred to as 'marine' chronometers, the more correct term is box chronometer, as opposed to one made small enough to be worn in a pocket; plus many 8-day machines were never used for navigation. They were instead used for land survey work and mapping, were often used as a portable regulator by households with more than one address and by Diplomats working abroad, and by High Street Jewellers as a 'shop window' standard time source. That said, water damage to the trade label in the lid would suggest that this example was used at sea.
The box, winding key and movement shows some honourable scars of use but have not been refinished, the box just lightly polished. The movement and dial are both in fine condition, as is the original detent and the lovely balance. Serviced and guaranteed. NB: This chronometer is in the United Kingdom and will need specialist shipping and handling. Please enquire as to likely costs.
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