Like clockwork: Beautiful marine chronometers perfect for your yacht
by Zoe Dickens
When it comes to keeping time on your superyacht, there’s no beating the precision, accuracy and traditional style of a chronometer. Whether you prefer classic movements or high tech gadgetry, here’s our pick of the best to buy now.
Jan Frydrych & Crystal Caviar x Thomas Mercer
Unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show 2017, this stunning chronometer was created in collaboration between sculpturist Jan Frydrych, whose artworks are represented by Crystal Caviar, and renowned British chronometer maker Thomas Mercer. One in a series of unique yacht chronometers designed by Frydrych, this arresting example utilises a deep purple/azure optical glass - in conjunction with Bohemian crystal - which changes colour under different lights meaning it transforms in rhythm with the daylight of the time it displays.
Foglizzo x Thomas Mercer Greenwich Marine Chronometer Special Edition
British master chronometer maker Thomas Mercer has teamed up with Italian leather specialist Foglizzo to create a special edition of its classic Greenwich marine chronometer. Inspired by the marine chronometers housed in Flamsteed House at the Royal Observatory and showcased for the first time at the Monaco Yacht Show 2017, the chronometer is housed in a fine Macassar ebony cabinet with silkwood inlays which, for this special edition, have been crafted by Foglizzo to showcase a map charting Sir Francis Chichester's 1971 Atlantic Challenge. Chichester used a Mercer chronometer to guide him on this ocean crossing during which he broke the solo sailing speed record of 200nm per day.
Navigator Black Chrome by Comitti
Onorato Comitti travelled from Italy to London in 1845 and founded his clock-making workshop in Clerkenwell. The family-run company continues to make specialist chronometers today. The flagship Navigator, above, is another tribute to John Harrison, and features a fusee-and-chain mechanism and an eight-day power reserve. The handmade clock is available with a choice of gold, rhodium or black chrome finishes.
Navigator Black Chrome, £11,950, Comitti
Marine chronometer by Panerai
The Florentine company made its name with tough, easily legible watches that were used by Italian frogmen to co-ordinate their wartime sabotage missions. Now it has produced a range of marine instruments – a beautifully matching wall clock, barometer, hygrometer and thermometer.
Wall clock, £3,800, Panerai
B1 Ronnie Wood Marine Clock by Bremont
Based on the original B1, this sophisticated marine chronometer from British fine watch brand Bremont is an update to the first model customised by rock legend Ronnie Wood in 2013. Featuring a dial hand-painted by Wood himself, the chronometer also boasts a 40-day power reserve, water resistance and dials for voyage length, GMT, local time, home time and date.
Antarctic Endurance by Thomas Mercer
Intrepid explorers need the finest of instruments so when the Royal Navy and Royal Marines were searching for a precise timekeeper for a challenging expedition who else to turn to but Thomas Mercer?
The Antarctic Endurance chronometer is a one-off piece created specifically for the Antarctic Endurance 2016 — a two year research programme and expedition which will retrace Shackleton's dangerous voyage on the James Caird. The chronometer has been specially adapted for heavy-sea navigation and re-introduces the use of "trawler suspension" to counteract the sudden and violent movements often felt far out at sea.
Housed in a smoked eucalyptus box and crafted from highly polished stainless steel, the chronometer is stylish yet durable with an eight-day power reserve, hand made dials and extra-white crystal glass.
The Thomas Mercer Antarctic Endurance chronometer is a unique piece and is now for sale upon its return from the expedition in March 2016 with price on request.
Wempe Unified Chronometer
Weighing in at 4.5kg and with an eight-day manual wind, Wempe’s sleek chronometer is one of the least labour intensive available. It also features a large 95mm dial, black piano lacquered mahogany surfaces and matte nickel-plated brass inlays for a look that is simultaneously minimalist and entirely classic.
Unified chronometer, €29,750, Wempe
Odyss by Oculus Technologies
If you’re after a chronometer that’s as high-tech as your carbon-fibre hull, the Odyss by Oculus Technologies is the way to go. Its mirror-like high definition table top display wirelessly gathers information from your yacht’s sensors to offer a dizzying array of information including local time, route maps, weather reports and navigational gauges. You can even programme it to show CCTV feeds and make steward calls.
Odyss, POA, Oculus Technologies