Mcgregor, Glasgow: A Coromandel Chronometer
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 detent escapement, with maintaining power, and spotted plates and is 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, and has a bone plaque to the front engraved with a repeat of the maker's details. This 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.
Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 7 inches (18 x18 x 18cms)
McGregor obtained their movements from the firm of Thomas Mercer, who supplied many of the top maker's of the time, this being a good example of theirs, 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 of circa 1885 when the cost of a two-day movement 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.
Provenance: Derval Antiques: The Derek Roberts Collection