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|AA615. Vintage Thomas Mercer Gimbaled Marine Chronometer. This is a Thomas Mercer, St. Albans, England, marine chronometer complete with gimbals and double lidded box. These chronometers were the very best timekeepers made and were needed for precise navigation in the days before satellites and GPS.
The chronometer mechanism has 12 jewels and a detent escapement. The mainspring power is maintained by using a fusee, and the unit is compenstated for temperature. This is wound with a key (included but not shown, and probably doesn't work right. I will include a non-original extra) and also set with a key. The movement has two problems, both minor. First, there is some tarnish to the finish on part of the plate. This is visible in the image mosaic. Second, someone has repaired a spring that holds a ratchet on that same plate by soldering the pin in place. It works fine, but is somewhat unsightly. I have also shown a nice closeup of this. These are both minor cosmetic issues inside the tub. The unit runs just fine. Now, I have made no attempt to regulate this. When I did check, it ran about 10 seconds a day fast, but I'm sure it can be tuned to do better.
The dial is marked "Kelvin and Wilfrid O. White Co., Boston and New York" which was one of the retailers for Mercer. This is marked Mercer on the tub and on the movement, by the way. The dial is very nice with very slight aging and minor scratches, but overall, a pretty nice dial. The original beveled glass is excellent. Now, again, there is a minor cosmetic issue with the minute hand, which has been either silver soldered or welded right where the hand meets the ring that fits over the arbor. This is not obvious, and I owned this for several days before I ever noticed.
The brass tub is excellent and just lightly tarnished. The tub number matches the movement and dial numbers, which is 15757.The gimbals are also in nice condition.
The box is original and has nicely inlaid brass handles. The glass cover is beveled and undoubtedly original. The only thing on the box that is probably not original is a small inlaid piece of wood in the lower lid, front. I suppose a plate was removed and this used to cover the area, but I am just guessing. The upper lid has a latch that works. The lower lid needs a key to keep it closed, and I do not have one. A key for this can easily be made by any locksmith for a very small fee. This is not a complex key. The box has been refinished and is in nice condition. There is one small but 1/16" deep nick on the edge of the top. Other than that, the box is in pretty good shape. The box measures a little over 7" on each side.
In the past, I have been willing to ship these overseas, but international sales and shipping have become so difficult, and so unfavorable for the seller, that I have limited this to US sales. Sorry, but reality is what it is. This will be shipped with the balance corked and with the tub removed from the gimbals. The buyer will need to uncork the balance and reset the tub in the gimbals. If you are not familiar with how this is done, please contact me and I will help you. SOLD, 8/30/12
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