The Museum's London Observatory Watch is adapted from one of master clock maker Thomas Tompion’s (English, 1639–1713) classic timepieces. Tompion was one of the most successful watch makers in Europe during his lifetime, with customers such as King William III of England and Cosimo III, Duke of Tuscany. Developed from a seventeenth century regulator clock designed for the royal observatory in Greenwich, our watch reproduces the sophistication and timeless design of the original.
Produced in cooperation with The British Museum, London.
18K gold overlay case, with mother-of-pearl dial. Black croco-embossed leather band with gold buckle. Quartz movement. Case: 1 1/2'' diam. Band: adjusts from 6 3/4'' to 8 1/4''. Water resistant case only 330 feet or 100 meters.
- 18K gold overlay case
- Black croco-embossed leather band
- Quartz movement
- Mother-of-Pearl dial
- Water resistant case only 330 feet or 100 meters
- Band: adjusts from 6 3/4'' to 8 1/4''Case: 1 1/2'' Diam.
Art HistoryThe ownership of a Thomas Tompion clock or watch at the end of the seventeenth century was limited to monarchs, princes, the aristocracy and wealthy merchants. In 1675 King Charles II (r. 1660–85) issued a Royal Warrant enabling an observatory to be built at Greenwich. Tompion was commissioned to make two regulator clocks for this royal observatory, one of which is in the collection of The British Museum. The other also survives and is in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. The movement, which requires winding only once a year, maintains power to keep the clock running even during winding. After initial problems were corrected and adjustments made, the clock was accurate to within eight seconds per month.