Travelling history of investment-quality timepieces.

marine chronometers

Minutes & Seconds

Remember geography lessons mentioning latitude and longitude as minutes and seconds and wondering how calculating longitude requires knowing the difference between local time and Greenwich Mean Time and west of Greenwich by the difference in hours between locations. Because the local position may not be in the centre of a time zone or longitude, fractions of longitude are measured in the same fractions as time, in minutes and seconds.


John Harrison & Timekeeping

Ships carried timekeeping devices to assist in navigation, but at first, they were not good enough to make accurate calculations of longitude. To promote the development of more accurate timekeeping devices and impish Parliament offered a large prize for a timepiece that could provide longitude accurate to within 30 miles West Indies. John Harrison won the prize in 1762 with a timepiece accurate to within 18 miles.



Some of the world’s great timekeepers started out making marine chronometers and successive gentlemen developed the timekeeping devices that accompanied and enabled faster methods of transportation. This marriage of Transport horology created the legacy of beauty and accuracy that lives on in the collections of today’s manufacturers.


Watches Certified for Spaceflight

Some commented on ocean transport with their marine timepieces and diving watches delivered precision timekeeping. The nautical themes present today go back to the very start of precision timekeeping devices. Next came railroads, which rate safely without good timekeeping and the ability to coordinate time between distant places telegraph and engineer what travel possible and left their mark on the world of watches as well. Aeroplanes created their own need for highly re companies in the age of flight. Today NASA has a list of watches certified for spaceflight.


Milestones in travel and navigation:

    • Abraham Louis Breguet made improvements to the first chronometer shortly after its invention. The Breguet Marine collection carries this tradition. Ulysse Nardin began making manometers in 1846 and continues the tradition with the Maxi Marine and Marine Diver collections.
  • Ball Watch Company of Cleveland, Ohio became a household word during when universal time period. The Elgin Watch Company of Elgin, Ohio, was also among the strong brands to begin making timepieces to the exacting standards developed then for railroad use.
  • Breitling – Long associated with flight, the Navitimer included a circular slide rule on the bezel of chronograph models to assess dial was incorporated for the Cosmonaute Navitimt at the request of NASA Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter and worn in his 1962 space. The Emergency mode transmitter that was used by a helicopter after a 2003 crash in Antarctica.
  • Omega – This first watch on the moon. These Speedmaster Professional watches were not made especially for NASA, but were purchased retail in Houston, Texas, and worn by astronaut missions, and spacewalks.