OVERVIEW

 

OUR FASCINATION IS THE ACCURATE MEASUREMENT OF DAYS, HOURS, MINUTES AND SECONDS. AT THE SAME TIME, CELEBRATING OUR ILLUSTRIOUS PAST, WE ALSO RECORD THE PASSING YEARS.

When Ernest Shackleton embarked on his perilous Antarctic voyage he relied on a Thomas Mercer marine chronometer, as did Francis Chichester during the Atlantic Challenge. Skippers of notable vessels, including the Royal Yacht Britannia, depended on our timekeepers. The story of British marine navigation is the story of Thomas Mercer.

 
 

ORIGINS OF THE MARINE CHRONOMETER

THE EARLY HISTORY OF MARINE CHRONOMETRY BEGAN WITH A SERIES OF SEAFARING TRAGEDIES AND CULMINATED, IN 1761, WITH A NOTABLE VICTORY. THE VICTOR WAS JOHN HARRISON ESQ.

Unable to accurately plot their position, many ships foundered during the early 18th century. To find a solution, the British government offered the Longitude Prize to anyone who could devise a method to determine a ship’s longitude. Eventually, with a chronometer accurate to less than half a degree, John Harrison collected his £20,000 reward from the Board of Longitude.

 
 

“My grandfather Tony’s tenacity and innovation helped to make Thomas Mercer world renowned, leading the way in nautical, precision timekeeping, whilst adhering to a classically British design and ethos.”

Joel Mercer

 

THE GREENWICH TRIALS

FROM 1822, THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY AT GREENWICH BECAME RESPONSIBLE FOR TESTING, RATING AND CERTIFICATING CHRONOMETERS ISSUED TO THE ROYAL NAVY. SUCCESS IN THESE TRIALS BROUGHT RICH REWARDS.

As the ultimate test of chronometry, the annual Observatory Trials could be lucrative to winning manufacturers. Success led to public and private contracts, along with permission to inscribe ‘Maker to the Admiralty’ on the dial of the chronometers. We gained first place in the 1911 trial, with a 8-day chronometer that was purchased by the Astronomer Royal for Greenwich Observatory.

 
 

“Chronometer making is an art beyond clock making. The very finest finish is indeed required, and the compensation of hairspring to the balance over a variety of temperatures is the great challenge.”

TONY MERCER

 

AHEAD OF OUR TIME SINCE 1858

  • 1858 -1900
    EARLY TIMES

    1858 Company established in London

    Thomas Mercer is born in 1822 in St Helens, Lancashire, the centre of British watchmaking. After being apprenticed to his grandfather, a movement maker, he moves to London in 1854 and begins working for John Fletcher, an eminent chronometer maker. Later, they amicably part company for Thomas Mercer to establish his own firm in 1858, with a workshop in London’s Clerkenwell.

  • 1858 - 1900
    EARLY TIMES

    1860 First participation in Greenwich Trials

    Thomas Mercer applies for the first time to the Greenwich Trials and is accepted with his chronometer No 536, which takes 11th place. Records show that No 543, also made by Thomas, finishes 4th and is purchased by the Admiralty to equip the sloop HMS Swallow.

  • 1858 - 1900
    EARLY TIMES

    1862 Honourable Mention at London’s International Exhibition

    Thomas begins to showcase his chronometers worldwide, achieving several credits, the first an Honourable Mention at The International Exhibition of 1862 in Kensington Gardens, London. A Silver Prize Medal follows in 1867 at the Universal Exposition in Paris, as well as a Medal and Diploma at the Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, the first official World’s Fair.

  • 1858 - 1900
    EARLY TIMES

    1874 The ‘Power House’ 18 Prospect Road, St Albans

    Thomas moves to St Albans, a market city served by several railway companies and well located on the main coach route between London and Edinburgh. He establishes his workshop in a property called Verulam Villa. To have the London mark engraved on dials and letterheads is important, so he continues to sign much of his work at London, where he retains workshop facilities.

  • 1858 - 1900
    EARLY TIMES

    1875 Table Chronometers and Clocks

    In its early years, Thomas Mercer Chronometers focuses not only on marine chronometers, but also other timekeepers such as table chronometers and musical clocks. A series of fine chain fusee table mechanisms is made, featuring a variety of escapements, including deadbeat and spring detent.

  • 1858 - 1900
    EARLY TIMES

    1875 8-day triple fusee musical 9 bell clock

    Shown here: one of the most beautiful musical clocks made by Thomas Mercer. It is a sophisticated English 8 day triple fusee musical 9 bell movement mounted on a fine ebony case and brass and silver arched dial with black roman numerals. The quarter chime comes with 2 musical tunes on either 4 or 8 bells and the hourly strike is on the ninth bell.

  • 1858 - 1900
    EARLY TIMES

    1880 Pocket Chronometer Watch

    With an extensive background in watch making, as apprentice to movement maker William Walker, his grandfather, Thomas also makes beautiful pocket watches. Shown here, a piece dated 1880, with chain fusee movement and English lever escapement with cut and compensated bi-metallic balance, diamond end stone and polished case with gold cuvette.

  • 1858 - 1900
    EARLY TIMES

    1881 Second in Greenwich Trials

    Thomas Mercer 2 day marine chronometer No 2696 comes second in the Greenwich Trials, a result repeated in 1887 and 1888. Other retailers also achieve success with Thomas Mercer chronometers, notably in 1874 when four out of the top five were actually made by the firm.

  • 1858 - 1900
    EARLY TIMES

    1885 Table Regulator

    For the accurate rating, Thomas Mercer also manufactures a series of table, portable and longcase regulators, precision instruments against which chronometers can be checked. Shown here, a very rare table regulator made for the International Inventions Exhibition, London 1885. It features an exceptional chain fusee movement of eight day duration with spotted plates and full length platform surmounted by the freesprung blued steel helical spring of 14 turns to a large cut and compensated bimetallic balance and Earnshaw type detent escapement.

  • 1900 – 1925
    LEGENDARY TIMES

    1900 Frank Mercer takes over

    Thomas passes away and the company reins are taken by his sons Thomas Jr (Tom 1876-1935) and Francis (Frank 1882-1970). With his defiant and energetic personality, Frank transforms the brand into the greatest manufacturer of marine timekeepers of all time. While still young, he receives the nickname ‘The Old Man’ as a mark of respect from his co-workers. He is appointed Master of The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1937 and 1947.

  • 1900 – 1925
    LEGENDARY TIMES

    1907 The Trawler Experiment

    In response to ever more frequent requests for chronometers able to stand the quick and violent motion of fishing vessels, Frank Mercer takes a trip on an Icelandic trawler to experience first-hand the conditions a chronometer suffers in the Northern Seas. After three weeks of testing in different positions and conditions, he designs a new suspension with a shock-absorbing device formed using a frame supporting the gimbals by means of a spring and a set of handles.

  • 1900 – 1925
    LEGENDARY TIMES

    1911 No 8306 finishes first in the Greenwich Trials

    Despite a trend seeing the buyers of marine chronometers - nautical opticians in particular – wanting their own name on the dial, Frank and Tom maintain the Thomas Mercer mark and after 11 years’ absence return to the Greenwich Trials. For the first time in its history the company in its own name comes top – very rare for an 8-day model – and for the crowning glory, the Astronomer Royal, Frank Dyson, purchased the winning eight-day on behalf of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

  • 1900 – 1925
    LEGENDARY TIMES

    1912 The New Factory, St Albans, Eywood Road

    Pursuing his quest for Thomas Mercer to become world leader, Frank realises that without modern machine tools and equipment to make interchangeable parts for chronometers, it is impossible for the family business to compete with European and American makers. The two brothers decide to invest in a brand new purpose-built factory where every single of manufacture can be carried out.

  • 1900 – 1925
    LEGENDARY TIMES

    1916 Ernest Shackleton’s heroic voyage of survival

    An important page of Thomas Mercer’s history is Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1916), better known as the ‘Endurance Expedition’. Approved by First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, the expedition faces great hazards when Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, is trapped in pack ice and destroyed. After spending 22 months marooned on Elephant Island, Shackleton manages to lead his crew to safety without the loss of a single man. During his open boat voyage on the James Caird, he relies on Thomas Mercer chronometer 5229, now on permanent exhibition at the National Maritime Museum of Greenwich.

  • 1900 – 1925
    EPIC TIMES

    1916 World War and a telegram from the Admiralty

    Frank, while serving as a commissioned officer in the Royal Field Artillery, receives a telegram in September 1916 from the British Admiralty urging him to return to England to take over the chronometer industry. New chronometers are essential to the war effort and have to be made to the highest standards laid down by the British Admiralty. While the other makers are not keeping up to quota, Frank manages to increase Thomas Mercer’s production from 200 to 500 units a year.

  • 1900 – 1925
    LEGENDARY TIMES

    1919 The First Non-Stop Atlantic Flight

    In June 1919 British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown make the first non-stop transatlantic flight. The Secretary of State for Air is Winston Churchill, the aircraft a Vickers Vimy biplane and the chronometer used for checking the official time of 16 hours and 12 minutes a Thomas Mercer.

  • 1900 – 1925
    LEGENDARY TIMES

    1922 Restoration of Harrison No 1 and No 3 Timekeepers

    Thomas Mercer plays an active role in the restoration of H1 and H3, the clocks that John Harrison invented in the 18th century to win the Longitude Prize. These are regarded as ancestors of the modern marine chronometer.

     

    “Well, no one can say that I didn’t take pains with the reconstruction of No.1. But While I could plan this portion of work, I gravely doubt I could possibly have executed it. Mercer’s did this for me magnificently and refused to take a penny.”

    Commander Rupert Gould

  • 1900 – 1925
    LEGENDARY TIMES

    1923 Neuchatel Prize

    Thomas Mercer wins the Group Prize at the Neuchatel Observatory Chronometer International Trials with Nos 12432, 12434, 12394 and 12496, all with Poole’s Affix. Frank Mercer and Charlie Cox, Mercer’s Chief Adjuster and Finisher, are awarded the Guillaime Medal. Charlie Cox is made Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers with eight-day chronometer No 12478, its average rate ±0.10 seconds.

  • 1900 – 1925
    LEGENDARY TIMES

    1925 Kew Record

    At the Kew Trials, the Thomas Mercer chronometers give their best performance with No 12827 having a mean variation of daily rate of 0.06 seconds. It has a monometallic balance with nickel-steel balance spring. Out of a total of forty-nine chronometers submitted, thirty-nine pass. The following year the company establishes the Kew Aircraft Record.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1926 Deck Watch

    The last deck watch, No 2475, is made by Thomas Mercer in 1926. Deck watches used to transfer time from the chronometer to the officer operating the sextant on deck.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1926 Patent no. 26/261655

    Patent no. 26/261655 is filed by Frank and Tom Mercer. This invention, which empowers the mechanism to send electrical impulses every second and quarter second, opens up new opportunities for applications such as land surveying and aviation. The quarter second electrical impulse is attached to the escapement by a pin on the roller to a lever rocking between the two contacts, while the seconds pulse is mounted on the backplate with a 60-toothed wheel.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1926 Survey Chronometer

    Following on from a prototype made in 1923, a new survey chronometer is launched. This timekeeper becomes an essential item for the production of small-scale maps of countries rich in potential but often inadequately charted and difficult to explore. In conjunction with a chronograph it is possible to compare the chronometer time against Greenwich Time, obtained by a radio receiving set, and Local Time, by observation of suitable stars with a theodolite or prismatic astrolabe.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1927 Marine Chronometer with visible seconds wheel

    The visible seconds wheel, a solution first introduced on the survey chronometer, is extended to the marine chronometer range. This stylish yet technical virtuoso display of the off-set second will later inspire a Thomas Mercer creation of the 21st century.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1930 Hertfordshire Chronometer

    Following the introduction of the first mantel chronometer in 1922, the Hertfordshire collection is launched. An iconic model that remains in production until the 1980s, this is a fine example of craftsmanship combined with horology.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1931 The ‘700’ Airship Chronometer

    Fitted with Mercer's patented control device for sending electrical impulses, these chronometers are originally bought for use by the large airships that are popular in the 1930s. They serve as the timekeepers for aircraft transponders: by simultaneously sending out a one-second and quarter-second signal they allowed aircraft to be tracked by using radio ranging.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1935 Thomas Gurney Mercer, OBE, joins the business

    Born in 1919, training first as chronometer-maker then serving the company until 1982 as Managing Director. He is elected Freeman and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1938 and then Master on 21st January 1963. He actively contributes to the foundation of the University of Hertforshire, which awards him an honorary degree in Law. He is the first Chairman of the Board of Governors and the university names its Student Union HQ ‘The Mercer Building’ after him.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1937 Royal Air Force ‘Mark 1’ Aircraft Clock

    A very limited number of clocks are provided to the Royal Air Force for flying boats and airplanes. Equipped with 8-day movement and key wound from the front, these clocks are featured in AP1275, the RAF Instruments manual.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1939 Frank Anthony (Tony) Mercer joins the family business

    Born in 1919, the youngest of four children, Tony Mercer is educated at Sedbergh and then serves his apprenticeship in watchmaking, clockmaking and toolmaking at L’École Nationale d’Horlogerie in the French Alps. Starting as springer and adjuster, he is promoted to works director and finally appointed sales director and company chairman. He becomes chairman and president of the British Horological Institute, chairman of the British Nautical Instrument Trade and, in 1982, Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.

  • 1925 – 1945
    LAND AND FLIGHT TIMES

    1944 Clock for Sir Winston Churchill’s private aircraft

    In 1944 Sir Winston Churchill was given a C-54 Skymaster for his personal use. Churchill, who liked to define it as ‘my aerial yacht’ gave designers a clear directive to ‘make it look British’. In fact, an American columnist paid tribute to her interiors as being ‘decorated like the drawing-room of an English castle with walls finished in dark-brown panelling’. A special Thomas Mercer clock featuring altimeter and thermometer stood in the bedroom.

  • 1945 – 1965
    SEAFARING TIMES

    1945 Nautical Distance Indicator

    Thomas Mercer expands its range of navigation instruments with a device working in conjunction with a very large rotator or ‘fish’ trailed in the water behind the ship. Each rotation is transmitted to the counter by means of a line so that the distance is marked on the dial.

  • 1945 – 1965
    SEAFARING TIMES

    1950 Advertisement

    An advertising image of the 1950s evoking the use of the marine chronometer in determining longitude. By calculating the difference between the origin port time (set on the chronometer) and the navigation point (measured by spotting the local high noon with the sextant) the navigator is able to calculate the degrees of longitude journeyed since departure with a conversion rate of 24 hours = 360 degrees.

  • 1945 – 1965
    SEAFARING TIMES

    1950 Tide Gauge Indicator

    Thomas Mercer designs a weight-driven clock for recording the rise and fall of the tide. As the moon is the main factor affecting the tide cycles on the majority of coastlines, this specially designed timekeeper predicts tide patterns by keeping track of the moon's apparent motion around the Earth.

  • 1945 – 1965
    SEAFARING TIMES

    1952 Barometer and Thermo-Barometer

    Designed to match the styles of the wall marine clock range, a set of navigational instruments is launched. With case sizes of 6 and 8 inches, the marine type aneroid barometers have dials with readings in inches and millibars or millimeters and millibars. Metallic thermometers are available for incorporation in the dial.

  • 1945 – 1965
    SEAFARING TIMES

    1953 Wall Marine Clock

    A series of wall clocks to be used on yachts is launched. The range comprises 8-day and 15-day mechanical movements, offered with off-set seconds, centre seconds or solotempo. Four case sizes are available: 6,8,10 and 12 inches.

  • 1945 – 1965
    SEAFARING TIMES

    1953 Timekeepers for HMY Britannia

    Iconic Royal Yacht Britannia is launched in April 1953. Renowned British designer Sir Hugh Casson is appointed by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh because of his modern style: his contemporary yet forward-thinking elegance is to stand the test of time. Thomas Mercer are the timekeepers of choice for these refined interiors.

  • 1945 – 1965
    SEAFARING TIMES

    1958 Centenary Chronometer

    Celebrating one hundred years since its establishment, Thomas Mercer issues a special edition version of its 2-day chronometer. It features the ‘Centenary 1858-1958’ mark, written in red inside the off-set second dial at 6 o’clock.

  • 1945 – 1965
    SEAFARING TIMES

    1958 Royal Navy Clock

    A new 8-day clock, featuring front winding, hand and movement rating set, as well as start-and-stop system, is designed for use on board ships of the Royal Navy One of these timekeepers serves the operations room of the frigate HMS Plymouth.

  • 1945 – 1965
    SEAFARING TIMES

    1965 Sir Francis Chichester and the Atlantic Challenge

    Thomas Mercer makes the chronometer that British adventurer Sir Francis Chichester uses to navigate on his Gypsy Moth V while attempting the fastest ever crossing of the Atlantic. He makes the 4000 miles journey from Bissau in Portuguese Guinea, to San Juan del Norte in Nicaragua in just 21 days. In 1967 Chichester becomes the first solo yachtsman and the fastest sailor to round the world.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1965 Marlborough table chronometer

    Shown here: model featuring trapezoidal case and brush-finished case with bevelled lead glasses to the sides and escapement viewing aperture to the top. Signed silvered dial with Roman numerals, subsidiary seconds and state of wind, chain fusee movement spotted plates and stop/start lever for the Earnshaw-type spring detent escapement. Large spotted escapement platform with palladium helical balance spring to cut bimetallic balance with circular heat compensation weights

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1970 Chronometer Escapement model

    Limited series of 10 units of a large size scale model of John Arnold style spring detent escapement. Later, this become a ‘mode piece’ most sought after by collectors. It features a diameter of 11cm and a height of 21cm, all covered by an exquisitely crafted crystal dome.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1973 Buckinghamshire Table Chronometer

    Following a revived interest in contemporary silver design, Thomas Mercer presents the Buckinghamshire collection at the Basel Fair (known as Baselworld today). In a numbered limited series of 30, the 8-day table chronometer is distinguished for its rectangular solid-silver body, made by Shackman of Watford and London Hallmarked. The case, a turntable upon a hollow-weighted, cast-silver base, is patterned with an undulating design resembling waves and comes with five bevelled glasses, with sliding rear panel for winding.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1974 Greenwich Marine Chronometer

    The Greenwich marine chronometer is introduced. Celebrating the legendary years of the brand, it marks the return to the three-tier brass-bound mahogany box with drop carrying handles and ivory disc to front. After a decade of marking the hours with Arabic numerals, the dials revert to Roman. The chronometer is supplied with two and eight-day mechanisms.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1975 Prospect Table Chronometer

    Launch of the Prospect table chronometer. Almost identical to its ancestor models of a hundred years before, it carries the beautiful chain-fusee 8 day chronometer mechanism with spotted plated and spring-detent escapement. Besides the polished brass, executions are made in solid silver and gold.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1977 Appointed National Rating Centre

    In 1977 Thomas Mercer is made National Rating Centre for Stopwatches, Watches and Chronometers, previously administered by the National Physical Laboratory. The appointment of the British standard for ‘time calibration’ and ‘time interval measurement to the British Calibration Service Standards’ represents the crowning glory for the last British manufacturer of marine chronometers.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1977 Jubilee Marine Chronometer

    Twenty-five special eight-day Silver Jubilee chronometers are made to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation. The special boxes are made by renowned furniture designer Alan Peters of Collumpton. The centre section is inlaid with circular silvered plaque engraved ‘The Queen Silver Jubilee 1977’ beneath.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1978 Mercer Chronometers by Tony Mercer published

    Tony Mercer writes ‘Mercer Chronometers’. Printed in 750 copies, with the first twenty-five given with each of the Jubilee Chronometers, it not only traces the history of the company since its establishment in 1858 but also provides an unparalleled historical record of many of the chronometers manufactured by Thomas Mercer. The foreword is by Lieutenant Commander David Harries, FRGS, FBHI.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1980 Crystal Table Chronometer

    The company continues on its path of creativity, presenting the Crystal Table Chronometer. This exclusive model with horizontal eight-day movement mounted within a cylindrical glass revolving case on a gilt rectangular plinth applied with a silvered plaque engraved. Dial with partially skeletonised silvered Roman chapter ring and eccentric subsidiary dials for seconds and up-and-down, and train laid out horizontally with provision for winding and setting the hands through the rear of its cylindrical glass case.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1980 Observatory Marine Chronometer

    The most exclusive chronometer made in the history of the company. Designed for use in an astronomical observatory, it can be rated in either solar or sidereal time. With a three-tier fancy box in lined coromandel Ebony and the rare Observatory type dials indicating off-set hours and seconds, the 8-day marine chronometer is among the finest and rarest executions ever realised by Thomas Mercer.

  • 1965 – 1985
    LUXURIOUS TIMES

    1982 Mc Cabe Table Chronometer

    A new and attractive 8-day timekeeper with wooden case and stepped top with escapement viewing glass, ripple mouldings to the cornices, on part bombé stepped base with flattened brass feet, silvered slip to the square silvered Roman dial with the traditional subsidiary seconds ring on top and up-down ring at the bottom.

  • 1985 – 2010
    HERITAGE TIMES

    1985 Company archives donated to the Liverpool World Museum

    Tony Mercer donates part of the company archives to the Liverpool World Museum, enriching the Horology Collection of the National Museum. A treasure trove of 1300 pictures, awards, technical drawings, tools, company books and of course chronometers.

  • 1985 – 2010
    HERITAGE TIMES

    1985 The International Chronometer Index

    The Royal Observatory further develops the International Chronometer Index (ICI) project, a database started in 1970 collecting information on all marine chronometers known to exist. The principal source is the surviving Admiralty records, which often supply a working history of an Admiralty marine chronometer in terms of transfers to and from the Royal Observatory, named ships or supply points. Almost 400 Thomas Mercer chronometers are recorded as having served the Admiralty.

  • 1985 – 2010
    HERITAGE TIMES

    1994 Chronometer Makers of the World by Tony Mercer is published

    In his third volume Tony further contributes to the subject by providing a comprehensive list of makers and details of craftsmen who worked in the industry, their places of work, and dates and serial numbers for their instruments. The complete results of the Greenwich Trials as well as the number of chronometers produced in history by each Chronometer Maker are the jewels of this book.

  • 1985 – 2010
    HERITAGE TIMES

    2003 Mercer Chronometers: History, Maintenance and Repair

    Tony Mercer completes the work of charting the history of the marine chronometer and the Thomas Mercer firm from the early days of watchmaking in Merseyside to the large-scale manufacture of chronometers in Clerkenwell and St. Albans. In this final work, Tony delivers a technical testament of the know-how developed in almost 150 years, with drawings and instructions for the repair, maintenance and rating of marine chronometers.

  • 1985 – 2010
    HERITAGE TIMES

    2010 Joel Mercer appointed advisor on family heritage

    Joel Mercer (left), fifth generation of the family dynasty, is appointed director of the company. As advisor on family heritage, he carries on the work begun by Tony Mercer (right). His invaluable work further develops the precious archives of Thomas Mercer, serving as inspiration and guidance for the 21st century.

  • 2010 ONWARDS
    MODERN TIMES

    2012 Our first mechanism of the 21st century

    Continuing the firm’s long history of innovation, we create the Calibre TM0801. This mechanism breaks new ground while retaining the classic elements of a pure marine chronometer. With the inspiration and guidance of Derek Bryan, the former Production Director of Thomas Mercer, the mechanism features an ovalising balance and skeletonised plates, the detent escapement has been moved from its traditional place on the back plate to a new position where it can be viewed through the dial apertures.

  • 2010 ONWARDS
    MODERN TIMES

    2012 A seagoing timepiece and an objet’art

    The Classis is launched. The first Thomas Mercer chronometer of the 21st century is a collaboration between clock-maker and yacht-designer. An innovative gimbals suspension keeps the movement horizontal at sea, upholding Thomas Mercer’s longstanding reputation for precise accuracy. Renowned superyacht designer Andrew Winch created the case, commissioning cabinet-maker David Linley to craft the ebony and makassar body featuring intricate marquetry.

  • 2010 ONWARDS
    MODERN TIMES

    2013 A Limited Edition honouring limitless courage

    The Shackleton Epic marine chronometer pays homage to Sir Ernest Shackleton’s intrepid 1916 crossing of Antarctica and its 2013 re-enactment. On both voyages, the crew depended on a Thomas Mercer chronometer to determine longitude. Limited to just 25, the Shackleton Epic acts as a timely reminder of the mariner’s perseverance in treacherous conditions. Designed and manufactured with painstaking care, it is a fitting tribute.

  • 2010 ONWARDS
    MODERN TIMES

    2014 Reinforcing our legacy

    Our legacy is over 150 years of expertise in marine chronometry. The Thomas Mercer Legacy is a chronometer reflecting this heritage while confidently embracing the future. A Limited Edition version celebrates the recent re-enactment of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s intrepid journey across Antarctica. A more contemporary model, the Legacy Black, proves that cutting-edge design can partner traditional horological techniques.

  • 2010 ONWARDS
    MODERN TIMES

    2015 A classic is re-imagined

    Paying homage to the classic 1980s Observatory, this upgraded version follows three years of research, development, design and execution. The chronometer features fifteen complications, including a rare flying detent tourbillon and double fusee-and-chain transmission. Extensively grained and inlaid with precious woods, the elegant case holds a distinctive dial displaying hours, minutes and seconds in separate sub-dials.

  • 2010 ONWARDS
    MODERN TIMES

    2015 From the high seas to the table-top

    The Brittanica table chronometer builds on Thomas Mercer’s expertise in marine timekeeping. Encased in a highly polished steel cabinet upholstered in fine white leather, the chronometer movement is sheltered behind a unique bas-relief dial. A set of extra-white crystals provides an all-round view on the Brittanica polished and bevelled movement. Sharp angles and straight lines form the geometric design of the elegant case.

Early Times

 

RESTORATION

WE REGARD THE DESIGN AND BUILDING OF HIGHLY COMPLEX CHRONOMETERS AS OUR FIRST LOVE (OR, MORE ACCURATELY, OUR PASSION). OUR SECOND LOVE IS RESTORING THESE PRECIOUS PIECES.

Back in the 1970s, we became the British Government’s National Rating Centre for Stopwatches, Watches and Chronometers. This appointment confirmed our status as the leading authority on ‘time interval measurement for the British Calibration Service Standards’. Today, we continue to tap into this bank of chronometry knowledge during detailed service and restoration projects.

 
 

AUTHENTICITY

TONY MERCER, GRANDSON OF OUR FOUNDER, WROTE THE DEFINITIVE WORK CHRONOMETRY MAKERS OF THE WORLD. WE ARE THEREFORE WELL-PLACED TO JUDGE THE AUTHENTICITY OF OUR CHRONOMETERS.

Parts of our company archives are held in the Horology Collection at the Liverpool World Museum and we carefully conserve all records. With this store of information, we are happy to confirm any Thomas Mercer chronometer’s year of manufacture and other relevant facts. Simply send us the serial number and detailed photographs of the piece and its mechanism.