John Roger Arnold, No. 528

the silvered dial with the Government Mark, signed and numbered, Arnold, LONDON. No. 528. ONE DAY. WITH AIRY'S SUPPLEMENTARY COMPENSATION ARM, Roman hour numerals, subsidiary seconds dial, blued steel hands, top plate inscribed Jno. R. Arnold, LONDON. Invt et Fecit No. 528, 18000 count quick train, Earnshaw escapement, later (see notes) cut bimetallic balance, Airy's bar, oversprung polished steel helical balance spring, spring foot detent with jewelled locking stone, deep brass bowl, gimballed in three-tier plain mahogany box, the centre section with inset bone ivory disc inscribed ARNOLD 528 ONE DAY and with the Government Mark, external brass drop handles, the top lid with inset hack-watch mark
78mm. dial diam., 170mm. sq. box

Lot Essay

1822: H.M.S. JUPITER; troopship at Portsmouth, issued 17 December 1822 to Captain George A. Westphal R.N., transferred to Captain David Dunn R.N. 1824. Letter dated 16 August 1822 from the Royal Observatory to J.W. Croker, Secretary to the Admiralty, commenting on the stock of chronometers that Arnold keeps with his Plymouth agent, William Cox, and confirming that Arnold No. 528 is presently with Cox.
1824: January No. 528 is listed among chronometers "Under the Charge of the Professor of the Royal Naval College" at Portsmouth. H.M.S. AETNA, building at Chatham Dockyard, issued 2 June 1824 to Commander William Sandom R.N. H.M.S. ATHOLL at Halifax, Nova Scotia, issued 30 November 1824 to Captain J. Arthur Murray R.N.
1827-1829: listed as being "At the Royal Naval College", Portsmouth.
1833: H.M.S. FAVORITE (sic), building at Portsmouth Dockyard, issued 28 July 1829 to Captain Joseph Harrison R.N.
1834: letter from Admiral Francis Beaufort, Hydrographer, dated 3 November 1834 to John Pond, Astronomer Royal, instructing him to arrange to deliver fifteen chronometers, of which No. 528 is one, to H.M.S. HART (at London) for passage in Hart to Sheerness where they are to be transferred to H.M.S. SALAMANDER for passage to the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth.
1835: H.M.S. ACTAEON: at Portsmouth, issued 4 February 1835 to Captain Lord Edward Russell R.N.
1846-1923: issued in sequence to H.M. Ships DEVASTATION (1846), ARCHER (1854), BOXER (1868), ARAB (1882), MALLARD (1886), NORTHAMPTON (1889), DRYAD (1899), SCYLLA (1907), Royal Naval Air Station, Roehampton (1916)m TEMERAIRE (1917), COURAGEOUS (1923). In 1937 it was sold to Percy Webster, 37 Great Portland Street, London.


It would appear that about 1875 Dent must have suggested that No. 528 should be converted to a lever escapement and down-graded to a deck watch and on 13 November 1875 William Christie, Assistant Astronomer Royal, wrote to the Hydrographer telling him of Dent's suggestion. In his answer dated 15 November 1875 Captain Daniel Pender R.N., Assistant Hydrographer, gave approval for its continued use in the Royal Navy but as a deckwatch.

However it must be indicative of the persuasive power of the then Astronomer Royal Sir George Biddell Airy that between 19 February and 2 July 1877 the Royal Observatory Chronometer Digest shows that Arnold No. 528 was fitted with "Airy's Bar" at a cost of ¨5.10.0.

In 1912 experiments were carried out at the Royal Observatory on Arnold No. 528 apparently in connection with assessing the efficacy of Airy's Bar. Various dimensions are listed but no conclusions or comments are made.

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