Derek Roberts, Mystery, Novelty and Fantasy Clocks, Schiffer, 1999, p.256, fig.22-5; Christie's London, Important Clocks and Marine Chronometers, 5 July 2005, lot 84; Liao Pin, Clocks and Watches of the Qing Dynasty, Foreign Language Press, 2002, p.177.
The age of the iron-clad began with the French navy's launch of La Gloire in 1859. Britain followed with HMS Warrior in 1860 and other countries soon followed suit, with the first battle involving ironclads taking place in the US Civil War.
The first iron-clads followed traditional battleship design and had broadside armaments, with rows of guns to each side. However, in the 1870s and early 1880s many British naval officers believed that guns would be superceded by ramming. Many ships were therefore built with ramming prows. Another form of armament was the rotating gun turret, first used on the USS Monitor in 1862, which carried a single gun turret to its centre. The present clock represents a composite of these several forms of attack.