With J. McLennan Chronometer Maker Prize Medal 1862 for Great Skill & General Mechanical Excellence in Pocket Chronometers, 6 Park Place, Highbury, London N. presentation box of too large size for the present watch.
Chronometer watches in such small size are exceptionally rare, the production of the parts extremely costly and fastidious, a veritable "tour de force" requiring highest watchmaking skills.
The present miniature chronometer is reputedly the smallest pocket chronometer with up and down indicator ever made. Only one other of comparable size is known to exist to date, however without the power reserve display (formerly in the Time Museum, Inventory 1338, described and illustrated in The Time Museum Catalogue of Chronometers, catalogue no. 153, pp. 310 & 311).
The present pocket chronometer was made by John McLennan, based on the engraved inscription on the movement for the 1862 London exhibition where it was awarded a first prize for "Great Skill & General Excellence".
Since its first and so far only appearance at the 1862 exhibition in London, it was only known from literature. In fact, this technical marvel has remained the property of the same family for the last three generations and is preserved in excellent, original overall condition.
The certainly very same chronometer is mentioned in his obituary in the Horological Journal, Vol. XXIX, January 1887, pp. 78-79:
"To complete the horological obituary for 1886 must be recorded the death of probably the best all-round watchmaker of our times, Mr. John McLennan, who, at the age of 72, succumbed to a complication of internal disorders at the end of November, was engaged for many years on the finest class of work for McCabe, Charles Frodsham and other famous houses. He exhibited in the 1862 Exhibition, as the production of his own hands throughout, certainly the smallest pocket chronometer ever made, the movement being the size of a shilling; the balance spring was a duo in uno - a form in which the bottom of the spring is a volute, rising from the outer end of which is a helix. Mr. McLennan claimed to be the inventor of the duo in uno, but the originality of this conception was challenged, we believe, by both Mr. Walsh and Mr. Hammersley. However, the style of Mr. McLennan's work, the clean handling and the superb finish, but induced a spirit of emulation that did much to advance the character of English watchmaking. For the last few years of his life he somewhat neglected the art in which he was facile princeps, and embarked on the troubled career of a mechanical inventor, with, we fear, but very moderate success".
Other reference is made in a letter published in Antiquarian Horology, Vol. 15, December 1984, p. 174, by G.F. of New Zealand, stating that "this beautifully made watch was sold in 1862 for 265 guineas to Mr. Alexander Baird of Urie Castle".
Sir Alexander Baird of Ury, 1st Baronet, GBE (22 October 1849 - 20 June 1920), Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire from 1889 to 1918 and later served as president of the Permanent Arbitration Board in Egypt.