Alfred Campiche, Geneva, Switzerland, 1910. serial #2, 6.25"h x
7.25"diameter excluding dome and base. Electrically impulsed helical spring balance
wheel. With original dome and base 12.5"h x 9.5"diameter. An unusual electric master clock whose design is horizontally oriented in
the manner of a marine chronometer. Experimental model made for a later production
chronometer marketed by Paul Ditisheim. This example was the earliest use of
electricity in connection with a marine chronometer.
Click on the picture to go to a page for more detail.
This is a two tier movement with a massive cut, bi-metallic compensated balance and
free sprung 28 coil helical spring on the lower tier, the wheel train and switching gear
on the upper tier. The balance beating seconds but with a coup perdu arrangement
advancing the escape wheel at two second intervals. Every thirty seconds one of two pins
on the escape wheel makes an electrical contact which actuates an electro-magnet to bring
an impulsing lever into contact with a pin on the balance wheel. At the same time the
switch gear is activated to advance the minute hand one half minute. One pin on the escape
wheel is used to close contacts controlling slave movements at one minute intervals.
Movement gilded and fully jeweled (except motion works); plates damascened.
The English patent for this electro-mechanical movement was awarded to
February 11, 1904, #3449. Campiche and Paul Ditisheim collaborated over the design of this
unusual timepiece. Most likely it was a developmental model which was used as the design
basis for a
marine chronometer made by
Ditisheim. It appears that a few of these were made as test beds for the final design of
Ditisheim's chronometer. Only two movements of this type are known to have survived. The
other nearly identical movement is numbered 5, with plain, non-gilded movement plates,
(probably buffed out in the past). It was in an advertisement for dealer
Raffety Huber, London in September 1983 issue of Antiquarian
Horology, and was last seen at
November 25, 1998, Lot #417.
(1) The Marine Chronometer in the Age of
Electricity, David Reed, Antiquarian Horology,
September 2015, pp.343-360.
Provenance: Sotheby's, New York, October 14, 2004; Lot #843. Formerly from The
Time Museum, Rockford, Illinois, USA. Inventory No. 3536. Literature: The Time
Museum Catalog of Chronometers, Anthony G. Randall, U.S.A. 1991, catalog #49 pp.
136-7, figs. 83a & b.