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Maker, Henri 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. (1)

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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 Campiche on 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  Christie's, London, 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.

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