have become highly collectible. Unfortunately, these historically
important, monetarily valuable instruments were never intended to
be in hands unfamiliar with their operation. They are NOT designed
to be forgiving and it is very easy to do extensive (expensive)
The chronometer is not like a clock or watch where you
can turn hands backwards or adjust the seconds hand with impunity.
The design of the escapement (the interface between the balance and the
power train) is such that doing these things will likely result in
serious damage. On an "important" piece, this can result
in a catastrophic loss in originality.
Many of these
"fragile" chronometers have survived well over 150
years. The explanation is quite simple. Until quite
recently, they were in the hands of those who knew how to handle them.
chronometer owner should own (and read) Marvin Whitney's Ship's
Chronometer by AWI Press. This book was first published in
1984 and has since gone out of print. It is the bible of
chronometers and must be found in the used book market.
- Turn hands backwards on a running chronometer
- Stop or "adjust the seconds hands on a running
- Let the chronometer be handled by those unfamiliar with it
- Stop the chronometer balance with "wind still
showing" when going away for the weekend
- Wind the Chronometer Daily when in use
- "Cork" the balance (see below) when the
chronometer is left not