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    Re: The Price of Mechanical Marine Chronometers and Deckwatches
    From: Geoffrey Kolbe
    Date: 2012 Jan 20, 18:51 +0000
    Well Jaap, that is extraordinary. I really cannot see how Wempe can justify a price of EUR 25k. It is not as though they are a revolution in mechanical clock technology. They still use the old spring detent escapement invented in the 18th century and used by almost all mechanical chronometers since,  rather than - for example - the Daniels coaxial escapement invented some 30 years ago which really is an improvement.

    I suspect that Wempe chronometers are a required item by German government ships and that gives Wempe a licence to state their own price.

    I am reminded of the box for the telephone handset inside British tanks. Would you think that a box for a telephone handset has to be milled out of a solid piece of forged aluminium and made to micron tolerances at a cost of £5000 each? No, nor would I. This was a classic example of component over-design to maximize the profits of the company awarded the contract to make the boxes. Where the tax payer is paying for it, the sky is the limit.

    Here is a second hand Wempe at a more reasonable price http://www.santik.eu/chronometer_en.htm

    Russian Poljot chronometers are still made and are available brand new for around $1000. And I am informed by people whose business it is to take these things to pieces, they are not badly made at all!

    Many horologists will state that the Hamilton chronometer as made during WWII is the apogee of chronometer design and manufacture. Hamilton brought together all the best bits of chronometer design from other manufacturers and put it into one box. And as reported by Greg, they can be had for around $1500 to $2500, which is much the same price they were fetching 25 years ago.

    Geoffrey Kolbe

    At 11:17 20/01/2012, you wrote:

    It depends a bit on your reference.

    One can still buy a new certified (DIN 8319) mechanical marine chronometer.
    But if you were to get one made by Wempe Chronometerwerke it would set you back EUR 24,750 (~ $31,950) excl postage (and Customs duties - I have no idea what US customs would charge you for that).


    A new certified (DIN 8319) quartz marine chronometer e.g. one made by Mühle Glashütte ( http://www.muehle-glashuette.de/en/marine-time-systems/professional-marine-chronometer.html ), will set you back about $2,750.

    When such chronometers are your reference, you're not doing too bad with a $2200 mechanical chronometer, are you?


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