Marine Chronometer

John Arnold1788

Naval Museum

Naval Museum
Madrid, Spain

The longitudinal chronometer (also called a marine chronometer) was a very precise clock that was used to measured time accurately. It allowed a ship's longitude to be determined by comparing the time shown to the local time, which could be worked out using mathematical and astronomical calculations. Its 3-level design, made of wood, allowed the dial to be easily seen when the case was locked. The dial has 3 concentric circles. The two inner ones are marked with numbers written in Roman numerals. The outer circle is for minutes and has unnumbered lines. The second hand has an independent dial on number VI.


  • Title: Marine Chronometer
  • Creator: John Arnold
  • Date Created: 1788
  • Location Created: London, England
  • Provenance: This instrument went on various cartographic and scientific expeditions ordered by the Spanish crown. It was initially acquired in London with various other instruments for the twin corvettes called "Descubierta" and "Atrevida," but on September 27, 1788, Alejandro Malaspina gave it to Cosme Damián Churruca for his reconnaissance expedition to the Strait of Magellan. It later went with Ventura Barcáiztegui on the "Paz" frigate during his voyage to Cartagena de Indias. In 1802 it was passed on to Ciriaco Cevallos for his Gulf of Mexico expedition. In 1881 it was transferred to the Naval Museum of Madrid from the Royal Navy Observatory.
  • Type: Scientific Instrument
  • Original Source: Museo Naval Madrid.
  • Rights: Museo Naval, Madrid - All Rights Reserved
  • Medium: Silver and Steel
  • Width: 9,2cm
  • Height: 8,8cm
  • Diameter: 5,5cm
  • Depth: 4cm

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps