MARINE CHRONOMETER Andr. Hohwü Amsterdam No. 164 Ca. 1855 Holland

Chronometers & Barometers


Signed and numbered: Andr. Hohwü Amsterdam No. 164
Circa 1855

Single-fusee spring-driven movement between circular plates with Earnshaw detent escapement and compensation balance. The balance has regulation screws, which, together with the blued-steel helical spring, form the basis of the high accuracy of the time keeping.

The silvered brass dial has Roman hour, five-minute and minute divisions. The segment near the XII indicates the power reserve, a so-called up-and-down dial (Afg. 56 – Opg 0). The maker has signed and numbered the clock exactly in the middle as follows: No. 164 ANDR. HOHWÜ, AMSTERDAM. Above the VI is a seconds ring. The time is indicated by a pair of golden hands, whilst the pointers for the seconds and the up-and-down dial are made of blued steel.

The movement is situated in a gimballed brass bowl in a three-tier mahogany case. The key, which is numbered 164, is kept in a hole in the left-hand bottom corner next to the movement. To the right is a securing mechanism to protect the movement when being transported. When the case is closed it is possible to lift the top lid to reveal the dial so that the time can be ascertained through the glazed middle part of the case. There is a lozenge shaped brass inlay in the top lid

Transport case
There is an extra mahogany case with this chronometer in which the instrument was carried on board. This case has two holes on the bottom enabling it to be secured to the ship. The case has a leather strap to keep it closed.

Duration 56 hours

Dimensions 17 x 16 x 16 cm.
Transport case 21 x 22.5 x 28 cm.

*Price € 16000

– E. Morpurgo, Nederlandse Klokken- en Horlogemakers vanaf 1300, Amsterdam, 1970, p. 59.
– Tony Mercer, Chronometer Makers of the World, London, 2004, p.164.
– Tijdschrift ‘De Zee’, Amsterdam, October 1885.

There is a piece of paper glued to the inside of the top lid, which belongs to the chronometer A. Hohwü No. 111 and which indicates notes to the time-keeping of the chronometer on board HMS frigate Prins van Oranje. Various dates and locations are mentioned between 1848 and 1850. Chronometer No. 111 was awarded a gold medal at the exhibition of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Yachtclub Rotterdam (‘Royal Dutch Yacht Club Rotterdam’) in 1852.

The maker:
Andreas Hohwü was born in Schleswig-Holstein in 1803. He was apprenticed to his father, a local clockmaker. At the age of 26 he went to work for Kessels, a chronometer maker, in Altona (near Hamburg), with whom he made great progress, to such an extent that he was appointed clockmaker at the famous House of Breguet in Paris in 1834, where he stayed until 1839. In 1840 he opened a business on Oudeschans in Amsterdam as a chronometer maker. He made 29 astronomical clocks, which mostly ended up abroad, many of which were awarded prizes. He designed the springs for the national coast lighting. After years of research he developed a secondary compensation for chronometer escapements, for which he was awarded a gold medal in Paris. He received many honours, for instance those associated with a Knight of the Order of the Oak Crown (1849), a Knight of the Order the Dutch Lion (1869), and a knighthood of Italy (1871), as well as an honorary diploma in Vienna (1873). Hohwü received the first prize and three gold and three silver medals in Philadelphia in 1874. In 1869 he became a Dutch citizen. After his death (in 1885 Amsterdam) his business was continued by his apprentice and nephew Erich Schalekamp. There is a photo of him, as well as a number of his clocks, in the Museum en Archief Tijdmeetkunde (SMAT) in Utrecht.

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