Astronomical Clock by Recordon

From "A Report on the Precision Clocks at Armagh Observatory" by Jonathan Betts, 1989.


8 day English centre seconds in mahogany case by Louis Recordon, ("Late Emery") London, C1795.

Maximum external dimensions (Cms): Height: 177 Width: 43.5 Depth: 23

Substantial and unusual double frame movement with seven pillars, the plates held together with brass wing nuts, and enclosed with sliding brass shutters along the edges of the plates. 'Paddle wheel' dead beat escapement and Harrison's maintaining power. The movement has no jewelling.

11" diameter silvered brass dial with Roman numerals and signed: "Recordon Late Emery London" in plain dial centre. Blued steel hands including centre seconds with counterbalanced tail. Winding hole at VII o'clock.

Mahogony case, veneered on mahogony, with movement housed in a drum hood supported on a tapering trunk, standing on a panelled base with scrolls to the sides and low bracket feet. The hood has brass lifting handles on the sides, a concave section brass bezel with a flat glass, and is surmounted by a single finial. The trunk tapers to the bottom with a tapering door and a rectangular mahogany casing behind, with two brass finials, on little scrolled brackets, on either side of the lower trunk.

Historical Note

The Armagh archives show that this clock came to the observatory with the other Kew instruments in 1841, and that along with three other instruments, it was then loaned to Queen's College Belfast in 1851. It was only relatively recently returned from there, not apparently in very good condition. It might well be that the pendulum was not returned from the college. It is not known what type of pendulum it would have had, but it is possible that it was of some form of gridiron.

Louis Recordon was active in London between 1778 and 1824. He was an eminent horologist specializing in high quality watchwork. He was the English agent for A.L. Breguet, and in 1780 took out an English patent for self-winding watches. At first in Greek Street, Soho, he took over Josiah Emery's business in the mid 1790s. Emery, a native of Geneva, was also a highly respected watchmaker, specializing in chronometers and precision pocket watches. He died in 1797. At about the same time Recordon joined forces with Paul Dupont, and soon after, Recordon personally retired, the business continuing in his name. Some work is known signed: "Recordon, Late Emery", some: "Dupont, Late Emery" and some "Recordon & Dupont".

Last Revised: 2014 November 10th