Ernest Shackleton used one on his famed Antarctic Voyage. Francis Chichester used one for the Atlantic Challenge. In fact, the story of British marine navigation is the story of the Thomas Mercer Chronometer—and now that story has a new home at thomasmercer.com.
Legacy British chronometer manufacturer Thomas Mercer has just launched its new website, and filled it with history, teaming up with British luxury design consultants Inaria to build its new online presence. The visitor is immersed in a voyage of discovery, as the brand’s story is unveiled in a timeline that presents all the timekeepers created since the company’s foundation.
It’s a stunning journey, both visually and historically that starts with a young Thomas Mercer apprenticing with his movement maker grandfather and then working with eminent chronometer maker John Fletcher before launching his own firm in 1858. It ends with an image of 2015’s Brittanica Only Watch with 150 years of visual history between the frames.
“The range of timekeepers and mechanical movements are finely illustrated with full screen images that provide insights on these marine and table chronometers that combine contemporary design with horological expertise. With a philosophy based on the values of British craftsmanship, exclusivity, sophistication and spirit of adventure, drawing inspiration from an illustrious 150-year heritage to redefine the art of chronometry in the 21st century.” Thomas Mercer Chronometers
Here are a few historical milestones visitors will find on the new ThomasMercer.com.
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL: FLYING “GREAT” BRITAIN
In 1944 Sir Winston Churchill is given a C-54 Skymaster for his personal use. Churchill, who likes to define it as ‘my aerial yacht’ gives designers a clear directive to ‘make it look British’. In fact, an American columnist pays tribute to her interiors as being ‘decorated like the drawing-room of an English castle with walls finished in dark-brown paneling’. A special Thomas Mercer clock featuring altimeter and thermometer stands in the bedroom.
HMY BRITANNIA: ROYAL SEAFARING
Iconic Royal Yacht Britannia is launched in April 1953. Renowned British designer Sir Hugh Casson is appointed by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh because of his modern style: his contemporary yet forward-thinking elegance is to stand the test of time. Thomas Mercer are the timekeepers of choice for these refined interiors.
SIR FRANCIS CHICHESTER: WORLD-CLASS SAILING ADVENTURES
Thomas Mercer manufactures the chronometer that British adventurer Sir Francis Chichester uses to navigate on sailing yacht Gypsy Moth IV while attempting the fastest ever crossing of the Atlantic. He makes the 4000 mile journey from Bissau in Portuguese Guinea, to San Juan del Norte in Nicaragua in just 21 days. In 1967 Chichester becomes the first solo yachtsman, and the fastest sailor, to round the world.
ENTRENCHED LUXURY: ON SEA, ON AIR AND ON LAND
Inextricably rooted in British seafaring tradition, its mark of distinction was, is, and always will be, the marine – but Thomas Mercer proves to excel also in other forms of chronometry. As skies are the natural extension of the seas, it is natural for the brand to navigate into the world of aviation in the 1930s when already equipping Royal Air Force seaplanes. As the interiors of the Royal Yacht Britannia are a testament of timeless beauty and elegance, so it follows that the company thereupon begins to enrich the interiors of other yachts and the homes of their owners. This quest for aesthetics culminates in the subsequent decades where style meets luxury to give birth to a range of exclusive chronometers. Now, in 2015, the Brittanica table chronometer relays this legacy to the full, marking a path to be pursued by new and ever more innovative Thomas Mercer creations. It is only a matter of time.
Brittanica table chronometer, front:
Brittanica table chronometer: