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Ship's Bell Clock

Updated on December 2, 2014

Ship's Bell Clocks

Here's something to consider if you're looking for something to enhance your nautical décor, or to add to your nautical collection: A Ship's Bell Clock/.

There are some very cool and unique ship's bell clocks showcased here. Some with the wooden base, and others ready to place in your own base. Nautical clocks are always right! Particularly when given as a given to a sea lover on a special occasion, like a birthday or Father's Day.

You'll even find some ship's bell clocks to hang on your wall. These traditional nautical timepieces fit beautifully into a nautical décor or they can hold their own with any other décor.

You'll love the selection of beautiful clocks featured on this page! You can also do a search for ship's wheel clocks near the end of this page...

Image: Weems & Plath Atlantis Collection Quartz Clock (Brass)

For a Mantle, Shelf, or Wall - Bell Clocks with Wood Base or Frame

The beautiful clocks shown here comes complete with its own wooden base. Except for the very last one. It's set in a wooden ship wheel, ready to hang on the wall.

WEEMS & PLATH Atlantis Collection 8-Day Wind Ship's Bell Clock (Brass)
WEEMS & PLATH Atlantis Collection 8-Day Wind Ship's Bell Clock (Brass)

The wood base is not included with this clock, but you can buy one separately. (See below for examples)

public domain
public domain | Source

Ship's Time

Uses Nautical Time Zones At Sea

When a ship is in a country's territorial waters, the ship is required to use the standard time of that country.

The captain may choose when, after entering a country's time zone, to change his ship's clock to that country's time.

A ship that is at sea (not in anyone's territorial waters) uses Nautical Standard Time Zones, whereby the hour is incremented or decremented by one per nautical time zone, each of which measures 15 degrees of longitude.

Atlantis Collection Quartz Clock - from Weems & Plath - Brass

A beautifully made brass clock to sit on your mantle, bookshelf, or sofa table. This clock will add an air of nautical elegance to any room!

Marine Chronometer

A marine chronometer is a timepiece that is so reliably precise it can be used in celestial navigation.

The First Marine Chronometer

By Racklever at en.wikipedia ( CC-BY-SA-3.0 ) , via Wikimedia Commons
By Racklever at en.wikipedia ( CC-BY-SA-3.0 ) , via Wikimedia Commons | Source

The Invention of the Marine Chronometer

For centuries, time was kept at sea by means of an hourglass. However, something more precise was needed for the purpose of navigation, which requires the reckoning of latitude and longitude. Degrees of latitude, which remain equidistant from one another are easier to determine than degrees of longitude, which do not.

The need for an instrument that allowed more precise measurements resulted in the Longitude Act of . which offered a handsome purse to whoever might come up with such a device.

Along came an Englishman named John Harrison. Born in 1693, he spent some thirty years working on the problem. He met with success in the 1770's when his Chronometer was proven accurate to within a few seconds on voyages from England to Barbados.

Once Harrison's chronometers became available for use on ships, exploration by sea took a giant leap forward.

Today, the word 'chronometer' may be used for a timepiece that has been certified precisely accurate by the COSC in Switzerland. But now you know about the origin of the choronometer ... It all had to do with sea travel!

Gimballed Box Clocks

WEEMS & PLATH Gimballed Box Clock
WEEMS & PLATH Gimballed Box Clock

This one is a beautiful combination of brass and mahogany.


Gimballed Box Clocks

It was once very common to have a gimballed box marine chronometer on a sea vessel.

The boxes were often quite lovely, being either highly polished, or having a design carved on them.

Inside the box, the actual clock was mounted on gimbals, which kept the timepiece horizontal as the ship rocked on the waves. This was essential to maintaining precision.

Hear the Traditional Chiming - of a Ship's Clock

This video shows a great demonstration of how the traditional pattern of nautical chiming works on a clock.

You'll hear the double chimes counting each hour, and the extra single chime on the half hour. Then, you'll find it easy to understand the eight bells signifying the end of the four hour watch.

WEEMS & PLATH Anniversary Collection 8-Day Wind Ship's Bell Clock
WEEMS & PLATH Anniversary Collection 8-Day Wind Ship's Bell Clock

Chimes on the hour and half-hour, following the traditional maritime 8 bells cycle.

WEEMS & PLATH Martinique Collection 8-Day Wind Ship's Bell Clock
WEEMS & PLATH Martinique Collection 8-Day Wind Ship's Bell Clock

Another wind-up 8 day clock, this one has an optional bell silencer, which you can activate if desired.

public domain clip art
public domain clip art | Source

Eight Bells?

What Does that Mean?

Many of the ship's bell clocks shown here bell or chime on the traditional maritime eight bells system.

If you're unfamiliar with the what that means, see Eight Bells and All is Well on this page.

When you do, the phrase about everything being 'well' at eight bells may take on new meaning for you. It's worth knowing if you have any interest at all in maritime history, or in the origins of sayings, for that matter.

Stands - Ships Bell Clock Base

Have a ship's bell clock that needs a new base? Or, are you choosing a new clock for yourself or for someone special? Does it come with a base, or not? In any event, when selecting a base, be sure to verify you are getting one that properly fits the clock in question.

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Love the look of those. I think that they look best with just the brass clock, rather than mounted in the wooden base.

    • moanaparker lm profile image

      moanaparker lm 

      6 years ago



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