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The Marine Chronometer


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Lt. Commander Rupert T. Gould, R.N., was a former navigator and commander in the Royal Navy and restored the original chronometers held in the National Maritime Museum. Commander Gould combines an easy style with a deep understanding of technical matters and gives us a classic work unrivalled after almost eighty years.


Ten years short of the original publication's centenary, one of the greatest books on a horological sub-genre has attained Second Edition status. First published in 1923, Gould's masterpiece covers the topic of marine chronometers from its natural starting point: the need for the discovery of longitude. But even before you reach this stage in the book, the illuminating introduction by Jonathan Betts MBE warns you that the journey through its 400-plus pages will prove rewarding and frustrating in equal measure. How so? Because, this long-awaited second edition includes Gould's own amendments and additions from his original annotated manuscripts. Here's where the bibliophile in me starts salivating, for this is two books in one: the original, plus the 'outtakes.' What it does not do is rewrite Gould's work in light of all that has been discovered since 1923, the editor preferring instead to provide ample annotation. It is an ideal way of updating a work that has earned the honour of being a subject's definitive study, because the reader can savour the original as it appeared, while benefitting from superlative editing and sympathetic, respectful treatment. This is, though highly readable, an intensely technical work, certainly suitable for researchers or scholars. But do not be deterred: this book is an absolute joy. And be glad we didn't have to wait until its centenary for this 're-boot.' -- Ken Kessler QP Magazine, April 15, 2013 No book is a more complete history of the marine chronometer, even after nearly a century, and many, Jonathan Betts and Rudyard Kipling among them, consider this the finest horological work of the twentieth century. -- David Rachlin, reference librarian, James E. Shepard Memorial Library, North Carolina Central University Reference Reviews, Volume 28, Number 1, 2014 Edition

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