MADE CIRCA: 1862
MATERIAL: 18ct Yellow Gold
MOVEMENT: Manual Mechanical
CASE DIAMETER: 42mm
Edward John Dent was a passionate and esteemed creator of some of the finest clocks and watches, with Royal Warrants across the globe and creator of one of the world’s most famous clocks, ‘Big Ben’ and yet began his career purely by coincidence.
It started when the age of 14 Dent was an apprentice candle maker to his grandfather. The young Dent had bought his grandfather a watch as a gift; probably second hand, however it barely kept time and so it was up to Dent to repair it. Spending hours poring over this watch no doubt began Dent’s appetite for horology. Meanwhile, the terms of his apprenticeship contract meant he had to find residence and thankfully his cousin was willing to have him. His cousin was Richard Rippon, an expert watchmaker who helped Dent become more and more interested in watch repair and less and less interested in candle making - so much so that Dent’s grandfather agreed to transfer his remaining seven years as apprentice to the watchmaker Edward Gaudin.
Dent established his own company ten years later in 1814, and developed a reputation as a builder of accurate chronometers. One of his chronometers won the First Premium Award in the 1829 Greenwich Trials. The Royal Navy equipped themselves with Dent’s chronometers.
Dent’s chronometers accompanied some of the 19th century’s most influential explorers. Robert FitzRoy took Dent chronometer no. 633 aboard HMS Beagle in 1831 the voyage that eventually led to the publication of The Origin of the Species – Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution.
Two decades later, David Livingstone purchased Dent chronometer no. 1800 for his African explorations. And in 1890, the explorer H.M. Stanley was moved to write to Dent that “the Chronometers supplied by you, and which were taken across Africa in my last Expedition, proved a very great service to me and were in every way thoroughly satisfactory and reliable”
- Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll) extemporises the story that becomes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for the 10-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters on a rowboat trip on The Isis from Oxford to Godstow.
- During the height of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865), the first US ironclad warship, the USS Monitor, is launched.
- Achille-Claude Debussy, French composer of such works as Clair de Lune, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Trois Nocturnes is born.