An Inside Look at Our Ship's Bell Mechanism

Professional seafarers and those who love the ocean are familiar with the chimes that play on a ship at every half-hour mark. The Ship’s Bell strike sequence goes back centuries and is a vital part of a sailing watch. (If you want to know more about the chime pattern for a ship clock, you can find out on our blog linked above.)

But how dies a Chelsea ship clock emit chimes with the same accuracy and charm? Let’s take a modern look at what’s on the inside of our Ship’s Bell clock — a mechanical timepiece that we’ve been crafting by hand the same way since 1900.

Although we’ve been making mechanical timepieces the old-fashioned way for over a century, these days our engineers use cutting-edge technology to create the blueprints for our designs. Every single component we manufacture — no matter how tiny — is digitally rendered to its exact specifications using special software. One-hundred percent accuracy is key so that our master clockmakers have access to detailed images of each and every part that goes into the making of our Ship’s Bell clocks.

Back in the day before CAD (computer-aided design), renderings of clock components and finished pieces were done by craftsmen who generated hundreds of scale drawings by hand, numbering each one in ink. Modern technology has expedited this process tremendously while also ensuring greater precision and proper documentation for production now and in the future.

Here’s an inside look at how all the pieces come together to create the spectacular (and timeless!) Ship’s Bell clock.

shipsbellrendering Computer rendering demonstrating how a Chelsea Ship's Bell clock is assembled.
A hand rendering of the Ship's Bell mechanism, circa 1900.
Want a more in-depth visual of the Ship’s Bell mechanism? Watch the video above!
Browse our Ship's Bell Collection here to find a clock that uses this mechanism as part of a luxurious, accurate timepiece any clock-lover or nautical enthusiasts will adore.