From the U.S Navy to Luxury Yachts: The Prestigious Legacy of Chelsea Clocks

Since the official founding of Chelsea Clock in 1897 - and even tracing to our predecessors such as Boston Clock Company and Harvard Clock Company - our timepieces have earned a place of prestige among those who appreciate fine craftsmanship. This is especially true for mariners who need a clock that is durable, accurate and offers an esteemed look. How is it that a small Massachusetts company has achieved this recognition? Today, we're looking at Chelsea Clock's legacy of nautical excellence.

Supplying Clocks to the U.S. Military

It didn't take long for word of Chelsea Clock's quality to reach the U.S. government. In the early 1900s, various government agencies - including the U.S. Navy and U.S. Treasury Department - started ordering marine clocks for use on boats and in their offices. Demand rose so quickly that around 1910, owner Charles Pearson revived the Boston Clock Company name as a separate division to produce clocks and other instruments that meet government standards for construction and performance.

The relationship between Chelsea Clock and the U.S. government peaked in the 1940s. Consumer sales had greatly declined during the Great Depression, but World War II saw demand for military clocks soar. To construct engine room clocks for the new Victory ships, Chelsea Clock developed a new phenolic resin case to replace the traditional brass case, leaving brass available for other uses. In the wake of the war, The U.S. Air Force chose Chelsea Clock to supply timepieces for Strategic Air Command bombers and missile silos.

Though the Boston Clock Company name has been discontinued, Chelsea Clock still makes chronometers for vessels used by the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marines. We honor this legacy with pieces such as the Patriot Deck Clock Collection based on the WWII Victory ship clock. Many of the original clocks are still used today, which is a testament to our craftsmanship.

Luxury on the High Seas

Chelsea Clocks are for more than just military use. They are also a symbol of luxury and sophistication for leisure vessels. Interestingly, they were initially sought out for a different form of high-end transportation. Chelsea Clock was an early clock manufacturer for automobiles, including Studebaker and Rolls-Royce. We made clocks for planes, too! As one of the few companies that could meet the high standards needed for a timepiece to survive a trip, Chelsea clocks were a popular choice.

As cars and planes became smoother and more stable, their need for luxury clocks declined. However, clocks that can stand up to rough rides while offering exquisite style are still sought by seafarers. Almost from the beginning, Chelsea Clock has designed clocks like The Mariner and The Pilot as tributes to yacht life. Nowadays, whenever we attend events like the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, we hear countless stories about people who use Chelsea Clocks on their boats - not just yachts, but cabin cruisers, fishing boats, catamarans and other vessels, too. We're proud to continue carrying on the Chelsea Clock legacy for generations to come.