This watch was purchased by the Admiralty for £25 in October 1909, only one other watch of this type, which is also signed by Douglas, is known. During the First World War, there are records showing the watch being sent back and forth between the Admiralty and Usher and Cole Ltd., (Douglas having already retired by this date). It was subsequently issued to H.M.S. Cyclops in May 1918 which, together with H.M.S. Victorious, was based at Scapa Flow to assist in the fitting of the Dreyer firing system to all Dreadnought battleships. The chronograph would have been an essential piece of equipment to help calculate the speed of shells whilst in flight.
William Henry Douglas (1837-1913) was a watchmaker based in the West Midlands town of Stourbridge. He registered a total of 11 patents of which seven are relevant to this watch. The first patent was for a chronograph mechanism (number 2500 of June 1880) and the last for a Karrusel (or as he termed it, ‘a tourbillon’), this latter patent was granted in January 1907 as number 6858. Douglas stated that “…The object of this invention is to provide for the arrangement of a tourbillon with an ordinary watch…without any material modification…and for the convenient combination with the same as a chronograph.”
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