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1993  Marine Timekeepers

John Harrison, the inventor of the marine chronometer, was commemorated by this elegant four-stamp set on the 300th anniversary of his birth. Harrison made three large chronometers, all preserved in the National Maritime Museum, but it was his fourth, H4, which was the pinnacle of his achievement and is illustrated on all four stamps. The following descriptions are taken from the informative text in the presentation packs, written by Jonathan Betts of the National Maritime Museum.

Stamp One (24p): Front view showing the decorated enamel dial.
Stamp Two (28p): The escapement, the remontoire, and the fusee with Harrison’s automatic ‘maintaining power’ which together ensure that the balance beats time uniformly.
Stamp Three (33p): The timekeeping element within, including the balance and spring, and bimetallic temperature compensation.
Stamp Four (39p): The pierced and engraved back of the movement which protects the delicate mechanism beneath.

These beautiful and intricate stamps were designed by Howard Brown and illustrated by David Penney.

John Harrison’s work is also honoured on the Royal Mail’s Timekeeping stamp of 1999 and two stamps in the Isle of Man’s Story of Time set issued in 2000.


Stanley Gibbons nos. 1654–1657