Sestrel ships bulkhead clock

Object number

LDVAL 2005.19.1


Ships bulkhead clock made by Henry Browne and Sons Ltd of Barking. Henry Browne and Son Ltd, of Barking, were specialists in the manufacture of navigational instruments. Henry Browne was born in Lewis, Sussex in 1842 and died in Barking in 1935. In c1888 Henry Browne built a factory in Barking to manufacture marine compasses and navigational instruments. The business was so successful that within a few years a bigger factory was built. The common liquid compass was outmoded by the “Sestrel” (the product’s brand name) Dead-beat compass, one of the most outstanding improvements in compass design.

When Henry Browne died, his son F. G. Browne succeeded as managing director. Air navigation had come into its own, and the “Sestrel” Aero compass was introduced. During WWII the firm manufactured many thousands of aircraft compasses for planes such as Spitfires and Tigermoths. They also made compasses and instruments for Naval and Merchant ships. Henry Browne & son also made an supplied thousands of liquid luminous lifeboat compasses, one of which was fitted into every lifeboat of every British Merchant ship.

Some of the instruments made by the company include: compasses, sextants, sounding instruments, telescopes, binoculars, signalling lamps, barographs, barometers, clocks and thermometers. In later years the company were famous for making instruments for Concord.

Physical description

Circular clock in a white metal case (chrome on brass?). Has a white enamel face with black roman numerals. Has a second face above the main hands to show the seconds and a speed regulator beneath 12. The glazed case door open, and the wind up mechanism for the clock is just above 6. No key.





Whole Diameter: 204mm
Diameter: 165mm
Depth: 80mm


Body: Metal
Face: Enamel

Collection type

Social history


Makers Mark Painted On face, above key hole: HENRY BROWNE & SON LTD BARKING & LONDON
Mark Enameled Below 6: BRITISH MADE
Inscription Written On reverse of base: PANTRY

Alternative reference

Entry Number 1636 (2005-09-05)

Looking for records

Objects that are not on display in the museum can be viewed by appointment at the discretion of the Museum Curator. To find out more about accessing the collection please email: or telephone: 020 8227 2034

One thought on “Sestrel ships bulkhead clock

  1. I have one of these ships clocks. It works perfect and keeps great time. Can you please tell me approximately how old it might be. It matches the one in your picture accept the chrome is wore off and shows mostly the brass. Still a beautiful piece! Thank you in advance for your time. Larry Fritz. Maryland USA.

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