18 Apr 2016

Rare Marine Chronometer located and returned

April 2016

Art Loss Register locates a stolen marine chronometer

An early 20th century two day Marine Chronometer, mounted on a locking gimbal in a brass bound wooden case, 7 x 7 x 8 ins.

This week, a stolen early 20th century marine chronometer was returned to the theft victim following its location by the Art Loss Register. This rare chronometer, by D. McGregor & Co. Ltd, Glasgow, Makers to the Admiralty, was once a vital tool for navigation at sea and will have travelled far and wide before becoming a fascinating collectible.

Sadly, the chronometer was stolen during a house burglary in Hertfordshire in May 2010. The theft was reported to the police and this valued antique was registered with the Art Loss Register. It is one of nearly 500 chronometers on the Art Loss Register’s database of lost and stolen art and collectibles.

Five years after the theft, the Art Loss Register spotted the chronometer being offered in the Christmas sale of a regional UK auction house. The auction house withdrew the item from sale and the police initiated a criminal investigation.

Further enquiries into the provenance revealed that the chronometer had changed hands at least 3 times in 2015 alone, making it impossible to trace back to the thief. Despite the impossibility of locating and prosecuting the thief, it was thankfully possible for the chronometer to be returned to its rightful owner.

Upon the return of the chronometer this week, the theft victim, a Master Mariner, said "I am delighted to be reunited with the chronometer thanks to the work of the Art Loss Register in locating it, and Hertfordshire Police in investigating the matter. They are an increasingly rare and valuable collectible as they are no longer made."