The difference is mostly the movement and the dial.

Ship’s Bell clocks have a U.S. made, heirloom quality, movement (the internal “works” of the clock) that weighs about twice as much as the production movement made by the Hermle Company in Germany that is used in Shipstrike models.  The Ship’s Bell movement, hand crafted in Chelsea’s Massachusetts plant is an 1890’s design using gears machined from heavy stock rather than stamped from sheet brass, fully jeweled, and with internal parts gold plated for corrosion resistance.  The Ship’s Bell movement is regulated by a fine Swiss escapement.  A leather insert on the striking hammer gives a more mellow tone to the bell.  The dial is painstakingly made from a heavy plate of solid brass, into which the numerals are acid etched, the dial is silver plated, and the numerals are then enameled into the etchings.  While not a chronometer, the Chelsea Ship’s Bell clock is the “Rolls Royce” of marine striking clocks.

The Shipstrike clock uses the best production movement Chelsea could find on the world market to place in a popularly priced clock that might be characterized as the “Buick” of marine striking clocks.  It’s a very good, serviceable clock with a dial having printed numerals on spun aluminum.  And, yes, there are a few plastic parts in the movement, but not where they would adversely affect operation.

In all models Chelsea uses a U.S. made heavy, solid brass, forged case – not cast, or assembled from parts, or rolled from sheet brass – but a solid heavy forging.  A heavy, forged, solid brass bezel holds the dial glass, and is either threaded to screw onto the front of the case, or hinged to swing open allowing easy access to the dial to wind the clock and set the time. The hinge bezel is more convenient, but costs a little more.  There is little difference between hinge or screw bezel in terms of keeping dust and moisture out of the movement.  Unlike other marine striking clocks Chelsea mounts a large coil gong on the inside back of the case, which is struck by the movement hammer. The solid forged brass case then resonates the bell sound into the room much as a piano sounding board improves that instrument’s tone.  Other makers use a small bell mounted on the movement, then cut or drill holes in the case to let the sound out  (and dust and dirt in). This accounts for the strong, rich tone of all Chelsea bell strike key wound clocks. 

Both Ship’s Bell and Shipstrike key wound clocks have 8-day movements.  This means they should be wound weekly.  For best timekeeping wind the clock on the same day each week. All key wound clocks also have a regulating lever or wheel on the dial to adjust time keeping, and a bells-on-off lever accessible from the dial to silence the bells if desired without disturbing time keeping or strike sequence. For the convenience of not having to wind, and for greater timekeeping accuracy, see the model 40033 quartz striking clock.

Chelsea has developed a QUARTZ movement shipstrike clock in the 4 1/2 inch dial size that looks identical to the screw bezel 4 1/2 inch keywound shipstrike clock except that it has no winding post holes, and has a second hand.  The timekeeping and bell strike are powered by a pair of AA-size batteries.  The strike tone is generated electronically and sounds through a small loudspeaker inside the case through slots cut in the bottom of the case.  If this clock is mounted on a Chelsea display base (traditional or contemporary) the base tends to cover the slots in the bottom of the case, muffling the sound somewhat.  The quartz-regulated movement is highly accurate in timekeeping , however, some listeners may find the tone less distinct than the tone of the mechanical  key wound clocks.  Others prefer the electronically generated strike.  The quartz strike clocks are available in screw bezel only since the batteries typically last a year or more, and time setting should also be infrequent. 

All Chelsea cases are beautifully polished and coated with clear lacquer to protect the finish. Because the cases are solid brass, not plated, if tarnishing ever occurs due to heavy wear or salt air shipboard environment, the case can be refinished like new.

WARRANTY:  Chelsea Ship’s Bell clocks and barometers are warranted for 5 years.  Shipstrike instruments carry a two-year warranty against defects. If a warranty repair is needed, Captain’s will provide return shipping to Chelsea, and interface with Chelsea on your behalf to be sure you receive the service you deserve.

OUT-OF-WARRANTY SERVICE: Captain’s has a skilled staff watchmaker to repair and service all makes of clocks, barometers, sextants, and compasses.  Call Captain’s for more information: in the U.S. and Canada call 1-800-448-2278, of make e-mail contact through this web site.