2016.12.26 09:07


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Reinterpreting a Classic for the 21st century

Company Description


Established in London in 1858, THOMAS MERCER is a name forever synonymous with the marine chronometer, the greatest manufacturer in history.

The marine chronometer was developed in the 18th Century to help determine longitude at sea. Following a long succession of transoceanic voyages ending in tragedy for British ships, the British Government announced that a  reward was to be offered to the person who could find a simple and practical method for the precise determination of a ship’s longitude. Its table-top counterpart, known as the table regulator, was on the other hand used in workshops to regulate and rate marine chronometers, thereupon to be used at sea.

A clock tells the time - a chronometer measures it, with ultimate precision. As Tony Mercer said, “Chronometer making is an art beyond clock making. The very finest finish is indeed required, and the compensation of hairspring to the balance over a variety of temperatures is the great challenge.”

Appointed Maker to the Admiralty – with several timekeepers issued to the British Royal Navy- winner of several Greenwich and Kew Trials, THOMAS MERCER made the chronometer used by Sir Ernest Shackleton to navigate throughout his heroic open boat journey on the James Caird - as well as those that equipped the Royal Yacht Britannia. It was also THOMAS MERCER the timekeepers with which Sir Francis Chichester broke the solo world speed distance record on his pioneering Trans-Atlantic crossing of 1971, and which adorned the interior of the private aircraft of Sir Winston Churchill.

Today the company diligently and proudly upholds the tradition of British clock-making by manufacturing chronometers that grace the interiors of the world’s most exclusive yachts and homes, individual timepieces where sophisticated design and quintessentially British elegance combine with flawless craftsmanship and mechanical excellence.

The founder’s focus on innovation and engineering excellence is further perpetuated by partnering with talents such as yacht designer Andrew Winch, furniture designer Jake Phipps and cabinet-maker Linley. In an important link to the brand’s illustrious heritage, a fifth-generation member of the Mercer family has a seat on the Board.

From the Classis, the iconic marine chronometer made in collaboration with world-renowned studio Winch Design, to the Legacy - the cutting edge nautical timekeeper – via the Observatory, the world pluri-complicated marine chronometer, THOMAS MERCER stands for inimitable style and horological innovation.



This competition calls for participants to deploy their creativity to design a new model of table chronometer celebrating both the spirit of THOMAS MERCER and the great tradition of British clockmaking.



The object to design is a table chronometer reinterpreting the THOMAS MERCER centenary tradition. Some examples of models communicating the brand heritage are provided for reference. Participants should identify the traits that in their view best represent THOMAS MERCER 's heritage and reflect them in their designs.​


The personality of the brand is based upon the best of British luxury values, and the designs must reflect this. In addition to the high quality and craftsmanship that is synonymous with the top level of British design, they should be creative, individual and surprising.

British luxury brands enjoy worldwide renown for their ability to reinvent their products and transform them into legendary icons – notable examples come from the automotive and apparel industries – and this table chronometer must be no exception.

It should express a sense of tradition, while its style be timeless: conversely, communicate the heritage of the brand but the approach not be vintage-oriented.



While respecting the sense of heritage and tradition, participants are welcome to explore new shapes and proportions in the design of the cabinet.The cabinet must magnify the beauty of the mechanism around which it will be built (images below) therefore the use of multiple crystal glasses has to be favoured. The dial can be of solid type, openwork (aperture partially showing the mechanics) or skeletonised.   

Assertive, never aggressive, the shapes should feature a restrainedly masculine personality.


The mechanism must be featured in the design, hence several views are provided. To offer designers more options, the mechanism is shown both ways - skeletonised, and solid plates: either version is acceptable, so participants can choose the one which accords best with their ideas.


The table chronometer should be a celebration of high quality craftsmanship - a blend of elegance (the case) and sophistication (the mechanism), to deliver an incomparable fusion of horology and cabinetry.

Through the use of exquisite materials (including, but not limited to, metals and wood) and finishes (including, but not limited to, gold plating, rhodium plating, brushing, sandblasting etc) the design must underline that it is for a select few. The product needs to be of the absolute highest quality and finessed to perfection


The size of the mechanism around which the cabinet will be built is:

Width: 150mm

Depth: 100mm

Height: 200mm

The cabinet height therefore shall be between 250 and 500mm.



The chronometer is addressed to a male audience, but, designed as it is to adorn the interiors of homes of the utmost refinement, should be aesthetically pleasing also to a female audience.

The THOMAS MERCER client is a distinctive and sophisticated individual, with a keen eye on quality and detail, and a lifestyle seeking beauty and exclusivity.

An interior image is provided to illustrate both the target personality as well as the environment for which the table chronometer is intended.


Projects should not be currently in production.

Design(s) shall be kept confidential until the results of the competition are published.

The jury will award designs and concepts which are innovative in terms of their formal and social


8th march 2017


8th march 2017


registrations are open now, please fill in the form.

Teams register with one name only.




- front view

- side view

- three-quarter (recommendable)

File type: Pdf or .jpeg only

Resolution: 72 dpi

Size: 150 kb max. each file

Colour mode : RGB


Videos (optional)

File type: .flv or .swf only

Resolution: 640 pixels x 480 pixels

Size: 10 MB max. each file

Colour mode: RGB


Original high-resolution file(s) will be requested only to shortlisted works

Explanation of ideas: a short description of the submitted design.


1°: € 1.000 

2°: €    500 

3°: €    200

THOMAS MERCER will select the winner, and the judge’s decision will be final.


Any moral and paternity right regarding the project sent in for submission is the designer’s property. However, by submitting a design in the competition, the participant agrees to provide THOMAS MERCER with the right of first refusal to the exclusive use of the design. This option is valid for 6 months after the competition will end. In the event that THOMAS MERCER exercises the option to use the rights for production on an exclusive basis and sine die (without time limitations), THOMAS MERCER will make an agreement with the participant for the transfer ofintellectual property rights and, by participating in the competition, all participants authorise DESIGNBOOM and THOMAS MERCER to publish and exhibit all the designs (including project data submitted) – waiving compensation – at exhibitions and events and/or to use them in any publications, communications or promotions that the organisers may deem suitable and/or necessary.


1. Projects participating to the competition, must be original works; projects must be free from copyrights and any kind of obligation.

2. The design shall not in any way infringe any third party’s right, including but not limited to copyright, logos, trademark, trade names, or other             proprietary rights of publicity or privacy.

3. Only entries with a declaration of authorship are accepted (Form to be signed and uploaded along with the deliverables)