SHIP'S BELL


In horology the term refers to a clock which strikes according to a system similar to that used on board ship where a bell is struck manually to denote " watches " or a period of duty. A Ship's Bell Clock may not necessarily agree with the nautical time since the majority of
"domestic" ship's bell clocks strike the series of blows up to eight, starting at 12.30 p.m. with one bell and adding a blow at each half hour up to 4 p.m. when eight bells are sounded. Then the same sequence is repeated, whereas true nautical time strikes one bell at 6.30 p.m. to denote the Dog Watches (where the domestic clock would strike five bells) 7 p.m. two bells, 7.30 p.m., three bells and 8 p.m. eight bells, as noted in the table of nautical times. Some ship's bell clocks are made to strike true nautical time but the majority strike as the table in pairs, i.e. ding to denote one bell, ding, ding to denote two bells, and ding, ding, ding, to denote three bells and so on. It will be noted that the hours are as on board ship.

AM

PM

Bells.

12.30

12.30

1

X

1.00

1.00

2

XX

1.30

1.30

3

XX X

2.00

2.00

4

XX XX

2.30

2.30

5

XX XX X

3.00

3.00

6

XX XX XX

3.30

3.30

7

XX XX XX X

4.00

4.00

8

XX XX XX XX

4.30

4.30

1

X

5.00

5.00

2

XX

5.30

5.30

3

XX X

6.00

6.00

4

XX XX

6.30

6.30

5

XX XX X

7.00

7.00

6

XX XX XX

7.30

7.30

7

XX XX XX X

8.00

8.00

8

XX XX XX XX

8.30

8.30

1

X

9.00

9.00

2

XX

9.30

9.30

3

XX X

10.00

10.00

4

XX XX

10.30

10.30

5

XX XX X

11.00

11.00

6

XX XX XX

11.30

11.30

7

XX XX XX X

12.00

12.00

8

XX XX XX XX


 

Nautical Time is as follows:
The 24 hours is divided into
7 watches.

Midnight to 4 a.m.
4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
8 a.m. to Noon.
Noon to 4 p.m.
4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
8 p.m. to Midnight.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7

Middle watch
Morning watch
Forenoon watch
Afternoon watch
First Dog watch
Last Dog watch
First watch

The purpose of the two day watches is to
make an odd number of watches in the
24 hours thus giving the men different
watches each day.

 

 


Table of
Nautical Times:

1  Bell
12.30 p.m. 4.30 p.m. 6.30 p.m. 8.30 p.m.
12.30 a.m. 4.30 a.m. 8.30 a.m.
2 Bells
1.00 p.m. 5.00 p.m. 7.00 p.m. 9.00 p.m.
1.00 a.m. 5.00 a.m. 9.00 a.m.
3 Bells
1.30 p.m. 5.30 p.m. 7.30 p.m. 9.30 p.m.
1.30 a.m. 5.30 a.m. 9.30 a.m.
4 Bells
2.00 p.m. 6.00 p.m. 10.00 p.m.
2.00 a.m. 6.00 a.m. 10.00 a.m.
5 Bells
2.30 p.m. 10.30 p.m. 10.30 a.m.
2.30 a.m. 6.30 a.m.
6 Bells
3.00 p.m. 11.00 p.m.
3.00 a.m. 7.00 a.m. 11.30 a.m.
7 Bells
3.30 p.m. 11.30 p.m.
3.30 a.m. 7.30 a.m. 11.30 a.m.
8 Bells
12.00 Noon 4.00 p.m. 8.00 p.m.
12.00 Midnight 4.00 a.m.8.00 a.m.