Awards for Excellence in Horology

The Tompion Medal

The Clockmakers’ Company commemorates outstanding achievements in horology by the award of a gold medal, named the Tompion Medal.  The medal is awarded at the discretion of the Court from time to time but not more than once in any calendar year, and in the selection of the recipient of the award no regard is paid to nationality.  It was decided that the medal should be known as the Tompion Gold Medal in memory of Thomas Tompion, called the Father of English Clock and Watch Making, Master of the Company in 1703.

Philip Woodward was presented with the Tompion Medal by the Master in November 2009, for services to precision mechanical horology.

Dr Philip Woodward DSc (6th September 1919 – 30th January 2018) was presented with the Tompion Medal by the Master in November 2009, “for services to precision mechanical horology”.

The Harrison Medal

The Clockmakers’ Company commemorates outstanding achievements in propagating knowledge of the history of clockmaking and its appreciation by the award of a medal named after the illustrious John Harrison.  This is awarded at the discretion of the Court from time to time.

Past Master Sir George White Bt FSA, Keeper of the Clockmakers' Collection, receiving The Harrison Medal at the Clockmakers' Livery Dinner at Drapers' Hall in November 2017

Sir George White Bt FSA, Keeper of the Clockmakers’ Collection, receiving The Harrison Medal at the Clockmakers’ Livery Dinner at Drapers’ Hall in November 2017 (by kind permission of Gerald Sharp Photography)

The Derek Pratt Prize

PrattAtBenchDerek Pratt (1938–2009) was one of the leading horologists of his time whose interests encompassed all aspects of time measurement as well as many other fields associated with mechanical and micro-engineering. The Derek Pratt Prize is an award of £20,000 to honour those individuals or organisations whose work bear the same hallmarks of innovation, ingenuity, elegance, the highest standards of workmanship and precision performance in the craft and science of time and timekeeping. It is also intended to encourage others to persevere along this same path. The Prize is open to individuals or organisations of any nation whose work, in the opinion of the judging committee, proves worthy of the award. The Prize is awarded no more often than every three years.

The first recipient of the Derek Pratt Prize was Martin Burgess (Edward Martin Burgess FSA FBHI) in 2014. “for his pioneering work over 50 years in sculptural horology, and principally for his historical studies and practical development of the ideas and experimental works of John Harrison concerning precision pendulum clocks”. The second award of the Derek Pratt Prize, announced by the Master on 10th April 2018, is to be made to Charles Frodsham & Co Ltd for the development and launch of the their new wrist-watch incorporating a double impulse chronometer escapement. The Prize will be presented at the Livery Dinner in November 2018.

Recipients of The Tompion Medal

1954 – Mr W.H. Shortt for the invention, in 1925, of the Shortt Free Pendulum which, for over thirty years remained the standard timekeeper at observatories throughout the world.

1955 – Mr W.A. Morrison (USA) for work on the development of the quartz crystal clock.

1957 – Dr Louis Essen for his development of the Essen Ring Quartz-crystal oscillator, and of the first Atomic Clock of high precision.

1963 – Mr Max Hetzel (a Swiss citizen working in the USA) for his development of the tuning fork as a method of timekeeping in a wrist watch (Bulova Accutron).

1980 – Dr George Daniels CBE for outstanding feats of craftsmanship, skill, innovation and artistry in designing and making watches with mechanical movements, of absolute perfection; backed by his attributes as an author of horological books and publications.

1992 – Dr L. V. Morrison and Dr R. Stephenson for their work on variations in the rate of the rotation of the earth.

1996 – Dr Bernard Guinot for his contributions to the implementation of Co-ordinated Universal Time (OTC).

2000 – Dr Patrick Gill for his contributions to the pursuit of an ultimate frequency standard, and to education in horology.

2002 – Dr Terry Quinn FRS for his work at the NPL and at the BIPM in Sèvres, on the science of measurements in general.

2005 – Mr Derek Pratt for outstanding contributions to horology; a top class watch and clock maker; his ingenuity, technical ability and curiosity have helped to solve a variety of prototype and production problems; a supreme artist-craftsman.

2007 – Mr Anthony Randall. An outstanding horologist who has made an immense contribution to horology over a period of more than forty years.

2009 – Dr Philip Woodward DSc for services to precision mechanical horology.

Recipients of The Harrison Medal

2002 – Jonathan Betts for his work in the furtherance of horological knowledge and its dissemination in the wider field at the National Maritime Museum, and elsewhere.

2004 – Dava Sobel for her internationally acclaimed book on John Harrison: ‘Longitude’.

2006 – Sir Arnold Wolfendale for his outstanding work and inspirational leadership in initiating and master-minding the commemoration of John Harrison by a memorial in the nave of Westminster Abbey.

2007 – Mr William Andrewes – Much of his distinguished career and internationally acclaimed literary work has been spent in propagating knowledge of the great John Harrison and his works and celebrating his achievements.

2009 – Mr David Thompson for services to the history and technology of horology.

2012 – Mr David Poole is a Horologist of very many talents who has contributed mightily to many aspects of Horology and to the prestige of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. His special forte is that of the education of horologists of all ages by way of teaching, examining , authoring books and organizing charitable support. His publicising of the historical aspects of clockmaking plays a prominent part in his work as do examples drawn from his own brilliant practical experience.

2017 – Sir George White for his dedicated service as Keeper of the Clockmakers’ Collection for thirty years including the cataloguing of the Collection, two re-displays of the Collection at Guildhall and its move to, and re-display at, the Science Museum in 2014-15.

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