NGA Facilities Operating Status »
Contact Us »


Exhibit image banner

Longines Sidereal Second-Setting Watch

Longines Sidereal Second-Setting watch image

Before 1927, watches used with sextants for celestial sightings could only be set to the minute. A watch error of 30 seconds caused a navigational error of up to 12 kilometers (7 miles). In 1927, P. V. H. Weems devised a watch with an adjustable second hand that could be set using radio time signals. This was one of his personal navigation watches. Sidereal refers to the watch running on a celestial day (about 23 hours, 56 minutes), rather than the 24 hour solar day.