ITS employees have played an ­important role in ensuring Scotland's clocks have been keeping good time for the past 200 years ...

but their Edinburgh employer has been bought by an English clockmaker.

James Ritchie & Son is responsible for the famous Calton Hill Time Ball on top of the Nelson Monument in Edinburgh. This is raised to the mast and then dropped each day as the one o'clock gun is fired from Edinburgh Castle.

Scotland's oldest turret clock ­manufacturer also specialises in the restoration and maintenance of large public clocks, church clocks and bells, clubhouse clocks and advertising display clocks.

Its new owners, Smith of Derby, says the change will secure the "long-term future of clock-making and ­conservation in Britain".

James Ritchie & Son, founded in 1809, will use its own brand but will receive support from its new owners.

Alan Wilson, managing director, said: "This move is a result of a long-standing link between James Ritchie & Son and Smith of Derby, which stretches back over 30 years."