30.5.1846 Southsea/UK - 14.3.1926 London/UK
Philip Watts originated from a famous family of shipbuilders of which he became the most famed. He entered at a young age the Portsmouth Dockyard and then graduated from the Royal School of Naval Architecture. From 1870, Watts was associated with William Froude (1810-1879) and carried out tank tests for the Admiralty. In 1872, he was transferred to the staff of the Admiralty as a draftsman for the next ten years. In 1883, after a number of successful designs, he was appointed to naval constructor and attached to the Chatham Dockyard. In 1885 Watts became Director of Naval Construction where he stayed for the next sixteen years: In this period of transition in warship design, Watts played a prominent part, particularly as regards the speed and gun power. Gun power means additional weight calling for greater power to get the ship speed. Vessels of his design went to nearly every navy-owing country in the world. He was for instance instrumental in creating Japan's modern navy.
Watts was a capable designer of warships. He was an adept at obtaining a maximum in gun power and speed with a minimum of displacement, and his success evoked great admiration. In 1902, Watts joined the Admiralty again and there started the important phase of his career, namely the Dreadnought era. The "one gun ship" was armed with the largest possible number of large-sized guns and no secondary armament saving quick-firing guns of small caliber. Watts appointed a committee including Lord Kelvin (1824-1907). Watts succeeded in producing a ship which was entirely unlike anything previously built and destined to revolutionize battleship and cruiser design. The Dreadnought commissioned in 1906 mounted no less than ten 12 in. 45-calibre guns, and with a displacement of 18,000 tons developed a speed of 21.6 knots. This increase in speed had been rendered possible by the steam turbine, the first time used for a battleship. Watts retired from the Admiralty in 1916. In 1905 he was created a Knight Commander of the Order of Bath, and in 1900 a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Anonymous (1926). Sir Philip Watts. The Engineer 141: 329-330. P
Anonymous (1926). The late Sir Philip Watts, KCB. Engineering 121: 371-373. P Anonymous (1926). Sir Philip Watts, KCB, FRS. Trans. Inst. Naval Architects 68: 285-292. P Watts, P. (1907). Discussion to High-speed vessels. Trans. Shipbuilding Engineering Conference: 94-112.
Watts, P. (1916). Load lines of merchant ships. Trans. Institution of Naval Architects 58: 1-15. Watts, P. (1923). The preservation of HMS Victory. Trans. Institution Naval Architects 65: 1-5.

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