James Ritchie was apprenticed to James Howden on Parliament square around 1799 and was listed in a marriage record of 1804 as being a watchmaker & Jeweller
1809: James Ritchie opened for business in 1809 at 29 Leith Street. In addition to selling watches, the craftsman made his living repairing and cleaning watches.
In 1810 Madame Tussaud visited the shop in Leith Street where she had two watches repaired while she had an exhibition at the Panorama, Leith Walk.
In 1809 he took over Joseph Durward's clockmaking firm which had been established in 1775.
1814: James was made a Burgess of the City of Edinburgh and the business flourished.
1838: James's eldest son, Frederick James Ritchie, became an apprentice partner in the firm at age 11, which moved to 25 Leith Street in the 1850's.
1853: Frederick James Ritchie came to the forefront of the development of electrical horology. He worked with Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth, the Astronomer Royal, and Chief Master Gunner Findlay in setting up the Time Ball on the Nelson Monument on top of Calton Hill, Edinburgh.
1861: It was decided to introduce a simultaneous firing of a cannon to provide an audible signal. Originally an 18-pound muzzle loading cannon located at the Half Moon Battery of Edinburgh Castle was used. It needed four men to load and fire the gun which could be easily heard by ships in the harbour at Leith some 3 kms away.
1872: Frederick James Ritchie further developed inventions of Bain and Wheatstone in the field of electric timekeeping.
1873: Frederick Ritchie read a paper to the Royal Scottish Society of Arts in April 1873. His synchronised clocks were by then in use in the Liverpool Observatory, besides Edinburgh itself, and in a variety of other places. The company then opened a branch at 131 Princes Street which, and in addition to specialising in watches and clocks, quickly built up a reputation for selling high quality jewellery, gems and silver plate.
1903: James Ritchie & Son designed the mechanism for the first floral clock in the world which is situated in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.
1912: James Ritchie & Son manufactured and presented a non-dial chiming clock to St Giles Kirk.
1930 Following the end of the first world war and the depression of the 1930's, the branch on Princes St closed
The start of the second world war saw much of the younger skilled professionals called into service and the rest were lost to the new Ferranti factory.