There are many satisfying opportunities within the field for both employment and self employment. Horology provides a challenging career. CLIPS have a good leaflet which provides useful information “Making and repairing clocks and watches”. Renewed interest in mechanical watches has created a demand for skilled personnel which cannot be met by the current training provision and the wealth of antique clocks ensures a continued demand for the skills of the clockmaker. The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers takes a particular interest in training and apprenticeships. The number of places available at colleges has become very limited but there is support and encouragement for students who wish to become clock or watchmakers. The current provision in Great Britain is:-
The British Horological Institute
As well as conducting the examinations for three nationally accredited awards, Diploma in Clock and Watch Servicing, Diploma in the Servicing and Repair of Clocks / Watches and Diploma in the Repair, Restoration and Conservation of Clocks / Watches, the Institute provides short courses for enthusiasts and professionals. A Distance Learning Course provides training for the above awards. This course is being followed by students wishing to learn to become clock or watchmakers and those already in the trade in order to develop their skills and lead to Professional Membership of the Institute. The Company has worked with the Institute to provide accredited qualifications and contributes to the prize awarded annually to the student gaining the highest marks in the examinations. (Many students worldwide are following the Distance Learning Course).
The British School of Watchmaking
This is the latest addition to training opportunities; the first students commenced their course in September 2006. The course, which follows the widely accepted WOSTEP syllabus, was inaugurated by Breitling, Patek Philippe and Rolex, together with the Swatch Group, Richemont and jewellery store owners Signet, FA Buck, Goldsmiths and the Houlden Group. It has taken five years and has cost more than £400,000 to bring to fruition. Students are generally sponsored by the companies that fund the school. (There is provision for 12 students).
Contact: The British School of Watchmaking is at Crossford Court, Units 5 and 6, Dane Road, Sale, Manchester, M33 7BZ. Telephone: 0161 976 5650.
Birmingham City University
The School of Jewellery includes a horology department situated in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. The department provides a three year course leading to the Certificate in the Repair, Restoration and Conservation of Clocks / Watches. This award is nationally accredited with administration by EAL (EMTA Awards Ltd) and the British Horological Institute. Students also have the opportunity to gain the HND Horology validated at the College. The Company currently awards two “Harrison Bursaries” annually; there are other bursaries awarded from time to time. (Approximately 28 students encompass the three year course.)
Epping Forest Horology Centre
The Epping Forest Horology Centre is a hands-on clock and watch training workshop formed in 2005 in West Essex offering instruction and help in clock and watch making and repair - a facility which enables the introduction of people in the Greater London area (and beyond) to the skills required in horology. Granted charitable status in 2013 and received a £24,000 grant from the George Daniels’ Educational Trust. See pdf link to the latest news and exciting developments at EFHC.
Contact: Telephone: 0844 251 0345 e-mail: The Membership Secretary
West Dean College
Situated in West Sussex, West Dean College provides courses for conservation and restoration for a number of disciplines. The Conservation of Antique Clocks course is of one year duration and leads to a Diploma of West Dean College; some students continue for a further year to gain a Professional Development Diploma. The Company regularly provides financial assistance for students to study at West Dean College and provides an annual prize. (Approximately 8 students encompassing the two year provision). Click on this link for full time courses. In addition West Dean runs a short course entitled Conservation for Horologists which is part of the Professional Conservators in Practice programme – click this link for all information.
Contact: West Dean College, West Dean, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QZ. Telephone: 01243 811301 email: West Dean College
Other training opportunities
As well as the formal programs given there are opportunities for enthusiasts to use facilities and learn about clock / watch repair by attending Horology Clubs. One example within reach of London is the Epping Forest Horology Club situated in Essex. Tuition is provided in a friendly atmosphere. The Clockmakers’ Company has assisted EFHC by providing essential equipment for student use. Contact: Telephone: 0844 251 0345 e-mail: The Membership Secretary
The Hand Engravers Association of Great Britain … are continuing the popular series of evening courses, aimed at all skill levels; from complete novices, to improvers, to professional metalsmiths wishing to hone a particular engraving skill. In this hands-on practical course you will learn from highly skilled professionals in a workshop environment. Courses last six weeks, one evening per week. With a maximum quota of five students, classes are highly individualised.
Liveryman Phillip Gale FBHI is offering training sessions at his workshop in Cornwall, but because of available workshop space only two students at any one time can be accommodated. The courses offered will be in basic Clockmaking, to include dismantling movements correctly and setting up of strike / chime mechanisms; polishing pivots, re-pivoting arbors, bushing clock plates, bushing barrels, wheel cutting, polish and lacquering brass, re-waxing chapter rings, re-silvering chapter rings; overhauling platform escapements, to include jewelling (both rub-in and press fit), and turning a new balance staff and straightening hairsprings. The courses will vary between one and two days.
Overnight accommodation with breakfast can be provided at additional cost. The cost of the courses is yet to be set, but will be in line with BHI charges. If there are subjects that are not listed Phillip is keen to hear what potential students might require. For dates, times and further information please check the Branch’s Web Site www.bhiswbranch.co.uk or contact Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07721390025.