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itworksde

Trainee

Date of registration: May 24th 2007

Posts: 103

Location: Rheinland Pfalz, Deutschland

Occupation: Selbstständig

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1

Wednesday, October 10th 2007, 9:27pm

Learning to become a watchmaker via Distance Learning

Hi,

I thought I would write a short description of the BHI's distance learning course in Watch or Clock Making for anyone interesting in learning about watch making but not able to give up their day job to go to college for three years full time study.

The British Horological Institute (BHI) was founded in 1858 in London by a group of watch makers to help raise the standards of watch making in England. Training has therefore, always been a centre point of the BHI's mission and the distance learning course is an excellent example of this.

The course should take three years to complete though as it is self paced you can be quicker or slower as you please. Examinations are help every 6 months approximately.

The course is broken down in two three sections as follows:

Preliminary Grade – prepares candidates for the Certificate in Clock and Watch Servicing (“Technician Grade”)

Intermediate Grade – prepares candidates for the first year examinations of the Certificate in the Repair, Restoration and Conservation for Clocks/Watches (“Final Grade Part I”)

Final Grade – prepares candidates for the final year examinations of the Certificate in the Repair, Restoration and Conservation for Clocks/Watches (“Final Grade Part II”)

After the first year the student can choose a Watchmaking path or a Clockmaking path depending on where your interest takes you.

Each of the courses above have exams at the end you can take if you wish to gain formal quaifications and enter the trade but the courses are also suited to non-professional horologists who wish to gain knowledge and skills in the craft of watch / clock making or restoration.

Examples of the exams for the first year are a Horological Theory exam, a Technical Drawing exam (you can either use a pencil and T-Square or a CAD package on a Laptop for this) and finally a Practical exam whereby the student is given 10 days to make a practical piece for example a replacement part for a clock.

The course assumes no previous knowledge so your first practical assignments for example are to learn to file flat and true and use a hack saw to cut brass and silver steel making simply hand tools, equally the technical drawing begins with how to use a T-Square and label a diagram etc.

To get started you do require some tools, a lath being the most expensive item required but for the purposes of the course a basic 8mm lath with do. You do not necessary need a top of the line Swiss Watch Making Lathe which is considerable more expensive, unless of course you wish to turn professional perhaps. I use a Cowells 8mm lathe which is fine though I believe Proxxon in Germany and Sherline in the States have more economical lathes which can take horological collets also.

Unfortunately this course is only available in English at the moment but if you wish to know more take a look at the BHI's web site www.bhi.co.uk

Enjoy!

Cheers,

Kevin

tsmith513

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Date of registration: May 28th 2006

Posts: 439

Location: near stuttgart

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2

Saturday, October 13th 2007, 4:15pm

RE: Learning to become a watchmaker via Distance Learning

Hi Kevin, :wink:

That sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for the info and I hope you have fun.

Regards,
Thomas

itworksde

Trainee

Date of registration: May 24th 2007

Posts: 103

Location: Rheinland Pfalz, Deutschland

Occupation: Selbstständig

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3

Saturday, October 13th 2007, 5:52pm

RE: Learning to become a watchmaker via Distance Learning

Hi Thomas,

Thanks, yes it makes for a very interesting hobby and is something to look forward to on the weekends after a week in the office.

Cheers,

Kevin

Date of registration: Feb 20th 2006

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4

Sunday, October 14th 2007, 12:48am

RE: Learning to become a watchmaker via Distance Learning

I have though about attending the BHI too, but one should be committed to it and I´m getting sidetracked all the time... :rolleyes:
Right now it seems that my path to horology is a different one. :grb:

Anyway, the BHI sounds like an affordable and feasible way of learning the trade, even if it might be difficult to work as a watchmaker in Germany afterwards due to our silly regulations.... :rolleyes:

Thank you for the insight! :gut:

itworksde

Trainee

Date of registration: May 24th 2007

Posts: 103

Location: Rheinland Pfalz, Deutschland

Occupation: Selbstständig

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5

Sunday, October 14th 2007, 9:30am

RE: Learning to become a watchmaker via Distance Learning

Hi Frank,

You are right about the time commitment, but when some thing is interesting or fun then time just flys by. I may not give up my day job for watchmaking but I am interesting in restoring things like old watches so that makes for a great hobby for now as you can not always buy parts of old watches so having the skills to make or repair parts is very useful.

As for the "silly german rules", well England had those too for a long time, but it does not matter, I believe the trade of watchmaking is no longer a "protected trade" if that is the right way to say it in German since reforms push through by the last Government in 2002(ish). So rightly or wrongly you do not need to be an "Uhrmachermeister" or attend a German watchmaking school to set your self up as a watch maker today in German.

The BHI course is also the same course you study in English watch making schools of which there are only a few now sadly.

Cheers,

Kevin

Date of registration: Feb 20th 2006

Posts: 17,286

Location: Niedersachsen

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6

Sunday, October 14th 2007, 4:22pm

RE: Learning to become a watchmaker via Distance Learning

I´m not quite sure about the regulations in Germany and if setting up your own business calls for a master degree. :grb: Anyway, at least this would be an ambitious hobby which could you a few extra Euros too. :gut:

Quite a tempting thing to do, please keep us informed! :gut:

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7

Sunday, October 14th 2007, 6:16pm

Well, the masters degree isn't necessary any more. And when I see it right, Kevin is looking for much more than a few extra bucks ;)

Date of registration: Feb 20th 2006

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8

Sunday, October 14th 2007, 11:02pm

Ah, that sounds promising! Will we be able to afford him, when he´s done? :grb: :G ;)

itworksde

Trainee

Date of registration: May 24th 2007

Posts: 103

Location: Rheinland Pfalz, Deutschland

Occupation: Selbstständig

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9

Monday, October 15th 2007, 8:40am

Ha!

Well today I work for money in an office, tomorrow... who knows maybe I work for passion (which is of course much cheaper!!!)


Cheers,

Kevin

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