The voice of British Horology

Member login Contact us

Short courses

An overview

The BHI offers members of the Institute a comprehensive portfolio of short courses designed to start or develop your skills. At the bottom of this page you will find an overview of these courses.

There is more information in our prospectus, which you can download here, while on the Upcoming Short Courses page of this website you can find out what courses have been scheduled.

Please note that the BHI reserves the right to change course details such as date, time and place or, if there is insufficient take up, to cancel a course up to six weeks before the planned course date.

Prices

Prices vary, depending on the nature and length of the course. You will find price details for each course below together with other details on that course.

If you book your place on a course, we ask you for a provisional booking fee. This is returned to you if we cancel a course. If you cancel your booking, the fee is non-refundable.

If you have booked provisionally and the course goes ahead as planned, we will confirm your place six weeks in advance of the course date and ask you for full payment (minus the provisional booking fee), which is due then.

All courses take place at Upton Hall. For the duration of a course, we can also offer you B&B accommodation in the Hall. The prices of the courses that you find below indicate the cost and number of nights at Upton Hall.

BHI membership

Our short courses are only available to members of the Institute. You can join the BHI when you book a place on a course by phone, or you can register as a member here.

Contact us

If you have any specific questions about membership and the contents, costs, dates and times of these courses, or if you would like to make a booking, please contact Zanna Perry, +44 (0)1636 817603 or email zanna@bhi.co.uk.

Book your course place now

Basic hand skills
Ross Alcock MBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course lays a sound foundation for all other short courses, distance learning and our examinations.

This course is for people who want to start making clocks and watches and repair them. It is also useful for people who are thinking about a career in horology and for students of the distance learning course.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn the practical skills that underpin everything you do in a clock or watch workshop, including filing, stoning and heat treatment. You look at and practise how to set up, use and maintain a hacksaw, files and stones.

The work is demonstrated, but you also carry out tasks, using standard hand tools.

Cost: £300 including B&B for 1 night (£260 without B&B)

Antique clocks 1
John Reynolds FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This five-day course is for people who want to start repairing antique clocks. It is ideal for people who collect and want to service, maintain or restore these clocks or who wish to learn how to do so as part of the distance learning course.

You do not have to be a professional and you do not need qualifications.

You learn about the movement, design and layout of antique clocks. You look at methods of repair, restoration and conservation. This includes the use of tools and equipment, making missing parts, and how to dismantle, assemble and clean antique clocks.

For this course you can bring your own antique clock to work on. This should be a simple clock such as a 30-hour long case or a single train. Some clocks are unsuitable for this course, including carriage, chiming and musical clocks. Alternatively, if you want us to provide the clock, please let us know in advance.

Please note that it may be impossible to complete a full repair or restoration. You may have to pay for parts that you get from material suppliers during the course.

You can bring a notebook and camera to record your progress and the stages of a specific repair.

Cost: £810 including B&B for 4 nights (£650 without B&B)

Antique clocks 2
John Reynolds FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This five-day course is for people who have done Antique Clocks 1 or have some experience in repairing antique clocks.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn about more complicated antique clocks, and get an in-depth knowledge of mechanisms and their restoration.

You look at the replacement of worn parts and the production of missing parts. This includes taking decisions on replacement, producing parts without faking or disguising their newness, and looking after clocks when they are in service.

For this course you can bring your own antique clock to work on. This could be a clock like a lantern, 8-day or 30-day long case or fusee movement, both striking and chiming. Alternatively, if you want us to provide the clock, please let us know in advance.

Please note that it may be impossible to complete a full repair or restoration. You may have to pay for parts that you get from material suppliers during the course.

You can bring a notebook and camera to record your progress and the stages of a specific repair.

Cost: £810 including B&B for 4 nights (£650 without B&B)

Basic clocks 1
Bob Egan FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This five-day course is for people who want to start repairing or making clocks. It is also useful for professionals who want to learn the theory of repairing clocks.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn the theoretical basics and practical skills. You look at how clocks work, how to use hand and machine tools, and how apply the right techniques to dismantle a clock, inspect it and carry out basic repairs such as pivot polishing and bushing.

You will also be able to understand and set up a variety of clock escapements and striking work. And you learn to choose and use the correct lubrication.

You can bring your own clock to work on. This includes a Smiths type striking mantel, an 8-day striking wall, an 8-day or a 30-hour long case, or an English dial clock. Some clocks are unsuitable for this course, including French, carriage, chiming and musical clocks. Alternatively, if you want us to provide you with the clock, please let us know in advance.

Please note that it may be impossible to complete a full repair or restoration. You may have to pay for parts that you get from material suppliers during the course.

You can bring a notebook and camera to record your progress and the stages of a specific repair.

Cost: £810 including B&B for 4 nights (£650 without B&B)

Basic clocks 2
John Reynolds FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This five-day course is for people who have done Basic Clocks 1 or have some experience in repairing clocks.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn about the design and layout of more complicated clocks, and how to find faults and locate parts that are not working properly. You look at methods of cleaning and lubrication, examination and repair, assembly, and how to get the correct timing of striking and chiming parts.

Repairs are demonstrated, but you also carry some out. This includes replacement of broken teeth in wheels and barrels, polishing and replacing pivots, and remounting a wheel.

After this course you will know about complicated clocks such as French and quarter chiming clocks as well as late nineteenth century and early twentieth century weight-driven Vienna regulators. For this course you can bring such a clock to work on. If you want us to provide you with a clock, please let us know in advance.

Please note that it may be impossible to complete a full repair or restoration. You may have to pay for parts that you get from material suppliers during the course.

You can bring a notebook and camera to record your progress and the stages of a specific repair.

Cost: £810 including B&B for 4 nights (£650 without B&B)

Basic mechanical watch
John Murphy FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This five-day course is for people who want to start repairing and servicing watches. It is also useful for students of the distance learning course.

You learn the basics of repairing and servicing mechanical watches. You look at various hand tools, and removal and fitting of cases, dial and hands.

This is followed by cleaning and lubrication. You then check the escapement, barrels, mainsprings, train and motion work, friction work, cannon pinion, balance springs, curb pin and dynamic poising. You also look at the use of timing machines and amplitude meter, timekeeping and testing, and record keeping.

All tools and equipment are provided.

Cost: £860 including B&B for 4 nights (£700 without B&B)

Basic quartz watches
Mervyn Selley FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This three-day course is for people who want to start repairing quartz watches. It is also useful for students of the distance learning course.

You do not need qualifications.

You gain product knowledge of quartz watches with analogue displays, functions and theory, and practical benchwork.

You learn about typical tools used for quartz watches, which are all supplied by the BHI, different types of cases and how these watches work.

You look at different power sources, including voltage, primary cells, their capacity, silver oxide and lithium cells, and where to fit low and high drain cells. You also get practical experience in testing procedures for analogue movements and replacing working parts such as hands, dials, crowns and stems.

Cost: £500 including B&B for 2 nights (£420 without B&B)

Chronographs
John Murphy FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This five-day course is for professional watchmakers who want to develop their skills.

You need to have completed both the Basic Watch (Mechanical) and the Service and Repair of Day/Date/Automatic Watches courses.

You learn how to service chronograph watches.

You look at different types of chronographs, removal of cases, dial and hands, and disassembly of chrono, date and auto work. This is followed by disassembly of balance and escapement, after which you identify faults, remove the mainspring, check the gear train, make minor adjustments to chrono work and clean it.

Then comes lubrication of mainspring and assembly of gear train. You look at friction springs, chrono runner, minute counter and hour counter. After that you assemble the gear train, and adjust the balance spring and chrono, date and auto work. Finally you test the mechanism, fit and case it up.

You can bring your own tools, eyeglasses, tweezers and white coat, or we can provide this equipment.

Cost: £860 including B&B for 4 nights (£700 without B&B)

Cylinder escapements
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want to repair clocks and watches that have a cylinder escapement.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn about the operation, adjustment and maintenance of cylinder escapements. You also look at repair methods for such an escapement.

For this purpose you can bring a watch or clock with a defective cylinder escapement. If you want us to provide you with a watch or clock to work on, please let us know in advance.

Please note that it may be impossible to complete a full repair. You may have to pay for parts that you get from material suppliers during the course.

You can bring a notebook and camera to record your progress and the stages of a specific repair.

Cost: £320 including B&B for 1 night (£280 without B&B)

Engineers’ small lathe, drilling and milling machines
John Reynolds FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want to start making and repairing their own clocks. It is also useful for students of the distance learning course.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn to use the small engineers’ lathe and drilling machine. You look at what type of lathe you need, its speed and feed, how to set it up for turning, select and sharpen the necessary tool bits, sharpen drills and drill accurate holes in the proper place.

You get a variety of exercises. You can also get help if you have a specific machining problem.

For this course you can bring a lathe or sharpening tools, alternatively this equipment is available in our workshop.

Cost: £300 including B&B for 1 night (£260 without B&B)

Examination practice: Unit D3
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This three-day course helps you prepare for sitting the examination unit D3: Servicing and Correcting Faults in a Single Train Clock.

You need to have undertaken some practical clock servicing and be familiar with processes such as bushing and refinishing clock pivots.

You will learn the fundamental skills and knowledge you need to enter the examination with confidence.

There is particular emphasis on the servicing of the platform escapement – the cleaning, lubrication and adjustment for beat and rate.

You need to bring your own tweezers, screwdrivers and eyeglass, and be familiar with their use. The BHI provides you with a carriage clock movement to work on.

Cost: £470 including B&B for 2 nights (£390 without B&B)

Examination practice: Unit D4
John Murphy FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course helps you prepare for sitting the examination unit D4: Servicing and Correcting Faults in a Quartz Watch.

This course complements, but does not replace the teaching offered in the course Basic Quartz Watches.

You will practise the skills you need to enter the examination with confidence. This includes: analysing faults using test equipment; dismantling and cleaning; correcting faults; reassembling and lubricating; and water resistance testing.

For a small charge, the BHI provides you with an uncased watch movement to work on and keep.

Cost: £500 including B&B for 2 nights (£420 without B&B) plus the cost of the uncased watch movement

Making parts for collectors' watches
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want to make parts for watches when no replacement parts are available. It is also useful for collectors interested in traditional skills and students of the distance learning course.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn how to produce hand-made watch parts. You look at methods of making these parts. You also get advice on machines, tools, techniques and materials, for example, how to blend a new part with a fine old movement. Methods for graining, frosting, plating, snailing and polishing are covered.

For this course you can bring your own or another watch that needs hand-made parts and your own tools and equipment. If you want us to provide you with a watch to work on, please let us know in advance.

Please note that it may be impossible to complete a full repair or restoration. You may have to pay for materials that you use during the course.

You can bring a notebook and camera to record your progress and the stages of a specific repair.

Cost: £320 including B&B for 1 night (£280 without B&B)

Making photo-etched dials
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want to make their own clock or watch dials.

You do not need qualifications. Some experience of CAD drawing will be useful, but if you do not have this experience, you will benefit from alternative drawing methods that will be discussed.

You learn how to design and make photo-etched dials. This starts with the theory and practice of photo-etching, followed by a demonstration of different ways of dial-making by photo-etching. It involves designing, drawing, producing the transparency, preparing the dial blank, etching, filling and silvering the dial. After the demonstration, you can practise part of this process in the workshop.

This course will give you a good understanding of methods that can be used to make high quality dials in a small workshop. You will be able to make a considered choice when it comes to using photo-etching in future projects and adapt the demonstrated method for different uses and applications.

Cost: £300 including B&B for 1 night (£260 without B&B)

Pocket and marine chronometers
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want  to start working on chronometers.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn about the handling and maintenance of pocket and marine chronometers. You look at the history of chronometers. You practise how to dismantle and service them, and methods to make new parts.

For this course you can bring a chronometer. If you want us to provide you with a chronometer to work on, please let us know in advance.

Cost: £320 including B&B for 1 night (£280 without B&B)

Polishing, bluing and silvering
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want to clean and restore clocks and watches.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn about polishing, bluing and silvering techniques to achieve various standards in commonly used finishes of brass and steel. You practise these methods after their demonstration.

You look at the preparation of steel, heat treatment before polishing, materials, abrasive papers, lapping, film and diamond abrasives, underhand screw head device wigwag swing tools.

Then it is on to brass. You look at sharp cutting tools and materials to produce polished and grained surface finishes on flat components maintaining sharp edges, burnishing and lacquering.

After that you learn about silvering, components, conservation and removing old silvering, removal of old wax filling and its replacement, traditional wax filling and modern epoxy resin as fillers, surface finishing, and other materials.

Finally, you do practical exercises in silvering techniques and lacquering the finished product.

Cost: £320 including B&B for 1 night (£280 without B&B)

Replacing damaged pivots in clocks and watches
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want to replace damaged pivots.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn how to replace a damaged or broken pivot in a clock or watch. You look at different methods of replacing pivots, drilling the arbor, making steel pivot drills and modifying tungsten carbide drills, and fitting the new pivot.

You get demonstrations and do practical exercises.

For this course you can bring a timepiece with a broken pivot. If you want us to provide you with a timepiece to work on, please let us know in advance.

Cost: £320 including B&B for 1 night (£280 without B&B)

Service and repair of day/date/automatic watches
John Murphy FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This five-day course is for professional watchmakers who want to develop their skills for servicing automatic watches. It is also useful if you want to improve your skills for mechanical watches.

You need to have basic watchmaking skills and you should have attended the Basic Mechanical Watch course.

You learn how to service mechanical and automatic day date watches.

You look at the use and care of tools, removal of cases, dial and hands, and disassembly of automatic and date work.

This is followed by disassembly of balance and escapement, checking gear train, escapements and balance, identifying faults with automatic watches, and removal of mainspring.

After that you work on lubrication and fitting of mainspring, re-assembly, checking of gear train, centre seconds, friction springs and tension, lubrication of gear train and escapement, shock proof setting, and checking of friction of cannon pinion.

Then come balance spring adjustment, curb pin error, and the use of timing machines. Finally, you review lubrication and assembly of the date mechanism, fitting of dial and hands, re-casing and final testing.

This course also prepares you for the Chronographs course.

Cost: £860 including B&B for 4 nights (£700 without B&B)

Turret clocks
Chris McKay FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This five-day course is for people interested in turret clocks. For example, professional clockmakers who want to repair these clocks, collectors and church advisors.

For this course you need to have a general knowledge of clocks and repair techniques, plus the ability to use common machine tools, pillar drill and lathe.

You learn how to do basic work on turret clocks and assess the need for advanced work. You inspect a turret clock and diagnose faults. You look at dismantling, cleaning, basic repairing and reassembling.

You practise dismantling and re-assembling, bushing a bearing in different frame types, making a suspension spring, putting on a new line, using cleaning solvents and abrasive techniques, letting down a weight, dismantling and re-assembling hands and motion work and dial restoration with gold leaf.

You can bring photos of turret clocks for discussion and small movements or parts.

Cost: £810 including B&B for 4 nights (£650 without B&B)

Using the jacot tool
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people want to use the jacot tool for burnishing pivots.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn how to set up the jacot tool. You look at burnishing angle and conical pivots. This is followed by exercises to refine your technique.

For this course you have to bring eight or ten angle pivots and eight or ten conical pivots. They should be made from 1 mm or 1.50 mm diameter blue steel with a pivot turned on each end.

You make an angle pivot by reducing the diameter with a clean sharp shoulder to form a pivot of between 8 and 20 hundredths of a millimetre diameter and no longer than six times the diameter.

You produce a conical pivot by the same method, followed by turning away the sharp shoulder in a curve to bring a smooth transition from parallel pivot to outside diameter of the stock.

If you are unsure, have a look at a pivot from a watch train wheel or a watch balance wheel. Alternatively, you can bring a selection of redundant train and balance wheels.

Cost: £320 including B&B for 1 night (£280 without B&B)

Vintage and collectors’ watches
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want to repair watches that previously may have been thought to be beyond repair.

You do not need qualifications.

This course has no formal structure. You spend your time on solving one or more problems of repairing a specific watch with the help of the tutor.

You can bring a watch that needs work or improvement of its condition. You can also bring your own tools and equipment. If you want us to provide you equipment and a watch to work on, please let us know in advance.

Please note that it may be impossible to complete a full repair or restoration. You may have to pay for materials that you use during the course.

You can bring a notebook and camera to record your progress and the stages of a specific repair.

Cost: £320 including B&B for 1 night (£280 without B&B)

Watch and clock escapements
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want to fill the gaps in their knowledge on escapements, including the verge, cylinder, duplex, lever, chronometer, anchor, dead beat, gravity and grasshopper escapements.

You do not need qualifications. When you book your place, you will be able to indicate on what specific aspects of escapements you would like to learn more, and this indication is used to tailor the information you receive during the course.

This course will give you a good understanding of the correct action for commonly used escapements and provide you with information on some that are less common. Making new parts and adjusting the escapement to get a good action is covered in detail. The use of cleaning machines and manual methods of cleaning are also discussed and where possible, you can practise cleaning in the workshop.

For this course you need to bring your own basic tool kit, particularly a loupe or other suitable magnification tool. You also have to bring your own watch or clock to use during the course and for advice on how to solve problems.

Cost: £320 including B&B for 1 night (£280 without B&B)

Watchmakers' Lathe
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This two-day course is for people who want to learn to use a watchmakers’ lathe.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn how to set up, use and maintain a lathe. You look at the skills and knowledge needed to use brass and steel to manufacture components and techniques to turn metal.

You practise positioning your lathe on a bench or stand, and stripping, cleaning and preparing it for use. You also use the hand graver and machine tools, with holding methods for components such as collets and wax and dog chucks.

If you wish, you can bring your own watchmakers’ lathe.

Cost: £320 including B&B for 1 night (£280 without B&B)

Wheel and pinion cutting
Jim Arnfield FBHI

More information →

Less information ←

This three-day course is for people who want to make gear wheels and pinions for clocks. It includes making fly cutters.

You do not need qualifications.

You learn to calculate a gear train, define different tooth forms and work out the dimensions needed to depth a wheel and pinion for a clock. You look at making a wheel and pinion with a cutting engine, dividing head, lathe, milling machine and depthing tool.

You can bring a clock that needs a wheel or pinion making, and a notebook, drawing pencils, drawing compass, and protractor.

Cost: £470 including B&B for 2 nights (£390 without B&B)


How to make, repair, restore and service clocks, watches and other timepieces

We have a new education and training prospectus.

Find out more information