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Code of practice

You can be confident

The people you find on our professional register have satisfied the BHI’s stringent requirements for accredited membership, so you can be confident about their skills and experience.

All these members have agreed to abide by the BHI’s Code of Practice (see below). While our members have agreed to abide by the BHI’s Code of Practice, the BHI is unable to intervene in disputes that may occur between repairers and clients, and recommend that wherever possible such issues are resolved amicably and avoid legal recourse if at all possible.

BHI Code Of Practice

This code applies to the repair, restoration and conservation of clocks, watches and other horological items. All members of the Institute, qualified and unqualified, are bound by this code.

This, the latest issue of the Code, was published by the BHI Board of Directors in January 2009. It supersedes all previous versions.


Issue a receipt for any item taken in, either for assessment or repair. Note on this receipt and in your records the condition of any item before accepting it for work, and point out to your customer any obvious defects or faults.


If the item will need to be dismantled before you can indicate your price, obtain and record your customer’s consent, and explain any charge that this may incur.

If extra work becomes necessary, obtain and record the customer’s consent, before starting the additional work, for the extent, additional cost and any delay involved.


You are encouraged to photograph all items as you receive them, both to show the state of the item before work was begun and to help in case of disputed identification.

Written quotations

Provide your customer with a written price as soon as possible for all work, except for very minor or while-you-wait tasks, and indicate how long the work is likely to take. Make sure that your customer understands whether you have given a quotation (i.e. a firm and fixed price) or an estimate (i.e. an indicative price +/- 15%), and record your
customer’s acceptance. State whether any applicable taxes are included.


Take good care of your customer’s property. Identify each item clearly, including pendulums, weights and other loose parts, using a job card, tag or similar.

Record keeping

Keep records, with dates, of the work you carry out, parts fitted, customer’s instructions and authorisations, and any test results.


Submit a detailed invoice, and include relevant test results. It is good practice to return to the customer any broken or replaced parts.


Consider the need to insure yourself against risk, especially public liability and, where appropriate, employer’s liability. If your insurance does not cover objects left for repair you must inform your customer, and obtain and record acknowledgement of this.

Professional standards

Always work to a professional and responsible standard.

Conservation and restoration principles

Respect the original character and property of all artefacts, especially those of historic, rarity or quality value, and advise the customer accordingly. If your customer requests work that, in your opinion, will unduly jeopardise this character, refuse the work politely but firmly and explain to your customer your reasons for doing so.

Professional competence

Never undertake work beyond your level of competence. If you need to send a job, or part of a job, out of your workshop obtain and record your customer’s consent before doing so.

High value watches

When repairing modern high-class watches, fit only genuine and exact replacement parts whenever possible. If you are unable to do this, obtain and record your customer’s approval before proceeding, and note the non-genuine components in your invoice.

Membership of the Institute

Do not use letters of qualification to which you are not entitled.

The Institute’s Articles of Association forbid the mention of the Institute in any commercial connection by members who do not belong to one of the professional grades.

Do not bring the Institute into disrepute. Conduct yourself with courtesy and consideration towards all customers.

Health & Safety and other statutory duties

Observe the public interest in matters of Health and Safety.

Observe all laws and regulations within the country in which you operate your business.


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