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HJ Article of the Month Archive

From the Horological Journal

Each month the BHI post one of the articles from the latest edition of the Horological Journal on the BHI website to give those of you that are not already members a chance to see the high quality peer-reviewed content that has kept the HJ at the forefront of the industry for over 160 years.

Feel free to download and share these articles and if you would like to become a member and recieve the HJ every month you can join here:

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April 2024

Stuart Malin and R.J.Dickens, ‘How Many Days in an Egyptian Year?’

Evidence from the Antikythera Mechanism is evaluated in detail.

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March 2024

Ben Tubbing, ‘A Pendulum with Parametric Excitation’

Ben Tubbing describes a parametrically driven pendulum of an alternative type.

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February 2024

Joseph Cooper, ‘Course Review’

BHI student Joseph Cooper shares his experience of attending two short courses at Upton Hall, ‘Hand and Machine Skills including Workshop Safety’ and ‘Small Lathe and Skills Development’, both with tutor John Reynolds FBHI.

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January 2024

Colin Fergusson MBHI, ‘Making a Dial by Repousse and Chasing’

Silver soldering is a skill that is useful to a clockmaker. But how hard can it be? Colin Fergusson explains his experience learning the skills on a course with silversmith Phil Jordan.

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December 2023

Malcolm Pipes FBHI, ‘The Magic of the Twin Quartz Watch’

This article highlights temperature changes as being the most significant cause of rate error, and discusses a compelling method to almost eliminate such errors using two similar quartz crystals in the same watch.

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November 2023

Martin Foster FBHI, ‘Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2023’

We report on the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2023 including showcasing some of the featured watches and clocks.

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October 2023

Ralph Ehrismann, Mark Levinsohn and David Seyffer, ‘The Tale of the 69’

We shed light on the not-so well-known history of an IWC pocket watch calibre: the manual-wind IWC cal. 69.

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September 2023

Justin Koullapis FBHI, ‘The Omega Spirate System’

The Omega Spirate – HJ Explains how it really works.

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August 2023

Malcolm Pipes FBHI, ‘Observations and Thoughts on Horological Lubricants’

Malcolm Pipes FBHI explores why they work and fail.



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July 2023

Giuseppe Cima, ‘The Tangent Rule in Practice’

Giuseppe details his experimental verification of the centuries old tangent rule

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June 2023

Justin Koullapis FBHI, ‘MHP30 Hotplate Update’

Justin experiments with the MHP30 mini electronics hotplate to test how well different types of watch glass will stand up to heating.

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May 2023

David Poole FBHI, ‘A Helping Hand for Students 60: Adventures with a Unimat 3 – Part 3’

David offers advice for BHI students, exploring alternative techniques for making the assembly required for Unit D2: Constructing Clock Components.

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April 2023

Justin Koullapis FBHI, ‘Derek Pratt Wristwatch Calibre ‘DP 07

The HJ’s Technical Editor, Justin Koullapis FBHI, gives readers an insight into the Derek Pratt wristwatch Calibre ‘DP 07’: a ‘resolved’ Derek Pratt watch that is now finally available.

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March 2023

Colin Fergusson MBHI, ‘Making Your Own Tools 6

The HJ’s Assistant Technical Editor, Colin Fergusson MBHI, explains how to build a rotary controller and a universal pillar tool in part six of his Making Your Own Tools series.

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February 2023

Colin Fergusson MBHI, ‘Making Your Own Tools 5

Colin Fergusson MBHI, the HJ’s Assistant Technical Editor, explains how to make a machine microscope, a clock line clamp and a wheel-cutting machine in the latest in his hugely popular, and highly practical, tool-making series.

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January 2023

Clickspring, ‘Constructing a Wedge-Style Hand Vice – Part 2’

Chris from Clickspring (the popular YouTube channel) further describes how to make a wedge-style hand vice. As with his excellent video quality, the photography and descriptions fully guide the reader step-by-step through the process of making this useful workshop tool.

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December 2022

Clickspring, ‘Constructing a Wedge-Style Hand Vice – Part 1’

Chris from Clickspring (the ever-popular YouTube channel) describes how to make a wedge-style hand vice. This is a two-part series. As with his excellent video quality, the photography and descriptions are exceptional, guiding the reader step-by-step in making a useful workshop tool.

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November 2022

Simon Godman, ‘A New Free-Pendulum Clock

Simon Goodman is inspired by Philip Woodward’s clock, W5, to build his own – entirely mechanical – free-pendulum clock, and here he explains the lengthy process, design considerations and performance.

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October 2022

David Penney HonFBHI, ‘The Padbury Collection of Watchpapers

David Penney HonFBHI turns his attention to this primary source material and some nineteenth century watchmakers…

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September 2022

Robert Ovens MBHI, ‘Course Review’

Giving an insight into one of the many courses run at Upton Hall, Robert Ovens MBHI reviews the Repair, Restoration and Conservation of Antique Clocks Course, run by John Reynolds FBHI.

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August 2022

J Malcolm Wild FBHI, ‘Pivots and Re-Pivoting’

Rebecca Struthers FBHI meets the new hands reviving the age-old craft of watch dial enamelling as she shares the story of British brand anOrdain.

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July 2022

Rebecca Struthers FBHI, ‘Back from the Brink’

Rebecca Struthers FBHI meets the new hands reviving the age-old craft of watch dial enamelling as she shares the story of British brand anOrdain.

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June 2022

Justin Koullapis FBHI, ‘Omega ‘TV Clock”

A ‘TV clock’ used in the broadcasts of Swiss Television in 1960s throws up some interesting questions for Justin Koullapis FBHI.

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May 2022

Martin Rice, ‘Remote Monitoring and Control of a Turret Clock’

An 1826 turret clock is introduced to the Internet of Things as Martin Rice develops a system of remote monitoring.

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April 2022

Jim Arnfield FBHI, ‘Rare Bentley Earth Clocks’

Jim Arnfield FBHI recalls the time he was tasked with bringing a pair of rare pre-patent Bentley Earth Clocks back to life.

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March 2022

Brian Loomes, ‘Finding Mister Pye’

A horologist turns super-sleuth as Brian Loomes tests his detective skills to uncover the secrets of a longcase clock signed in a very strange way.

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February 2022

Justin Koullapis FBHI, ‘The George Daniels Anniversary Watch’

Justin Koullapis FBHI ‘road tests’ the George Daniels Anniversary Watch – the final timepiece by the twentieth century’s greatest watchmaker.

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January 2022

David Read, ‘The History of Vertex’

David Read delves into the history of Vertex watches, which date back to the turn of the 1900s.

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December 2021

Jim Nicholson, ‘Why is it Called Silver Steel?’

You may well have heard of Silver Steel, but why the peculiar length, and why the name ‘silver’ asks Jim Nicholson.

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November 2021

Justin Koullapis FBHI, ‘Barratt Silver Medal Awarded to J. Malcolm Wild’

Justin Koullapis FBHI meets BHI Barrett Silver Medal winner John Malcolm Wild FBHI.

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October 2021

Eduard Farré-Olivé, ‘Roman Strike – Grand Sonnerie’

Seeking a more ‘efficient’ way of telling the time through striking (as in, with as few strikes as possible) Eduard Farré-Olivé followed in the footsteps of makers such as Joseph Knibb and Thomas Tompion, devising a system that relies on Roman numerals rather than the standard 12-hour system.

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September 2021

Richard Fox, ‘From the Auction Room’

This report on turret clocks that have sold recently at auction includes an interview with turret clock expert Chris McKay FBHI.

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August 2021

Michael Glen, ‘A New Type of Watch Mainspring Winder’

Michael Glen explains how he developed a mainspring winder as an alternative to conventional winders.

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July 2021

Eur Ing David Boettcher CEng MIET FBHI, ‘Hallmarking Imported Watches’

David Boettcher FBHI gives an account of the complexities in the history of hallmarking imported watch cases.

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June 2021

Richard Thomas, ‘Living with Longcase Clocks in the Modern Home’

Winding a 30-hour longcase clock can be a challenge if space is limited, or one can lose track of when it is necessary. Here, Richard Thomas describes the design and creation of an automatic winder for such clocks, without altering the movement or the case.

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May 2021

Anthony Randall BSc FBHI, ‘Lucky Chance, Fraud or Deception?’

John Harrison’s timekeeper H4 is a key part of horological history. How much, though, can we rely on the two eighteenth-century ‘proving voyages’ that were held to test it? Anthony Randall FBHI analyses the evidence, including his own clock that incorporates a reconstruction of H4’s mechanism.

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April 2021

Philip Kuchel FBHI, Lindsay Drabsch, Reuben Schoots, ‘Screw Cutting Attachment for a D-bed Watchmaker’s Lathe’

Screw cutting (also called thread cutting) attachments are of great use to horologists, but manufacturers have not provided them for all lathes. Here, Philip Kuchel FBHI, Lindsay Drabsch and Reuben Schoots give an account of how they created one for a D-bed watchmakers’ lathe.

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March 2021

John Wilding MBE FBHI, ‘Forming Holes in Suspension Springs’

John Wilding MBE FBHI was a national horological treasure. He was known for many things, including making horology accessible to people who were new to it. He passed away in February at the age of 96, as the Horological Journal was going to press with what might have been his last article. We are glad to be able to have published it, and have made it our Article of the Month for March. This is partly as a tribute to John himself, and partly because it is an excellent, practical article that will be useful to many horologists.

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February 2021

John Reynolds FBHI with Robert Ovens MBHI, ‘Restoring a Month Going Comtoise’

Comtoise clocks are not generally seen very often by UK clockmakers, and this month going one is rarer than usual. John Robey, a Comtoise enthusiast, gives an account of how he restored it to look and run almost as well as it did when it was first completed over 200 years ago.

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January 2021

John Reynolds FBHI with Robert Ovens MBHI, ‘My Black Forest Clock’

Black Forest clocks: disliked by some for their supposed roughness, but beloved by others for their accuracy. John Robey FBHI is a lover, and here he shares his work on one such clock that has been in his possession for 50 years.

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December 2020

Chris Hooijkaas, ‘Comtoise Clocks’

Sturdy, reliable and easy to work on…Chris Hooijkaas explains his appreciation for Comtoise clocks.

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November 2020

Jake Sutton, ‘The Clock as a Work of Art, Part 4’

Clockmaking is a blend of art and science, as any horologist could tell you. In this article, the latest in a series titled ‘The Clock as Art’, Jake Sutton examines how to make the best use of silver soldering for both precision and beauty.

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October 2020

Martin Foster FBHI, ‘Swiss Fairs Review’

COVID-19 has caused a full sea change in the way the international watch fairs operate. This article by industry expert Martin Foster FBHI is the latest in a series in which he analyses how the fairs are adapting to the pandemic – and presents some of the most intriguing new launches.

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September 2020

John Reynolds FBHI and Nick Brown with Robert Ovens MBHI, ‘Problems with Snails!’

‘When striking problems occur in an eight-day rack-strike longcase clock, the blame is often placed on the snail.’ So says John Reynolds FBHI. In this article he, Nick Brown and Robert Ovens MBHI address problems with snails and how to solve them.

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August 2020

Jim Arnfield FBHI, ‘A Justin Vulliamy Chiming Clock’

When Jim Arnfield FBHI was asked to get a Justin Vulliamy movement back into working order, he knew the job would require skill and innovation. Luckily, he possesses both qualities in great measure, which certainly came in useful when he had to create a new balance. Here is his account of the job.

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July 2020

Eur Ing David Boettcher CEng MIET FBHI, ‘The First Automatic Wristwatch’

Wristwatches may seem like a very modern invention, not fully replacing the pocket watch until quite recently. Their history, though, is in fact longer than many people realise. Here, David Boettcher FBHI explores a Le Roy timepiece from 1890 which could be the first self-winding wristwatch.

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June 2020

Martin Foster FBHI, ‘Baselworld in Turmoil’

The cancellation of Baselworld has dominated the watch media recently. Industry expert Martin Foster gives an analysis of the situation.

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May 2020

Richard Fox, ‘From the Auction Room’

The country may be in lockdown, but auctions are still being held. Richard Fox finds out how.

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April 2020

John Reynolds FBHI with Robert Ovens MBHI, ‘Tavern Clock Troubles’

Tavern clocks are a rare sight for most people, and sadly this means that they are often poorly maintained or repaired. This article gives an account of overcoming the challenges of working on one such clock.

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March 2020

John Moorhouse MBHI, ‘Creating a Bird Automaton’

Automata and their intricate mechanisms are part of horological craft and history. John Moorhouse describes how he created a miniature form watch in the shape of a violin, complete with case, music stand – and two hidden, tweeting birds.

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February 2020

Robert Horan MBHI, ‘Service and Repair of a Minute-Repeating Chronograph’

When Robert Horan was asked to repair pocket watch whose repeat didn’t work, he found that the repeat work was located in the opposite position to how one would normally find it. Here he gives his account of how he mended this complex watch.

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January 2020

Justin Koullapis FBHI, ‘Behind the Scenes at Nomos’

2020 marks the 30th anniversary of independent watchmaking company Nomos, based in Glashütte in Germany. HJ Technical Editor Justin Koullapis got to meet its staff and see its watchmaking processes up close when he went to visit the factory.

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