‘Brilliant.’ ‘Fantastic.’ ‘A pleasure.’ That’s what some of our newest students had to say when they were the first to go on our new Build Your Own Watch course.
Of course, watch and clockmaking are fine, technical and complex crafts which take a lifetime to master. Still, under the excellent tutelage of John Murphy FBHI, it’s now possible for students to make their own manual wind watches with an ETA 6498-1 genuine Swiss movement, to take home with them.
None of these first three participants had prior watchmaking experience. Hugh Mitchell came closest, having done a bit of taking watches apart, but he had not actually created one. Now that he has, though, he’s inspired to do the BHI Basic Mechanical Watch Course as well. ‘It was brilliant, a really good course,’ he said. ‘It’s good to see something that you have made yourself.’
Fellow student Thierry Fivaz is a collector of old pocket watches, but likes wristwatches as more wearable. ‘The feeling of walking off with your very own watch that you made is fantastic,’ he said. ‘I learned an awful lot; John was very precise and clear in his instructions.’
Meanwhile, Rahul Patel was awed to discover the sheer level of care required in watchmaking, and fascinated by the history and theory elements of the two-day course. ‘I have a much deeper appreciation of how watches work now and I do think I will do other courses,’ he said. ‘It was just a great weekend.’
It wasn’t just the students who were impressed though. Tutor John himself declared the students ‘brilliant’, adding, ‘I think they were most surprised by the fact that they could do it. The course opened up a whole new world to them.’
Indeed it did, and the Build Your Own Watch course is continuing in 2020 with the next one scheduled for March. Alongside it, of course, are the various BHI short courses on subjects such as clock and watch servicing and repair and use of various tools. The Taster Days remain a popular and affordable beginners’ introduction to clocks and watches which have inspired numerous participants to go on further courses to discover more about horology.
Christmas and the upcoming New Year are annual reminders of the passing of time. At the BHI, we’re proud to have spent more than 160 years teaching people the art, science and craft of keeping it.
Rachel Reeves, Editor, The Horological Journal