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  1. The BHI is delighted to welcome 17-year-old Lewis Walduck as one of our newest members and Distance Learning Course students. Based in Oxfordshire, Lewis is taking an apprenticeship with the Clock Work Shop in Winchester (the firm, which also has a Dorset branch, is hiring) but has been a horologist in the making for most of his young life already. In fact, his first words were 'tick tock'. He says: 'I've always been interested in clocks. My grandparents didn’t have many clocks, but they did have a couple of spring-driven ones and I was fascinated. They gave me an old pocket watch when I was about seven or eight and I opened up the back and that was it. I was so interested in the mechanics and it was all I wanted to do. I did overwind and break the watch when I got it. I just kept tinkering with it and broke the spring.' Since then, Lewis has also developed an interest in technical drawing and buying and selling, after his father took over an antiques fair when Lewis was about 12. Horology, however, has always been his drive. ‘After I did my GCSEs, I left school as soon as I could to study horology and take my apprenticeship,’ Lewis said. ‘It was in the pipeline for two years beforehand. I always came to Dorset for holidays and I met Simon Allen, owner of the Clock Work Shop. He said I could spend a day in the workshop and then offered me an apprenticeship. It is such a great place to learn. They do everything properly.’ Lewis was thrilled, but there was just one problem: how to do the 70-mile commute every day. A train would have been four hours each way and £60 a day. ‘I had to pass my driving test within a two-week window between lockdowns,’ he recalled. ‘If I hadn’t, it would have been six months until I could try again. Oh, and on the day of the test, the windscreen wiper of my car broke and I had to rush it to the garage. The gods must have been smiling down on me, because it got fixed just in time and I passed!’ So now Lewis is free to pursue his passion. ‘My focus is on clocks, as we do at Clock Work Shop,’ he said. ‘I prefer clocks. They’re rarer. I love their history and the idea that they can be 300 hundred years old and still functional and fixable, and made not only to work but also to be beautiful. I don’t think I have the patience for watches, they can be so complicated, but I do like the older ones with all the engraving. ‘I’ve gained hand and tool skills at Clock Work Shop, but before that, nobody ever showed me anything. I did have a little workshop in my room and my dad converted a built-in wardrobe into a little bench, but that’s all. Until I started at the workshop, and now the BHI, I was entirely self-taught through books and internet videos. ‘I have friends who are still at school and don’t know what they want to do. I’m lucky that I’ve always known I wanted to do this.’
  2. You don't have to sit the professional exams. Many of our members take the courses purely for their own enjoyment. Have a look!
  3. Yes, they are fully searchable including the adverts.
  4. Hello Jet, thanks for being in contact, and sorry for the delay in responding. Yes, all HJ issues to 2017 are available to members on the digital archives and we can provide PDFs or paper issues (if available) for a small fee to non-members. Send an email to rachel@bhi.co.uk with details of the issue you're looking for and we will help you out - but yes, membership would give you full and free access to the archives.
  5. If you're looking for an opportunity in watch or clockmaking, be sure to keep an eye on our Current Vacancies page. Currently, the Clock Work Shop and the Clock Workshop (don't get confused!) are looking for experienced and apprentice clockmakers. Watchmaking vacancies come up as well.
  6. From the first Watch Taster Day of 2021!
  7. The vaccine rollout is going well and things are starting to reopen. We are delighted to be restarting our short, on-site courses at Upton Hall from19 May, both clock and watch training. They're filling up rapidly and there will be repeat courses later in the year. You can find out more information here and please feel free to contact Zanna Perry at the BHI if you have any questions on 01636 817603, or zanna@bhi.co.uk. We hope to see you there!
  8. So, you might have seen a few news stories lately about the Antikythera mechanism. If you're not familiar with it, it's a 2000-year-old hand-operated device from ancient Greece that is often described as the world's first analogue computer. It was used by the ancient Greeks as a calendar and to predict astronomical events such as eclipses and planetary positions - and even calculate when the Olympic Games should be held. Fascinating stuff, indeed! A team at UCL recently put together a recreation of the complex gearing on the front panel (see here) . This was very interesting and especially to the BHI, because we recently published a paper by other Antikythera experts. They have also studied the device. It has long been accepted that the front dial calendar ring shows a 365-day Egyptian civil calendar, but this team makes the case that it is more likely to be a 354-day lunar one. You can see a video about their work here on the YouTube channel Clickspring. You can also see a blog post by Chris Budiselic, owner of Clickspring and one of the paper authors, here., and if you're interested in reading the paper in full, you'll find it here. If you're interested in how watches work, the Antikythera mechanism is bound to fascinate you.
  9. Indeed! When there is any news, we will announce on our website, in the Horological Journal, and on here.
  10. Please feel free to contact us here or directly if you have any questions. There isn't any deadline for completing the distance learning course so you can take it at any pace.
  11. An Introduction to the British Horological Institute Hello, Watch Forum users. Since you’re on this website, there is a chance you may have heard of us, the British Horological Institute (BHI). If you haven’t, however, allow us to introduce ourselves. We have been training clock and watch makers since 1858. We run distance learning courses, which have received unprecedented demand in the last year during lockdown, and in normal times we also run on-site practical courses at our headquarters, the magnificent Upton Hall in Newark, Nottinghamshire. These courses last anything from one to five days; we have accommodation and a café on site, so we are pleased to host students who wish to stay at the Hall. In addition, we produce the monthly Horological Journal, the longest continually-published technical journal in the world. It was first published in September 1858 and we haven’t missed a month since then. Furthermore, Upton Hall is the home of the Museum of Timekeeping, whose exhibits include many significant vintage watches, the original Speaking Clocks and even a Watch Gallery which is currently being completely redeveloped. The pandemic put a halt to the work, but when it restarts and is completed, the gallery will host a completely new display of various exhibits. These include beautiful vintage watches and interactive pieces such as the movable ship’s wheel against a digital display to demonstrate the working of marine chronometers. So what can we do for you? A lot, we hope. If you’re interested in learning about clock or watchmaking at home, we can start you on a distance learning course. You can begin at any time and take as long as you need; there are no deadlines for completion. If you wish, you can take professional examinations to gain official BHI accreditation that will stand you in good stead. There is no obligation, however, and you can take the course purely for your own enjoyment if you like. It is looking increasingly likely that we will be in a position to recommence on-site courses at Upton Hall by early summer (keep an eye on our website) If you’re brand new to horology and how clocks and watches work, you could try one of our Taster Days, or you could do one of the longer courses if they interest you. As a member of the BHI (associate membership is open to all), you’ll also get a subscription to the Horological Journal and learn more about watches with each issue. Any questions, thoughts? You can let us know here, or you can contact us at Upton. We’ll be delighted to hear from you.
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