Draft Training Course

IHCF Training programme

Below you will find the layout of a proposed course in clock repair. The six sections or topics are not listed in any special order. It is intended as a discussion document.


History of Clocks

A full understanding of the development of clocks from the late thirteenth century. Time consciousness and the measurement of time. The 12 / 60 counting system etc.


Pendulum and other isochronous oscillating systems

The physical laws, construction of pendulums, temperature compensation. Balance wheels. accuracy and inaccuracy in pendulums.

Theory and practice of escapements

Construction, efficiency and the effects of wear,

Theory and practice of gearing and wheel-work

Cycloidal and involute gearing, efficiency of gearing, effects of improper meshing. Wheel and pinion cutting; materials, treatments, tempering etc.

Lathe work

How to work safely and achieve precision in small metal turning lathes.

Tools and equipment

The use and care of clock-maker’s tools.

Familiarisation with clock movements

Single, two and three train movements; strike-work, repeat-work, bells and gongs,



The construction of clock cases from wood, metals and stone. Polishes, and varnishes, painted cases, gilding.


Health and safety in the workshop, Safety Statements and precautions.

Record keeping, Codes of practice, application of the principles of conservation and restoration.


Recording and reporting transactions, preparation of accounts, obligations to make annual returns.


Excel or similar spreadsheet

AutoCAD or similar vector drawing software

WordPress; the best chance that a sole trader will have of controlling his or her own web-site

Adobe Photoshop for preparation of record photographs and web-site uploads.

11 comments on “Draft Training Course
  1. Geoff1 says:

    I love this idea and course outline.where and when would it happen? How long would it be?

  2. Brian Giblin says:

    Terrific initiative, comprehensive in scope and relative subject matter. Sign me up !

  3. brianciaran says:

    Sounds like a great learning opportunity to me

  4. sabo says:

    I would love to do this, I’m 36 and I am looking for a career change. Have always been interested in clocks and watches. I want a career in horology. I live in dublin and I’m looking for a course in horology I can take that will help me move into this field. Is there anywhere I can do this? The Swiss institute is now closed. Is there any industry standard need to gain entry?

  5. dlyons327 says:

    Is there any update on this proposed course? I would love to do some course in horology.

    • ihcf admin says:

      Welcome to the Irish Horological Craft Forum.
      You asked about the training programme: Lesson 2 of the first Module was sent out yesterday to the dozen or so members who registered to join the scheme.
      In a course of several weekly lessons that use the internet, a basic alarm clock is dismantled, cleaned, repaired and re-assembled. The reason for choosing an alarm clock is simply that it contains the type of escapement found in watches so that students might choose either the clock or watch direction for any future course.
      Best wishes
      Nigel Barnes (Secretary)

      • Bort says:

        Hi Nigel,

        I am also interested in this course, how do I apply for it?

        • ihcf admin says:

          Hello Bort,
          The first (somewhat experimental) course has just completed but based on the very positive reaction we will be running that one (Basic alarm clock overhaul) again this year and there will also be another couple of courses, basic pendulum clock overhaul and hopefully, basic pocket watch overhaul.

  6. PAT KEATING says:

    Hello Nigel,

    I’m very interested in this course too and in the basic pendulum clock overhaul course. Do you know when the courses are likely to run?



  7. MrAnderson says:

    Hello all. I find the idea of the proposed course very appealing. I was accepted into the Irish Swiss institute back in 1995, but opted for a different course elsewhere. It’s a decision I have come to regret and have am very keen to study in the field. Looking forward to further developments.

  8. Wcock says:

    Hello Nigel.
    Looking forward to the Alarm Clock Course starting the 16th of June 2017.Kind regards John

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