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British Horological Institute 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.

  1. Give your customer a receipt for any item you take in, whether for assessment or repair. Note on this receipt and in your records the condition of the item before accepting it for work, drawing your customer’s attention to any obvious defects or aspects that concern you. Consider photographing all items as you receive them as part of your normal practice. If the item will require dismantling before you can indicate your price, obtain and record the customer’s consent for this, and for any charge this may incur.
  2. Provide your customer with a written price for all work as soon as possible after receiving it, except very minor or “while-you-wait” tasks, and an indication of how long the work is likely to take. Make sure your customer knows whether you have provided a quotation (ie firm and fixed price) or an estimate (ie indicative price ±15%), and record your customer’s acceptance of your price. State whether any applicable taxes are included. If extra work becomes necessary, obtain and record the customer’s consent for the extent, cost and delay of the extra work.
  3. Take care of your customer’s property: identify it using a job card, tag or similar, and keep records of the work you carry out: parts fitted, test records, customer instructions or authorisations etc, with dates. Keep appropriate customer records. Submit a detailed invoice to your customer, and include relevant test results.
  4. Consider he need to insure yourself against risk: especially public liability and employer’s liability where appropriate, and objects left for repair. If your insurance does not cover objects left for repair, obtain and record your customer’s acknowledgement that insurance of the clock or watch is his/her responsibility.
  5. Always work to a professional and responsible standard.
  6. Consider the original character and property of artefacts 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, advising the customer of your reasons for doing so.
  7. Never undertake work beyond your level of competence. If you send a job or part of a job to a specialist, advise the customer in advance and note this in your records.
  8. When repairing modern high-quality watches, fit only genuine and exact replacement parts whenever possible. If you can’t do this, obtain and record the customer’s approval before proceeding, and record the non-genuine components on your invoice.
  9. Do not use letters of qualification to which you are not entitled. If you are unsure, check your entitlement with the Membership Team at the Institute’s Headquarters.
  10. Conduct yourself with courtesy and consideration towards all customers and do not bring the Institute into disrepute.
  11. Observe the public interest in matters of Health and Safety.
  12. Observe all laws and regulations within the country in which you operate your business.

If your customer is dissatisfied for any reason, first try to resolve the issue politely and objectively. If you are a UK based MBHI, FBHI, LBHI, GradBHI or Trade Associate, and your customer is still dissatisfied with your response, advise that the BHI’s conciliation service is available, and offer contact details.