Professional Development Diploma in Horology 2008 - 2010

Tjeerd Bakker

Horological Conservator

What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement I can split in two:

Professionally I would say that being awarded the position of Senior Horological Conservator in the Royal Household is my biggest achievement.

In terms of project I would like to say that the conservation of the oldest existing pendulum clock in the world by Salomon Coster in the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave collection is potentially the greatest honour.

Talk us through your career path since graduating.

After graduating, I was given the position of Assistant Conservator at the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in Leiden in the Netherlands. After a few years there I was granted the position of Conservator. Meanwhile I started my own company in the conservation and sale of clocks on a part-time basis. I finished the operations of this company in 2014.

In 2014 I started a new career when I was given the post of Horological Conservator in the Royal Household in the UK. Caring for the clocks as part of a team of three horologists in total. In 2019 I was promoted to Senior Horological Conservator, and I still hold this post.

What projects are you currently working on?

Currently I am working on potentially one of the best projects in my entire career. A clock by Abraham Louis Breguet, of which there are only two existing in the world. Otherwise I am currently also working with our building surveyors on the conservation and restoration of a Turret clock in one of our Royal residences. Even though the project is contracted out to another company, I am still engaged with the supervision and advise the surveyors on which actions to take.

Do you have any tips for recent graduates?

The world after West Dean College can be tough - there are always thing that you come across that you have not encountered before. My advice to recent graduates, but also students will be: Please do not be afraid of asking questions. There will always be someone who will answer a question for you or wants to help you out. Trust me we have all been there before.

How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now?

I was fortunate to have had a horological education prior to starting my study at West Dean College. This allowed me to really focus on the restoration and conservation aspect.

What's your favourite memory from your time at the College?

I have so many memories. It is the friendships you create, the atmosphere of the school as well as its estate, one of the best memories was that we were all snowed in. There was no heating and all students more or less congregated in the Oak Hall around the fire. Students playing board games, studying, playing the grand piano or just enjoying something to drink and a good chat.

Did you receive any form of funding to study at West Dean?

Yes West dean funded a portion of my tuition fees in both years.

Did you have a different career before coming to West Dean? If so why did you change career paths?

I was trained Horologist before studying at West Dean, and my study there was focused on becoming an even better one.

  • Fellow of the British Horological Institute(BHI) 2017 (FBHI)
  • Professional accreditation with the Institute of Conservation (ICON) in 2021(ACR).
  • Instagram: tjeerdbakker1

Find out more about studying clocks on the website here.