What Makes an Exceptional Watchmaking Course?

There’s an old expression that says, “… all roads lead to Rome”, translated it simply means there are many paths that lead to the same destination.  If you’ve already decided on your career choice of becoming a swiss watch technician, your next choice is how to arrive at your destination.

In generations past (and still in rare circumstances) the path to becoming a watch maker was passed from father to son, or through an apprenticeship that lasted many years.  While the details may have changed, the spirit of this noble profession remains the same; you’ll want to look for a watch making school with an excellent reputation, devoted faculty and a tuition that is within your budget.

REPUTATION:

There are established and reputable watch making school in most areas of the world; a cursory look shows…

  • USA (multiple major cities nationwide)
  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • UK
  • Denmark
  • Australia
  • Canada

The location shouldn’t affect the quality of education, there are skilled watchmakers’ worldwide, and you’ll likely want to choose a location suitable for your lifestyle and beneficial to your future.  It’s always wise to check with friends, family and associates who may have either taken a particular course or know someone who has.  Checking online you’ll begin to find which schools have a stellar reputation.

FACULTY:

Another expression (but not necessarily true) is this… “… Those that CAN do those who CAN’T teach”.  While that may be accurate in some areas, in the field of watchmaking it certainly is not; you’ll want to find faculty members who have three main qualities.

  • A love for the craft
  • An extensive background in the field
  • The ability to pass on their knowledge

When you find a teacher who loves horology, someone that finds satisfaction in the complex workings of an intricate timepiece, you’ve found the first piece of the puzzle.  When this person has the capacity to combine that love with the skill of a good teacher, you’ve found the person you’ll want to learn from.  Finding that person is sometimes difficult so take the time to ensure you have a connection between faculty and student prior to your enrollment.

BUDGET:

Budgetary concerns affect most of us no matter our career choice.  Obtaining a quality education is not an inexpensive quest.  Different schools will of course have different costs, some requiring the student only pay for tools and living expenses, while others are very much like a university with tuition and financial aid.

FACT:  No matter your choice based on the above, you’ll want to find a school that is AWCI certified (specifically CW21) and teaches the WOSTEP curriculum.

THE APPLICANT:

A career as a watchmaker is not for the faint of heart, be prepared to fully commit to the program.  You’ll spend your days working and learning and your nights preparing for the next day.  To be a successful student of the craft you’ll need patience; the desire to learn, an analytical mind, keen eyesight, good hand-to-eye coordination and the self-motivation it takes to set your mind to a task, then stick with it till it’s done.

Becoming a certified watchmaker is an excellent career choice, but not one usually chosen to become wealthy.  You’ll find starting salaries (depending on location) in the $40 to $50K range, with upper end skilled technicians commanding $100k.

Take the time to make an informed decision, then set your sights on the goal.  The clock is ticking at the School of Horology!

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