Getting Into Watchmaking: A How-To Guide
People have developed many different hobbies over the course of being locked down during the worldwide pandemic. For several watch enthusiasts, “tumbling down the rabbit hole” of horology (both the study & measurement of time and the art of Watchmaking & timepieces) has been quite the experience during those extended periods of isolation.
We mean that a significant number of people have been getting deeper and deeper into watch culture and have ended up becoming totally enamored with the inner workings of their watches and timepieces.
One result of such a deep dive into watches and timepieces is wanting to create watches and timepieces, which can be an incredibly fun yet very challenging endeavor. If watchmaking interests you, you’re going to want to commit to a journey where time is literally going to be of the essence! Follow the brief guide below to help you along your would-be watchmaker’s journey.
A Guide To Getting Into Watchmaking
- Intimately Knowing Watches & Timepieces
- Learn from home.
Before anything else, your watchmaking or horology knowledge should be grown and cultivated, and you can do all this at home. First, choose a watch that you won’t mind getting damaged. Or consider ordering old watches or timepieces online. Then, try to disassemble and assemble their parts again. Doing so will further ingrain in you the knowledge of a watch or timepiece’s anatomy and movement (inner workings). Additionally, take notes or draw diagrams to refer to once you’ve reassembled everything. Remember, having an expansive and practical knowledge of how watches and timepieces work will help you down the road to becoming a bonafide horologist or watchmaker.
- Invest in good watchmaking tools.
This doesn’t need to be spelled out. Watch parts are some of the tiniest mechanical parts known to man and are very sensitive. So handling them with care and with the right quality of tools should be your utmost priority at all times. And take note: nicer watches, nicer tools. You can find such tools on sites like Watch & Style.
- Keep track of new trends and technology.
For example, smartwatches are growing in popularity. Although traditional watches are still a huge part of the market, consider researching the basic technique and technology behind smartwatches. It’s always important to keep abreast of any new developments in whatever field of study you choose.
- Considering Apprenticeship
- Look for apprenticeship opportunities.
Local watchmakers or horologists may be few and far between but try looking for them in your local area. If you find one or two, ask them if they can take in an apprentice. If you can’t find any in your locality, it’s best to travel and look elsewhere. You can also search the Internet for horology apprenticeships and watch company-sponsored apprenticeships.
- Make the most of your time as an apprentice.
Meeting a watchmaker or “watchmaster” in person is essential to show how deep your passion for watchmaking or horology runs. Make a good impression! It’ll help with recommendations. You may feel initial resistance and trepidation as some watchmakers can oppose the idea of taking on an apprentice. However, kindness, respect, and understanding should always be the norm in your interactions. Watch parts are sensitive, and “watchmasters” can be too. Ask them how you can help around. Grow and cultivate your knowledge by working closely with your watchmaster. If you feel you’ve taken all that you can from being an apprentice, you could be ready to move on. Consider furthering your knowledge by enrolling in watchmaking school or asking your watchmaster if you could become a regular employee.
- Enrolling In Watchmaking School
- Good working knowledge of horology before enrolling is essential.
There are only so many watchmaking schools in the world. To get into one of them, you have to stand out. Reading many watchmaking books as you can to immerse yourself in the subject may not be enough. Going on an apprenticeship before watchmaking school is better. Do note that watchmaking is learned by doing. Hands-on experience is essential. The more experience you have, the more you’ll stand out. Watchmaking school exams will generally test your knowledge of watch or timepiece anatomy and basic watchmaking skills.
- Dedicate yourself to your studies (and connection-making).
Watchmaking schools hold full-time intensive skills courses for 30-40 hours a week. So go to school ready and eager to learn. Dedication and perseverance will get you to make the most out of the course. Ace all your exams! Also, in watchmaking school, you can make many contacts within the industry.
Moreover, keep your eyes and ears alert for any opportunities at the big watchmaking companies. Then, send in your application once they have openings. Your watchmaking applications will look much more appealing the more effort you put into your would-be watchmaker’s journey.
William Ross is often described as a jack of all trades. He loves to explore new things and cultivate his knowledge everywhere he goes. These days, he spends most of his free time writing about watches and watch accessories, as he is a collector himself.
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