Training for Tomorrow
It's the time of year to investigate ongoing education for watchmakers
Retailers face a challenge in staffing a watch department: finding and
training sales associates is a lengthy process and, even more importantly,
finding a well-trained watchmaker is often difficult to impossible.
The challenge of finding watchmakers surfaced about a half dozen years
ago as fine watch sales started to grow and those who entered the profession
en masse after World War II began to hit retirement age. The dearth of younger
watchmakers and stiff competition from watch service centers which
often have deeper pockets and more connections to hire from overseas made
life difficult for jewelers looking for someone new.
The long-term solution lies in educating the talent already in stores
and encouraging those already attending watchmaking schools. Here are just
a few of the programs offered by well-known educational institutions (we'll
explore others in future issues). This is the time of year to examine the
possibilities and enroll a watch department employee in a full-time or continuing
Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology
This four-semester program starts in May, August and again in January 2000
at Texas Institute, one of the few schools to earn the Watchmakers of Switzerland
Training and Educational Program 3,000-hour certification. Contact the school
at 2400 Clarksville St., Paris, TX 75460; (800) 232-5804. Jerry Waters is
chairman of the school.
American Watchmakers- Clockmakers Institute
AWI offers watchmaking courses as part of Project Extend, a continuing education
program at AWI headquarters in Harrison, OH. Register at least 30 days in
- "ETA Products," April 7-9, taught by Remy Waelchli, $150.
- "Advanced Quartz Watch Repair," April 12-16, Chip Lim, $250.
- "Repair of the Bulova Accutron," April 19-23, Henry Frystak,
- "Phase IV-Wheel Cutting Operations for Watchmakers," May
3-8, Roy Hovey, $480.
- "Shop Management," May 12-14, Fred Burckhardt, $150.
In June, AWI conducts exams for certified electronic technician, certified
master electronic watchmaker, certified watchmaker and certified master
watchmaker. For prerequisites and fees, call Jim Lubic at (513) 367-9800.
See "Timepieces/Repair and Education" in this issue (p. 68) for
details about AWI's Academy of Watchmaking.
National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors
The NAWCC Repair Program offers the following courses at its headquarters
in Columbia, PA:
- "Horological Lathes," Aug. 9-20.
- "Introduction to Watch Repair" (high school graduate equivalency
diploma required), Aug. 30-Sept. 10 and Nov. 8-19.
- "Staffing, Jeweling & Escapements," Sept. 20-Oct. 1 and
- "Hairsprings," April 5-16 and Oct. 25-Nov. 5.
- "Wrist Watches," April 26-May 7.
- "Battery Watches," May 17-28.
- "Making Parts," June 7-18.
- "Repair Problems," July 19-30.
Tuition is $440 per week plus $15 registration. Many courses have prerequisites.
Specialty classes are also scheduled throughout 1999. Watch repair classes
are taught by NAWCC master watchmaker Jim Michaels. Call (717) 684-8261,
North Seattle Community College
NSCC is one of the few WOSTEP-certified watchmaking schools in the U.S.
Classes start in the fall. North Seattle Community College, 9600 College
Way N., Seattle, WA 98103; (206) 527-3757. Steve Priesthoff teaches and
oversees the courses.
by Michael Thompson
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.