Training for the New Century
Be sure your staff can handle new technologies and the
increased service opportunities of fine watches
Newer technologies provide sales opportunities as well as
potential service nightmares with timepieces. To avert the nightmares,
make sure your staff or your service center are knowledgeable
enough to answer consumers' questions about servicing.
Just this past year, leaps in battery-free quartz technology
made training imperative. Examples include everything from breakthroughs
in Seiko's Kinetic Auto-Relay to widespread use of ETA's Autoquartz,
from light-powered to heat-powered watches. You can expect to
see more of these timepieces in the next few years as their recommended
service times near.
At the minimum, you and your staff should be trained to identify
problems with any of these watches and follow up with efficient
repair. The result: happy customers and invaluable word-of-mouth
Demand Outpaces Training
Watch service and sales training programs needed to meet these
challenges still lag far behind demand as they have for
a decade but the outlook is brightening. Schools
are adding and enhancing watchmaking courses, and watch companies
are slowly increasing their technical outreach to retailers.
You also need to make the commitment and financial investment.
If you send employees for training, you have to pay tuition.
And if you hire someone new, be prepared to pay a higher salary
for skilled watchmakers since demand outstrips supply. But the
same technical expertise that will cost you more is solid justification
for charging more for repairs and servicing.
If you want to send an employee for training or get referrals
of recent graduates, you have a growing number of schools and
other education programs to contact. The American Watchmakers
- Clockmakers Institute, Harrison, OH, and St. Paul Junior College,
St. Paul, MN, are launching an advanced 3,000-hour curriculum
created by the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education
Program this year. Other WOSTEP-certified schools in the U.S.
are Paris Junior College, Paris, TX; North Seattle Community
College, Seattle, WA; and Oklahoma State University, Okmulgee,
You also can check the following schools and associations
for training programs. All are associated with universities or
are part of the Research and Education Council of AWI.
- Bishop State Community College, Mobile, AL; (334) 479-7476.
- Ellisville Jones County Junior College, Ellisville, MS; (601)
- Gem City College School of Horology, Quincy, IL; (217) 222-0391.
- Hiram G. Andrews Center, Horology Department, Johnstown,
PA; (814) 255-8371.
- Kilgore College, Kilgore, TX; (903) 984-8531, ext. 220.
- St. Paul Technical College, St. Paul, MN; (612) 221-1408.
- Winter Park Tech Clock & Watch Repair School, Winter
Park, FL; (407) 647-2900, ext. 2293.
In addition, you can check:
- Florida Jewelry & Watch Academy, Boca Raton, FL; (800)
- National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, Columbia,
PA; (717) 684-8261, www.nawcc.org.
by Michael Thompson
|Retailers and watch companies agree they must
work more closely with schools to train students. Above, Angela
Kunze, a 1999 AWI Academy graduate, performs classwork. She and
all her classmates received multiple job offers.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.