So You Would Like to Be a Watchmaker?


Watchmaking is a blend of art and precision. Turning this interest into a profession can be rewarding for those passionate about watches. If you’re thinking about becoming a watchmaker, picking the right school is where it all begins. Let’s explore how to make that choice.

Here are the things you must consider when choosing the right watchmaking school.

  • Reputation: Research schools that are known for their watchmaking courses. A school’s reputation can be a good indicator of the quality of education you’ll receive.
  • Curriculum: Ensure that the school covers both theoretical and hands-on practical training. A comprehensive curriculum should include everything from basic watch repair to intricate mechanical complications. Not all watchmaking schools are the same.
  • Facilities: Modern equipment and facilities are essential. A school with up-to-date tools and machinery ensures you learn current techniques and use industry-standard tools. 
  • Affiliations: Some watchmaking schools are linked with big watch brands. This can give students special training and job chances later. It’s like having an early head start on work opportunities.
  • Duration & Schedule: Consider the length of the course and whether it fits into your schedule. Some programs might be more intensive and shorter, while others could be part-time over a more extended period.
  • Location: Think about whether you’re willing to relocate. While some countries like Switzerland and Germany have a rich watchmaking history, others like Japan, the USA, and the UK also offer excellent programs.
  • Cost: Tuition and other associated costs can vary widely between schools. Ensure you factor in living expenses if you’re considering studying abroad.
  • Visit If Possible: If feasible, visit the schools you’re considering. This lets you get a feel for the environment, meet instructors, and chat with current students.

Before you delve into the details, do you know how much a watchmaker can earn?

The earning potential of a watchmaker is influenced by various factors, including their geographical location, experience level, the prestige of their employer, specializations, and educational background. On average, in many regions, watchmakers can expect to earn between $40,000 to $70,000 annually, though this range can fluctuate based on the variables mentioned earlier.

According to one of the Reddit Users, certified Rolex Watchmakers starting pay is around $50,000

How much watchmaker makes

Comparing Watchmaker Training Programs

Typically, there are two distinct watchmaker programs. The Customer Service Watchmaker program emphasizes servicing modern watches using spare parts, with a brief seven-week introduction to micro-mechanics involving wood and brass. On the other hand, the Watchmaker program provides a more comprehensive approach. It delves into creating tools and components from carbon steel, ensuring a deeper understanding of materials and heat treatments. This latter program offers thorough training, covering topics like balance staff replacement, escapement adjustments, and more.

Watchmaking Schools in Switzerland

  • WOSTEP (Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program)
    • Established in 1966 in Neuchâtel, WOSTEP began as a 1-year course tailored for North American watchmakers. Today, students attending WOSTEP can expect a tuition fee of $38,752 per year. This fee, although excluding accommodation, encompasses a variety of essentials: administrative support, a toolkit, horology theory books, specialized courses on specific products, and access to vital resources like tools, machines, and spare parts. Additionally, an upfront guarantee of $10,348.80 is required by the State of Neuchâtel to cater for living expenses. The school’s curriculum places a strong emphasis on hands-on practice, preparing students to master both modern Swiss mechanical and electronic watches. Alongside practical training, there’s a consistent integration of watchmaking theory.
    • The school offers two primary training pathways. The first is an on-campus route that includes courses in micromechanics and watchmaking, leading to three certifications: CFC micromechanic (4 years), CFC production watchmaker (3 years), and CFC watchmaker specializing in refinishing (4 years). Alternatively, students can opt for the dual training pathway. This approach aligns with the same areas of study as the on-campus route but is facilitated through specific partnered companies.
  • École d’Horlogerie de Genève
    • Established in 1824, the Geneva Watchmaking School stands as a testament to the rich Swiss horological heritage, with its mission rooted in imparting the fine art of watchmaking to its students. Learners are presented with two primary training avenues at this esteemed public institution. The on-campus route offers full-time courses in micromechanics and watchmaking, culminating in three distinct certifications: a 4-year CFC micromechanic, a 3-year CFC production watchmaker, and another 4-year program for a CFC watchmaker specializing in refinishing. Alternatively, students can also choose a dual training approach, where specific partnered companies offer similar training programs in sync with the school’s curriculum.
  • École Technique de la Vallée de Joux
    • Located at Rue G.-H. Piguet, 41 in 1347 Le Sentier, the Technical School of the Joux Valley places students at the epicenter of watchmaking tradition. The school’s central positioning offers a unique vantage point into the intricate world of horology.
    • Graduates from the school are primed for many career opportunities in the watchmaking industry, with roles in after-sales services being particularly coveted locally and globally. The comprehensive training comes with an investment, with tuition at $16,576 annually over four years.

Watchmaking schools in Germany

Watchmaking schools in United States

  • Lititz Watch Technicum (LWT)
    • Located in the heart of Pennsylvania, LWT provides an impeccable foundation. They’re on the lookout for individuals who are mechanically inclined and gifted in problem-solving and communication. Begin by submitting an application on their website. If you catch their attention, a phone interview awaits, possibly followed by hands-on testing at their campus.
    • The LWT program is demanding yet rewarding. Spanning an intensive two years from September to mid-August, students dive into over 3,600 hours of detailed instruction. And the best part? It’s tuition-free. Remember to budget for a personal tool kit, roughly around $7,000. Keep in mind housing and meals are on the student’s dime.
  • Nicholas G. Hayek Watchmaking School
    • Situated in Miami, the Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School is nestled within their active Customer Service center, offering students a unique, hands-on learning experience. This immersive environment is perfect for those aiming for a rewarding career in watchmaking, either in the U.S. or internationally.
    • The school’s main offering is the tuition-free ‘Customer Service Watchmaker’ program, following the WOSTEP 1800-hour curriculum. While students will need to invest around $3,000 for tools and handle their own housing, there’s a helpful monthly stipend available. However, only U.S. citizens or legal residents are eligible to enroll.
  • North Seattle College’s Watch Technology Institute
  • Gem City College School of Horology (Quincy, Illinois)
    • Gem City College School of Horology, located at 700 STATE ST, QUINCY, IL 62301, was founded in 1870 by D.L. Musselman as an institute of penmanship and bookkeeping. It’s renowned for its tradition of excellence. We train students in distinct areas, setting them on a path to becoming recognized craftsmen in watchmaking, clock and jewelry repair, engraving, and diamond-setting. The craft, ideal for those passionate about precise handwork, offers vast creative opportunities. With a flexible system, new students can start every Monday, progressing at their own pace with personalized instruction. The college environment mirrors the professional world, emphasizing discipline, appearance, and consistent attendance for optimal learning.
  • Lititz Watch Technicum (Lititz, Pennsylvania)
  • Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School (Miami, Florida)
  • North American Institute of Swiss Watchmaking (Dallas, Texas)
  • North Seattle College Watch Technology Institute (Seattle, Washington)
  • Patek Philippe Horology Program of New York (New York, New York)
  • Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology (Paris, Texas)
  • Veterans Watchmaker Initiative (Odessa, Delaware)
  • York Time Institute (York, Pennsylvania)

Watchmaking school in United Kingdom

Watchmaking school in France

Watchmaking school in Australia

  • Sydney TAFE (Look for watchmaking or horology courses under their program offerings)

Watchmaking school in Finland

Watchmaking school in Hong Kong

Watchmaking schools in Japan

Watchmaking schools in South Korea

Watchmaking school in South Africa


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