The art of watch making is fast becoming an extinct trade. With many of the watch gracing the windows of shops being mass produced, this once highly thought of skill is fast becoming a thing of the past.
The Rise of Time:
Traditionally, watch makers used to have to train for at least 7 years under an apprenticeship. It was then that they were allowed to join a Guild, for example, the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers – all before they could even sell their first piece.
With the rise of mass produced time pieces, many of the skilled artisans were reduced to mere repairs men. From the highs of creating and building pieces by hand expertly, to the lows of repairing mass produced, soulless items, the turnaround has been severe for watch makers.
The Return of the Artisan Watch Maker:
Lately, however, demand has increased for the skills of watch makers. Customers have begun to tire of the same old boring watches available in stores or in catalogues, and want something unique, something that stands alone and is eye catching. It’s once again time for watch makers to again put their skills to the test, to fabricate and create truly one off masterpieces, and blending modern techniques, with skills of the past, the time couldn’t be better.
A Labor of Love:
Modern techniques have made the job of the watch maker easier, and less time consuming. Having the more intricate inner parts created via laser micro machining rule out the margin of error, ensuring that each piece will work as intended. Parts can now be created almost perfectly, down to microns, which is of all importance, given the stringent demands involved in creating expert time pieces. Having this potential headache taken care of enables the artist to focus further on the fabrication of their truly original piece.
Interested in Becoming a Watch Maker:
For those interested in becoming a watch maker, what steps do you need to take to reach this goal? This is not something you often see listed as a University or college course! There are specialist schools that can teach you the skills required to become a watch maker. Schools like the British School of Watch Making in England offer students the chance to train as a watch maker over several different courses, covering every aspect imaginable when it comes to this art form.
It takes at least 3200 hours of dedicated training to become a watch maker, so the dedication required is massive. Undertaking a training course of this magnitude would see you attending full time, Monday – Friday for at least 2 years. Attending one of these courses is not cheap either, with course fees running into the thousands. However, you may find that sponsorship is available, and it could be worthwhile to discuss this with the course provider of your choice prior to commencing on your course.
Places on these courses are usually few and far between, so it is worthwhile to get your application in early.