If you enjoy figuring out how things work or taking them apart and rebuilding them, a career as a watchmaker might work for you. Watchmakers are skilled technicians who are highly respected in the industry. Their responsibilities may include hand-building fine mechanical watches, as well as repairing new or old watches that no longer function properly.

As with other areas of the jewelry business, technology has impacted watchmaking. The rise of smartwatches and wearable technology has disrupted the traditional watch industry, which has pushed watchmakers and manufacturers to keep innovating and evolving.

On the Job

Many watchmakers work as independent contractors, repairing watches for many retailers or watch companies. Others specialize in restoring antique watches for dealers and collectors. If you have always wanted to have your own business, watchmaking is a trade that is in demand nationwide and one where challenging work can bring rewards.

As a trade, watchmaking requires both formal training and a period of apprenticeship. There are various watch-making institutions that will pay for your education and training in return for your service as an employee for a designated time. This may be an option financially should you seek further training in this field. Many watchmakers report that finding the time to pursue continuing education can be difficult. Their status as respected professionals and the pride in their workmanship is a great satisfaction, while their ability to make treasured family timepieces run again ensures them a place in their customers’ hearts.

Watchmaking apprenticeships are the traditional route into horology. When you learn alongside a trained professional, you benefit from one-to-one advice. You also tend to have more opportunities to practice the practical side of watchmaking.

Growing in the Industry

After establishing themselves as professionals, many watchmakers open their own businesses with a mix of retail and trade clients. Other career paths include managing service centers for watch companies or going into wholesale watch sales or teaching. Rather than overtaking the traditional watch industry, the rise of smartwatches has led to greater innovation, with some watchmakers creating hybrid watches and solidifying the link between watchmaking and technology.

This group of professionals share an artistic sensibility, enjoy careful detailed work, and show a skill for fabrication.

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