Interested in Watch Making?

6307 Views 20 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Wolfdog

Great photo diary of a student trying to catch up to speed in the world of a Watch making. Still several months away from working on Movement assembly too!

North Seattle Community College

Spanning the disciplines of high technology and European craftsmanship, students at North Seattle Community College’s Watch Technology Institute are learning a trade that is in demand around the world. With certification from the Watchmakers of Switzerland Technical Education Program (WOSTEP), graduates can expect to find employment quickly.

That’s because half of the country’s 5,000 to 6,000 trained U.S. watchmakers are expected to retire in the next 10 to 20 years. Yet, North America’s watch training schools only graduate about 80 people annually, according to Jewelers' Circular Keystone (JCK,) the jewelry industry's leading trade publication.

Nine students will take a major step toward earning WOSTEP certification and a good job the week of August 17 as they take an 18 ½-hour final examination administered by a WOSTEP official from Switzerland. The two and a half-day examination tests the students as they overhaul a quartz analog watch, an automatic watch, a chronograph watch and the theory of horology.

NSCC's Watch Technology Institute is one of only three WOSTEP-accredited training programs in this country and the only one west of the Mississippi. The American Watch Association identifies the NSCC Institute as among the country’s top watchmaking schools. The college’s program incorporates 3,000 hours of training over a period of two years. Students can also earn an associate of arts degree by participating in the program. The program begins each fall.

“Success in the examination garners the WOSTEP certification, a jewel in the crown of any aspiring craftsman,” said instructor Elaine Rolf, a former co-manager of the repair division for Ben Bridge chain of jewelry stores.

She adds, “But achieving the jewel does require hard work. This program is rigorous and has high standards. We expect our students to spend at least 40 hours a week in their studies and require potential students to take an entrance exam consisting of a series of tests and an interview. These tests ensure that students can meet the rigorous requirements that are required in the field of watch repair such as eye-hand coordination, steady hands, depth perception, memorizing parts and their position/order.

North Seattle has been a WOSTEP Partnership school since 1994 and enjoys other partnerships with Ben Bridge Jewelers and Rolex, from whom it received a $1 million grant in 2000 to continue to grow and to offer cutting-edge instruction.

“Our responsibility towards the young people of today and tomorrow is to enable them to master a profession, to enjoy it and to be able to offer well appreciated services through their knowledge and skills. North Seattle Community College is helping us meet the needs of the Swiss Watch Industry,” WOSTEP Director Antoine Simonin said.

WOSTEP,an independant and neutral institution located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, is recognized as an exemplary training center in the field of watchmaking and an essential link in the chain of success that Swiss horological products enjoy on international markets. This unique institution is financed by its members, which includes leading Swiss watch brands, watchmaking organizations, other associated sectors and retailers in Switzerland and around the world.

WOSTEP provides services for the Swiss watch industry and its representatives around the world. It has been coordinating the Partnership with watchmaking worldwide since 1992.

The aim of this program is to improve and standardize training internationally within the field of watchmaking. The Partnership offers its services in English, French and German. Students who pass the final examinations in a WOSTEP-approved school are awarded the WOSTEP certificate, which is recognized throughout the world as a superior qualification in watchmaking.

Currently, there are 14 WOSTEP Partnership watchmaking schools in six different countries: USA, China, Japan, Sweden, France and Germany. There are three Partnership schools in the United States, of which NSCC is one. More information on the North Seattle Watchmaking Technology Institute is available by calling Rolf at (206) 526-0169. 7/07/03
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I’d love to be younger too and go back to watch making school, and become fully accredited. For now I just go by what I’ve learned over the years, since the age of 12 and by what I read and learn from others in the profession. I tutored under a Master Watchmaker/Master Jeweler/Stone Cutter at the age of 15 for about a year, until he moved out of state and I lost contact with him. I’ve known for years it was just a matter of time [no pun] until people tired of the goofy looks of some less expensive watches and wanted to get back to the real deal well crafted mechanicals. I’d love to have the tools and the skills to design and make my own Tourbillon, for example, if only to say I could. There’s an interesting video here of a Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyro Tourbillon, called the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 that just mesmerizes me when I watch it.

I find it funny that I've read where the Chinese that make watches only wear Swiss, German, American or Russian watches themselves. They are making auto movements and the quality isn't that bad, such as the Seagull movements, although still somewhat hit or miss in quality control. I had one with a TY-2807 movement that kept great time, but sent it back due to the chrome plating on the movement flaking off inside the dial. There was a defective part that was bent or cracked during assembly that I could easily see due to the skeletonized dial and back. Some companies that market watches with these movements try stating a MSRP of in the thousands or $4,495 MSRP for the one I’d sent back and paid an actual $100 for, when the movements themselves only cost about $25 U.S to obtain.
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Thanks, Scott. I guess it is a real blessing to have these skills. That's very kind of you to say.

I just wish it didn't come with the curse of poor finacial management when it comes to making money. So I guess I try making up for that loss of ability by teaching and sharing my knowledge with others, hoping that it will come back in some grand karmic way for me.
"Frankenwatches", got me ROFLMAO now.
Mr Wolf, funny that you mentioned about seagull, i am thinking of getting one of their tourbillon just for keeping sake and you seem to have a great deal at 100USD. You purchase online?. You happen to heard of the company called tourbillion watch or something before(they are base in europe)? I seem their watch in person and believe they supply tourbillion movement to establish swiss watch maker.
I've seen the Sturhling Tourbillons that "may" have Seagull movements but not sure where the movements are made for those, sold by a guy I know of in Brooklyn, N.Y., but haven't seen any company that calls themselves Tourbillon. Now you’ve gotten me curious; I’ll have to look into that. Actually there are Armitron skeletons [pretty nice looking too] with the Seagull TY-2807 auto-wind movements available at discount retailers for under @ $100, and I won’t say where herein since they don’t sponsor this forum. I can send you a PM and show you, if you haven’t seen them and are interested. I did get mine from one of those market places online. I think it was just my dumb luck to have gotten one that didn't meet my QC and somehow got through theirs. With millions of the Seagull movements being produced I guess it's easy for a few to get past QC at any company.
...Thanks for your input.Cheers
A pleasure, really, any time. You got a chance to look at that J-L video I'd Linked to, I take it? Man, only a few being made and I never could find the asking price to be put on the reserve list. Not that I could afford it, but I was curious what the reserve price was at. That Gyro is plain... no words... just incredible. Talk about a Grand Complication!
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