I've been looking for the past little while for a career change. Recently talking with family, the topic of watch makers and "horology" came up. I've begun doing a bit of research and it looks like something I would probably really enjoy. I spent a decade as a 3D modeller making video games and I think that I've got the aptitude and interest to make and repair time pieces. (as far back as I can remember I've always been fascinated by everything "miniature") From what I've learned so far, there is an enormous shortage of skilled watch repair people and people who can hand build parts which are no longer available. So much so that the accredited courses throughout the world tend to be 100% funded by manufacturers and the work is almost guaranteed when you graduate.
I know many BGG'ers tend to be thinkers and tinkerers so it was only natural that I assume that there has to be at least a couple watch makers lurking around here!
If you are a watch maker, I would love to pick your brain.
I don't know about anyone else, but I carry a pocketwatch. It's both a matter of personal taste and a luddite streak in me. Not a battery one either, I've got a very nice Charles Hubert windup hunter style watch.
I informally interned in high school in the mid 70s with a watchmaker. It was fascinating, but it takes a loooooooong time to learn. I ended up deciding to go to college instead, because I thought I might get a full salary job after college, but still be an apprentice at watchmaking after those four years.
My only advice is to check how long it takes to qualify for work after the courses you are thinking about and what certification they provide. When I was doing it it was a 5-6 year apprenticeship to get the certificate. I bet that's changed now.
At that time quartz and digital watches were curiosities. Nowadays, real watches are the curiosities. Demand for and supply of watchmakers is different now, so it's possible they've sped up the training process.
I hope you go for it. All this time later, I kind of wish I had taken the chance.
What kind of market is there for watches these days? No one in my family wears a watch.
Best of luck
I've got a few mechanical and automatic watches. I don't wear a watch daily but will often wear one when I'm going to be in situations where it's rude to pull out your phone to check the time. I find a watch helpful during boardgaming as well since I lose track of time easily.
I'm reminded though that it is just as much a production to haul my pocketwatch out by the chain, flip open the lid, check the time and then put it back in my pocket. But it looks cooler than consulting my phone.
In so far with my initial research, it seems that the programs in North America tend to be 2 years in length. I think there are European programs that are longer but it does depend on what you're trying to learn. I seem to be hitting a bit of a wall also. Looks like the training programs in Canada are either shut down or struggling to stay open. I only know of one program still available in Canada which is in Montreal and run completely in French which, I do not speak. At this point I am trying to find some watch makers who would be willing to discuss how they got into the business and what kind of training they underwent. The 2 year programs give you professional "WOSTEP" certification which is the standard set by the Swiss Institute of Watch Making. I know it would take years longer to really become a skilled watch maker. Like any career, you don't begin truly learning until you're working.