Mike H. from New Jersey, USA asks:
I am an avid watch enthusiast with a great job that affords me a lot of time off each month. I am looking to work in a watch store and learn how to repair and sell time pieces. what is the best to break into the watch world and become a respected watch repairer/broker/etc.? And thank you for the survey it has lead to me several more excellent watch sites just like yours, keep up the good work.
There are a lot of ways to "break in to" the watch industry, but it sounds like what you want to do is actually work on watches. This is admirable and can be rewarding work for the right people. Watchmaking is a skilled profession and requires a dedication education. Though there are a lot of self-trained autodidactic watch makers out there. Having said that, if you were a watch store or a watch repair facility who would you want to hire? Someone who went to watch making school or someone who told you that they taught themselves?
In Switzerland basic watch making school is a four year program typically starting right after or during high school. Though there are people who enter the watch making profession later. Sadly, there are only a few watch making school in the United States. Probably the most popular one is Litiz in Pennsylvania. Another very popular one, especially today is the Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School in Miami. I've heard that sometimes brands like Rolex and the Swatch Group will pay for your education if you work for them for a while after school. But I don't know the current details of the program. A good source for more resources and advice about US watch making schools is the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors.
So while you can certainly strive to become a US trained watch maker, it is a process involving a serious eduction. Sure there may be some watch makers who are willing to accept you as an apprentice, but that no doubt would be a purely situational occurrence and nothing to rely on. Watch repair is a big business and there are major hubs in Texas, Ohio, Florida, and other places. To be seriously considered as a full or part-time hire it is advisable to have the right education. The good news is that good watch makers ARE in demand.
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