Becoming a Watchmaker, update one.

Dear Diary,

Well, the school that is closest to me, in the same state, daily commute-able even (which is incredibly fortunate in the world of watchmaker education), is closing.

Tragic. It doesn’t make sense to me, as the school had, from what I understand, funding from Rolex, and other Swiss brands. I was told that they even sponsored tuition, you just needed to figure out how to live for 2 years and buy a $5k tool kit. If the industry is hurting so bad for watchmakers and service technicians, why are the closing one of the very very few educational centers, one that is supposed to have made people into the best in the world? They have not responded to further inquiries. Guess I no longer have to fret about making the cut at the entrance exams.

So, I have decided to continue to learn by doing. I have purchased some pocket watch movements to more easily practice on (tiny Japanese moments are a bit challenging at times) more tools and supplies to fill in gaps in my kit, and have been taking notes listening to watchmaker videos, and I plan to take Alex’s “Watch Repair Tutorials” course, which my family is splitting cost of for my birthday coming up, as well as sourcing some literature. I’m confident I will be able to pass the CW21 with enough practice and diligence over the coming years.

My wife found me an affordable copy of Horology by JE Haswell, and I have been keeping an eye out for Theory of Horology, which is used as a textbook for the Horology schools.

I will be building out a schedule once I enroll in the course to make sure I have designated time for it, and in the meantime have been disassembling and studying a spare seiko movement, reassembling and practicing wheel placement. Next up is learning to properly clean on a budget and work on oiling skills.

So the path I have imagined seems to be closed, but this gives me the opportunity to learn at my own pace while still making a stable living with health insurance and all that. Not the hard cut from the auto industry I wanted, but this will work too.

Once I get my supplies, I will try to make a post showcasing what I got, where and how much, since I am finding it challenging to to find that info for myself. I will also explain the tools I already have. I am trying to do this as cost-effective as possible, as I bet many in my position are trying to do.

One thing I have not mentioned, that I don’t think I’ve ever seen brought up in talks about perusing watchmaking and repair is that I have carpal and cubical tunnel syndromes from over use and abuse at work I’m assuming. I have gone thru therapy and all that, but nothing has resolved it. I have an evaluation tomorrow to see what my path forward to relieve my suffering is. This is something that has been a problem for over a decade, effecting many aspects of my life.

I am able to work on movements and all, but it really requires paying attention to position and stretching frequently. I’ll also include updates on this process as well in the future. I’m afraid to even talk about it because I feel like it makes me doubt myself that I can even do this, but even as it is now I can work through and around it. Just hoping the doctor can help make it a non-issue.

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This is quite the journey that you are embarking on. I wish you the very best of luck!

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Marshall at Wristwatch Revival on youtube highly recommends watching Mark Lovick at Watch Repair Channel and has taken his courses on watchfix.com. I'm just starting out, and planning to check out these courses. Marshall also has tool kits and recommendations at sutcliffehansen.com. Good luck!

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The school closing is disheartening for sure. But the persistent cannot be deterred!

The field is crowded, but maybe start a YT channel with a Patreon account and people that want to see you succeed can donate to your hands on education?

Just a thought, and I understand why some may not want to do that.

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That a good idea, I would need a way to film however. A scope with camera runs just under a grand from what I gather

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Alex Hamilton class is very good. I'm taking it now. The other online classes that are not very expensive are Mark Lovick's at watchfix.com. Marshal from Wrist Watch Revival Youtube channel highly recommends him. The other one is by Cristian Lass, who used to be a restorer for Patek Phillippe museum. He is now an independent high-end watchmaker. You can find him at learnwatchmaking.com.

Good luck.

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Sorry to hear about this, but good luck with your pursuit as a watchmaker. On a side note, looks like we are in the same local area, I'm in Allentown.

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GotTheTime

That a good idea, I would need a way to film however. A scope with camera runs just under a grand from what I gather

I just got a setup that Alex Hamilton from Watch Repair Tutorials recommended. It was about $600.

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you are on a journey. follow the end goal despite the immediate view. if you want to serve as an independent watchmaker, it could be more fulfilling. I've heard that watchmaking for the bigboys can be mundane and likely aggrevate your conditions with repetitive work and quotas. being independent would be challenging in different ways--you would become a small business and all that entails. you would still need some credentials to establish report with customers. good luck to you.

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Good luck, Kyle. That's disheartening that one opportunity has closed. But I'm glad youre still pursuing it. A lot to start this journey too. Look forward to seeing a future update.