Giving Time A Face

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watch maker

From its birth in Geneva in the middle of the 16th Century to today, the art of watchmaking has come a long way. Shuili Dutta tells you more about the timelessness of this profession

The process involved in the making of a watch is a rather interesting one. The watchmaker has to make sure that all the 200 parts of the watch function smoothly without any glitches. Watchmaking is, therefore, the amalgamation of science and design and is responsible for the creation of spectacular timepieces.
The mechanics behind a watch involve an intricate and laborious process. The World of watches, however, is a fascinating place indeed! From basic to complicated watches, viewing the insides of a watch is like going on a mind-boggling journey. Who would have thought that a watch has 200 parts that are driven by a spring? Some of the examples of well-known watchmaking design houses are Patel Philippe, Rolex and Breguet.

Watches can be divided into
roughly 5 parts:
* Simple mechanical watch
* Self-winding mechanical watch
* Complicated watch
* Quartz electronic watch with digital display
* Quartz electronic watch with analogue display

What’s the Scope Today?

The scope of watchmaking in today’s industry is wide with the option of working as either a watchmaker for a renowned company, servicing or restoring old timepieces or at the retail level. Opportunities for watchmakers are abundant throughout the world.  The Swiss watches hold a stance of their own in the world of watchmaking and boast of an impressive clientele from celebrities to businessmen. Swiss watches are the most sought-after timepieces owing to the exceptional quality and designs and demand a high value.

What Kind of Education is Required?

A watchmaker is required to have knowledge in the fields of micromechanics. Apart from that, one would need to train in institutes that offer hands-on training on watchmaking. Unfortunately, in India, there aren’t any such institutes except Rolex training centre in Mumbai that offers a course on watchmaking. However, the course requires one to have minimum five years of experience as a watchmaker. The individual is then further trained and their skills polished to make them capable of handling the servicing of luxury watches. There are however a number of watchmaking schools in Switzerland, UK, America, Hong Kong and China, etc where one could opt to study watchmaking. Being a WOSTEP (Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program) alumnus is crucial to one’s watchmaking career. This certificate enables you to find a job in any Country in the world.

What are the Challenges that Come with the Job?

Birendra Bajracharya, a watchmaker with almost 20 years of experience says, “One of the main challenges that a young professional may face is the understanding of the new technologies that are introduced at regular intervals in the industry.” However, according to Khaja Moideen, a watchmaker employed with Rolex and currently working in Bahrain, thanks to the excellent training provided at regular intervals both at the company headquarters in Geneva and at its training institutes in various countries, the challenges that a young professional may face have lessened considerably over the years. He says, “All the institutes now provide the required technical information and appropriate  training for the understanding of new calibres.” What’s a calibre, you ask? Calibres are types of movements/ mechanisms which embody a great number of miniature and delicate moving parts including a balance wheel in a mechanical watch that vibrates at the rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour.

Trivia

1. The wristwatch was introduced at the end of WW1
2. The Calibre ’89 is the most complicated mechanical watch in the world
3. Rolex invented the waterproof wristwatch
5. Omega was the first watch on the moon as it was selected by NASA for its astronauts
6. Hublot’s most expensive watch is made up of 1,282 diamonds

Career Facts Watchmaking

Job Profile:

Watchmaking is the art of designing and servicing a watch. A watchmaker is also required to service watches that deteriorate with time

Income:

The kind of remuneration you receive will obviously depend on the company as well as the country you work in. In India, a young watchmaking professional can earn an upper limit of Rs 20-30k whereas, in countries like Bahrain, Dubai, etc, the salary is slightly higher than this figure.

Skills Set:

Patience, dexterity, analytical abilities, exceptional creativity, good memory, basic mathematical skills/trigonometry, good vision, passion for mechanical dexterity, a curious mind and precision

Study:

Rolex Training Centre (Mumbai), Lititz Watch Technicum, Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School (Switzerland), Gem City College School of Horology (USA), CFPT – Ecole d’horlogerie (France).

Volume 3 Issue 1

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