How to Get into Watchmaking as a Hobby

Written by: Maz P
Updated on:

Watchmaking is a fascinating and rewarding hobby that allows you to develop manual dexterity, patience, and attention to detail while learning about the history, mechanics, and design of watches.  It is a great way to express your creativity and personal style while appreciating the craftsmanship and beauty of watches.  Moreover, you can save money on repairs and maintenance by fixing your own watches.

If you are interested in getting into watchmaking as a hobby, this article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to start. We will cover everything from the basics of watchmaking to the different roles and specializations available in the industry. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of what it takes to become a watchmaker and how to get started on your journey.

Whether you are a complete beginner or have some experience in watchmaking, this article will provide you with valuable insights and resources to help you pursue your passion.

Watchmaking as a Hobby Key Takeaways

  • Watchmaking is a very rewarding hobby that allows you to develop manual dexterity, patience, and attention to detail.
  • To get started in watchmaking, you need to embrace your curiosity, learn the basics of watchmaking and potentially find a mentor.
  • There are different roles and specializations available in the watchmaking industry, including watch repair, restoration, and custom watchmaking.

About Watchmaking

Watchmaking is the art and science of making, repairing, and servicing watches.  It is a unique hobby that requires a combination of skill, knowledge, precision, and dedication.  As watch enthusiasts, we appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into creating a timepiece and the satisfaction of owning something that is both functional and beautiful.

The history of watchmaking dates back to ancient times when people used sundials to tell time.  Over the centuries, watchmaking has evolved into a complex and intricate science that combines mechanics, art, and creativity.  Today, we have a wide range of watches available, from traditional mechanical watches to modern smartwatches that can track our fitness and connect to our smartphones.

One of the first things to understand about watches is the difference between quartz and mechanical watches.  Quartz watches use a battery-powered quartz crystal to keep time, while mechanical watches rely on a complex system of gears and springs to power the movement.  Mechanical watches are often more expensive than quartz watches, but they also offer a unique experience that cannot be replicated by a battery-powered timepiece.

As a hobby, watchmaking requires a set of specialized tools and skills that can take years to master.  Experienced watchmakers often recommend starting with a starter watchmaking kit and working on simple projects before moving on to more complex timepieces.  It is also important to join a watchmaking community or watch forum to learn from other enthusiasts and get advice from professional watchmakers.

Where To Start

If you’re interested in watch repairing as a hobby, there are a few things you can do to get started.  First, embrace your curiosity and explore different styles, mechanisms, and brands of watches.  This will help you understand the basics of watch anatomy and terminology.  You can gather knowledge from books, online resources, forums, and videos to learn more about watchmaking.

Once you have a basic understanding of watchmaking, you’ll need to choose the right tools for the job.  Precision screwdrivers, tweezers, hand removers, and movement holders are essential.  You’ll also need a watchmakers loupe or magnifier, a case opener or knife, cleaning solution and oil, and watch parts or kits.  It’s important to invest in high-quality tools to ensure that your work is precise and accurate.

Next, find a suitable workspace that is clean, well-lit, and organized.  This will help you stay focused and avoid distractions while you work.  You should also consider finding a mentor or taking a watchmaking course to gain hands-on experience and learn from experts in the field.

Attention to detail and problem-solving skills are essential for watchmaking. You’ll need to be patient and meticulous to ensure that your work is of high quality. Certification from industry standards such as AWCI, WOSTEP, or the North American Institute of Swiss Watchmaking can help you demonstrate your skills and expertise.

In addition to traditional watchmaking techniques, it’s also important to stay up-to-date with new technologies and advancements in the field.  This will help you stay competitive and continue to improve your skills as a watchmaker.

Watchmaking Training & Education

There are different options available for learning watchmaking skills, including apprenticeship, watchmaking school, and self-teaching.


One of the best ways to learn watchmaking is by finding an experienced watchmaker and learning from them on a one-on-one basis.  This personalized approach allows for a hands-on learning experience, which is fast and practical.  However, finding an apprenticeship can be challenging, and it can be expensive.  Additionally, the scope of learning may be limited.

When looking for an apprenticeship, it’s essential to find a watchmaker who is willing to take on an apprentice.  One way to do this is by reaching out to local watchmakers or contacting watchmaking associations.  It’s also important to be prepared to work hard and be dedicated to the craft.

Watchmaking School

Another option for learning watchmaking is attending a formal program that teaches both theory and practice.  Watchmaking school can be comprehensive, structured, and certified, and it provides an opportunity to network with other watchmakers.  However, it can be costly, time-consuming, competitive, and selective.

When choosing a watchmaking school, it’s important to research the different programs available and find one that fits your needs and budget.  Some schools offer scholarships or financial aid to help with the cost of tuition.  It’s also essential to be prepared to work hard and be dedicated to the craft.


Learning watchmaking skills through books, videos, online courses, or trial and error is another option.  This approach is flexible, affordable, and accessible, and it can be a fun way to learn.  However, it can also be challenging, isolated, inconsistent, and risky.

When self-teaching, it’s important to have a plan and be organized.  Start with the basics and work your way up to more advanced techniques.  Joining online communities or watch forums can also be helpful for getting advice and feedback from other watchmakers.  However, it’s important to be cautious when purchasing tools or materials, especially on platforms like eBay, to avoid destroying luxury watches.

Watchmaking Roles and Specializations

When it comes to watchmaking, there are a variety of roles and specializations that one can pursue.  Here are a few examples:

Repair Hobbyist

A repair hobbyist is someone who fixes or restores watches for personal enjoyment or extra income.  They typically have basic watch servicing skills, troubleshoot common problems, and can replace parts or batteries.  To get started, a standard watchmaking toolkit plus spare parts or movements is usually sufficient.

Custom Hobbyist

A custom hobbyist is someone who creates or modifies watches to suit their preferences or style.  They typically have advanced watch servicing skills, and can customize dials, hands, cases, straps, movements, and more.  To get started, a standard watchmaking toolkit plus specialized tools like lathes, drills, engravers, etc. is required.

Professional Watchmaker

A professional watchmaker is someone who works for a watch company or brand as an employee or contractor.  They typically have expert watch servicing skills, can repair complex or vintage watches, perform quality control, and develop new models or innovations.  To get started, a standard watchmaking toolkit plus advanced tools like microscopes, timing machines, pressure testers, etc. is required.  Some examples of professional watchmakers include Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe.

No matter which role or specialization you choose, it’s important to have a passion for the craft and a dedication to honing your skills.  With practice and patience, anyone can become a skilled watchmaker.

Watchmaking as a Hobby Conclusion

We hope that this article has given you a good starting point for your watchmaking journey.  Remember that watchmaking is a hobby that requires patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to learn.  It can be a rewarding and fulfilling hobby that brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

If you’re serious about pursuing watchmaking or repairing watches, we encourage you to take action and start learning.  There are plenty of resources available online and in-person to help you get started, including horology schools, apprenticeships, and online tutorials.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.  Remember that watchmaking is a journey, not a destination. Take your time and enjoy the process.

Here are some additional resources to help you on your watchmaking journey:

We wish you the best of luck on your watchmaking journey!

Watchmaking as a Hobby FAQ

Learning watchmaking can take anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the level of expertise you want to achieve. It is a highly technical skill that requires patience, practice, and dedication.

There are many resources available for learning watchmaking, including online tutorials, books, and classes. You can start by learning the basics of watch mechanics and gradually work your way up to more complex techniques.

Yes, it is possible to teach yourself watchmaking, but it can be challenging without formal training or guidance. It is recommended to start with basic techniques and gradually work your way up to more complex skills.

The cost of starting watchmaking as a hobby can vary depending on the tools and equipment you need. Basic tools can cost a few hundred dollars, while more advanced equipment can cost several thousand dollars.

Some of the challenges of watchmaking as a hobby include the high level of precision required, the complexity of the techniques, and the risk of damaging expensive equipment.

Learning watchmaking as a hobby can take anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the level of expertise you want to achieve and the amount of time you can dedicate to practicing.

Some of the rewards of watchmaking as a hobby include the satisfaction of creating something with your own hands, the opportunity to learn a valuable skill, and the ability to repair and maintain your own watches.

If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.


Photo of author
I started WatchmakingTools to share my passion and knowledge with those already bitten by the watchmaking bug. I’ve often spent hours searching online for answers on a specific issue, and even though there is a wealth of information out there, it hasn’t always been very useful, hence why I wanted to share my own findings.

Leave a Comment