Best Watchmaking Schools: The Path to Becoming a Master Watchmaker

Written by: Maz P
Updated on:
Timegrapher

Once you have been tinkering with timepieces for a short while, it is likely your curiosity for further development is piqued. While the basics and most simple tasks in watchmaking can be learned and practiced independently, anything more advanced often needs a touch of guidance and education. Embarking on the intricate journey of watchmaking requires not just a passion for timepieces but also a mastery of precision, craftsmanship, and artistry. Whilst there are many educational avenues you can travel along in the world of horology, watchmaking schools are the destinations where watchmaking skills are transformed into a lifelong vocation.

The watchmaking education world is where tradition seamlessly blends with cutting-edge technology to keep the skill up-to-date without compromising horological heritage. From the historic ateliers in Switzerland, the birthplace of horological excellence, to the esteemed institutions of the UK, these schools are where watchmakers are born and their skill is meticulously crafted. However, navigating the ticking classrooms available can be a labyrinth if you are trying to find your perfect fit. A watchmaking school is not one size fits all and every aspiring watchmaker will be in search of something different whether that be in terms of curriculum, class size, or even location.

Here at WatchmakingTools, we understand the importance of incredible watchmaking education and have condensed all the information you need about watchmaking schools into one place. This is the ultimate list for horological training bursting with the schools that are shaping the next generation of watchmakers.

Watchmaking Schools in North America

Ecole Nationale de L’Horlogerie Logo

Ecole Nationale de L’Horlogerie (Canada)

Based in Quebec, Ecole Nationale de L’Horlogerie offers a watchmaking course that undoubtedly rivals its European counterparts. The French-speaking school offers both a 600-hour certificate and an 1800 diploma in watchmaking with individualized training allowing you to enroll at any time of the year. If you cannot wait to get started on your watchmaking journey, there is no need to when you study at Ecole Nationale de L’Horlogerie.

Lititz Watchmaking Technicum Logo

Lititz Watchmaking Technicum (USA)

A premier institution offering a comprehensive watchmaking education, Lititz Watchmaking Technicum was founded by Rolex. With Rolex’s legacy, students benefit from cutting-edge training, ensuring they master the art and technology of horology with a strong foundation for a successful career in watchmaking

North American Institute of Swiss Watchmaking (USA)

The North American Institute of Swiss Watchmaking focuses on excellence with students achieving the coveted WOSTEP certification. Students receive a rigorous education blending theory and hands-on training, ensuring proficiency in Swiss watchmaking and paving the way for success in the industry.

Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School Logo

Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School Miami (USA)

With a curriculum shaped by Swiss expertise, the Nicolas G. Hayek School of Watchmaking in Miami is a hub for horological excellence. Here, students delve into education on precision craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology.

Veteran Watchmaking Initiative (USA)

Helping to secure a future career for veterans, the Veteran Watchmaking Initiative trains veterans in the art of watchmaking for a post-military career. Available to veterans free of charge, the initiative honors the service of veterans by providing education in a highly skilled profession.

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AWCI Bench Courses (USA)

Offering watchmakers unparalleled hands-on training, AWCI Bench Courses are designed by the American Watchmakers Clockmakers Institute to cover all essential horological skills from basic repairs to advanced techniques. The 1 to 5-day courses provide an introduction to watchmaking education and pave the way to long-term training.

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Gem City College School of Horology (USA)

Providing training in three areas of horology, Gem City College trains watchmakers for excellence. With continuous admission, you can enroll in a horology course any time of the year and start a course the next Monday. No waiting around for your horological training to start, you can begin your journey as a watchmaker today at Gem City College.

Norwest School of Horology (USA)

The Seattle-based Norwest School of Horology is a great destination to learn the skills of watchmaking if you are short on time. Offering weekly evening classes in beginner, intermediate, and advanced watchmaking skills, you can explore your passion for watchmaking or learn a new profession around your existing commitments.

Gem City College School of Horology Logo

York Time Institute (USA)

Boasting a 54-week watchmaking diploma program, York Time Institute in Pennsylvania provides certification for both beginner and more advanced watchmakers. With exceptionally in-depth training, graduates of the York Time Institute become highly sought watchmakers in the industry.

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Paris Junior College (USA)

Choose from three educational paths in horology when you enroll in a watchmaking course at Paris Junior College. With the advanced training provided by the school, watchmaking graduates of the school emerge highly skilled in the profession with many venturing to Switzerland for a career at the heart of the industry.

Watchmaking Schools in Switzerland

Home to the most esteemed watchmaking industry in the world, it is no surprise that Switzerland is the dream destination for all aspiring watchmakers. Boasting the most reputable watch manufacturers on the planet, Switzerland is where you will find the most prestigious watchmaking schools, all offering phenomenal horological education.

Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève

Renowned as the oldest Swiss watch school, training at Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève offers an intensive watchmaking education immersed in the rich horological heritage of Switzerland. Famous in the industry for its rigorous curriculum, this prestigious institution blends traditional craftsmanship with modern techniques to create a new generation of skilled watchmakers.

Ecole Technique de la Vallée de Joux

Ecole Technique de la Vallée de Joux offers unique horological training whilst nestled in the heart of Switzerland’s watchmaking hub. With an emphasis on technical excellence and innovation, students delve into the complexities of haute horology with training from local watchmaking companies. Each course details the specific skills and artistry required by individual brands whilst teaching timepiece engineering under the guidance of industry experts.

Centre de Formation Professionnelle Neuchâtelois

Providing hands-on training in precision craftsmanship, the Centre de Formation Professionnelle Neuchâtelois is where horological enthusiasts embark on a transformative journey in watchmaking. This esteemed institution blends heritage with modernity with students refining their skills under expert guidance and becoming masters of the intricate art of horology.

Uhrmacherschule Grenchen

Making up part of the Swiss horological landscape, Uhrmacherschule Grenchen welcomes aspiring watchmakers with a fascinating blend of tradition and technology. This renowned school offers a comprehensive curriculum where students cultivate precision skills and craftsmanship with a gateway into the watchmaking industry.

CFP Bienne

Studying watchmaking at CFP Bienne is an immersive experience in the heart of Switzerland’s watchmaking legacy. Renowned for its cutting-edge curriculum, the school prepares watchmakers for the dynamic and thriving industry.

Ecole des Métiers Techniques

Ecole des Métiers Techniques is a distinguished watchmaking school renowned for its comprehensive curriculum. Providing a selection of 2, 3, or 4-year full-time apprenticeships, the school offers an incredible training path with a syllabus featuring a mixture of theoretical training with practical workshop experience.

CIP Technologie

Watchmaking training at CIP Technologie is a journey into precision and innovation. This institution, renowned for its expertise, provides students with a hands-on education in the art and science of horology. With a focus on technological advancements, aspiring watchmakers develop the skills essential for crafting intricate timepieces.

WOSTEP

An incredible Swiss education center specializing in horology, WOSTEP is an exceptional choice for your training whether it be a short course or full-time education. Alongside their certified watchmaker program, WOSTEP also offers individual courses to enhance specific skills in watchmaking and the WOSTEP courses are promoted by watchmaking schools worldwide.

The K&H Watchmaking Competence Centre

The K&H Watchmaking Competence Centre is your one-stop-shop for watchmaking education in Switzerland offering short summer courses, watch repair and service technician programs, and classical Swiss watchmaking certifications. Encouraging creativity and design in aspiring watchmakers, the KHWCC trains watchmakers to not only repair and service timepieces but how to design, craft, and build the wristwatches of tomorrow.

Institut Horlogerie Cartier

With such a prestigious name, you can expect a prestigious course and Institut Horlogerie Cartier does not fail to deliver. Founded by Cartier in 1992, the watchmaking school continues its devotion to preserving traditional watchmaking craftsmanship whilst training budding watchmakers to be experienced craftsmen.

Ecole des Métiers et Artisans de Haute Horlogerie

Ecole des Métiers et Artisans de Haute Horlogerie offers an exclusive gateway to the world of luxury horology. Combining traditional craftsmanship with contemporary techniques and providing students with a profound understanding of intricate watchmaking, the institution is the ultimate educational destination for those aspiring to master the art of haute horology.

Watchmaking Schools in the United Kingdom

Outside of Switzerland, it is the UK that has the most prestigious watchmaking schools. Home to esteemed educational centers across the country, the UK offers some of the best horology training courses in the world.

British School of Watchmaking

Offering both the WOSTEP 1800 and 3000-hour courses, the British School of Watchmaking is an alternative location to study the exceptional WOSTEP watchmaker programs. Located in Manchester, the British School of Watchmaking is a partner school of the renowned Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School, an educational brand renowned globally for horology training. It trains the best watchmakers of tomorrow with a 100% success rate for industry employment.

British Horological Institute

Established in 1858, the British Horological Institute is a watchmaking school steeped in history and devoted to preserving horological heritage. Offering both short courses and diplomas in addition to distance learning, budding watchmakers from across the globe can embark on training relative to their journey and without the need to relocate.

Birmingham City University

Providing the ultimate certification in horology, Birmingham City University offers the first and only undergraduate degree in the field. Studying the BA (Hons) Horology at the university sets you apart from the competition and the course has an outstanding employability rate with alumni securing positions at the likes of Rolex, Cartier, and Tag Heuer.

Jon Woods Teaching at Epping Forest Horology Centre

Epping Forest Horology Centre

An outstanding educational center for those dipping their toes into the world of watchmaking, Epping Forest Horology Centre offers extensive first-year and second-year courses.

Their year-long first-year course is entry-level and suitable for even those with no prior experience in watchmaking. It inspires aspiring watchmakers to continue their educational development and progress in the industry.

London Watchmaking School Logo

London Watchmaking School

The only official watchmaking school in London.

Following the incredible success of his courses at Epping Forest Horology Centre, watchmaker Jon Woods created the London Watchmaking School to continue creating the watchmakers of tomorrow.

The evening courses offer flexibility around other commitments and taster days are also available to dip your toe into watchmaking before a long-term commitment to horological education.

West Dean College

Boasting a foundation degree in horology, West Dean College based in Chichester provides an excellent first step into advanced horological training. Focusing specifically on clockmaking, the course provides the fundamentals and knowledge for working in the industry with an alternative perspective on the watchmaking industry.

Quality Time Clock Courses

For those looking for a less intensive watchmaking school, Quality Time is a great option offering week-long courses. Based in Sussex, Quality Time is a great stepping stone into horological education offering you an element of the watchmaking journey without the commitment of a full-time course. The courses are incredibly relaxed and are a great introduction to the watchmaking world.

Watchmaking Schools in Europe

Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School Logo

Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking Schools (Germany)

With two schools based in Glashutte and Pforzheim, Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School is renowned for horological education in Germany. With courses based on the WOSTEP 1800 and 3000, you are guaranteed educational excellence at these schools.

Uhrmacher Schule Glashütte (Germany)

Offering a three-year, dual-training apprenticeship, Uhrmacher Schule Glashutte offers a syllabus rooted in tradition. Showcasing German excellence in watchmaking, this school provides a comprehensive understanding of horology, extensive practical application, and the continuous following of trends and technology to create expert watchmakers.

Goldschmiedeschule Mit Uhrmacherschule Pforzheim (Germany)

The vocational school for watchmakers at Goldschmiedeschule Mit Uhrmacherschule provides a three-year intensive journey into watch repair and servicing. Learning the intricacies of timepieces, how to repair them, and the production of spare parts, this course is an exceptional choice for anyone wanting to pursue a career as a watch repair and service technician.

Berufliche Schule Farmsen (Germany)

Home to a school for watchmakers, Berufliche Schule Farmsen offers a three-year watchmaking program that is the perfect blend of practical and theory. The program has been designed to create exceptional watchmakers with students moving into internships upon course completion.

Uhrenseminare Fluthe (Germany)

For aspiring watchmakers in Europe, Uhrenseminare Fluthe offers a great introduction to watchmaking education. Offering regular two-day seminars, the course sheds light on the watchmaking industry inspiring students to continue their horological education.

I.A.T.A Institute of Arts Education Techniques Sciences and Crafts (Belgium)

The watchmaking course at the Institute of Arts Education Techniques Sciences and Crafts blends traditional craftsmanship with modern technology offering students a comprehensive education in horology. Expert instructors guide hands-on training to help graduates emerge skilled in the intricate art of watchmaking and ready for the dynamic industry.

Danmarks Urmagerskole (Denmark)

Offering both school training and paid apprenticeships, Danmarks Urgmagerskole provides watchmaking training at ZBC Ringsted. Catering to different ways of learning, the course is available as both a hands-on internship and as a more theoretical college-style course. No matter how you learn, Danmarks Urmagerskole has a course type for you.

Instituto Mare de Déu de la Mercè (Spain)

A two-year evening course in watchmaking at Instituto Mare de Deu de la Merce offers flexibility around other life commitments without compromising on the quality of course content. As an intermediate-level course, the curriculum is designed for those with some watchmaking experience and is a great option for further development.

Jewelry Studies Center of Madrid (Spain)

The 640-hour watchmaking course at Jewelry Studies Center of Madrid provides students with a Level 2 Diploma in Watchmaking. Held on evenings or Saturdays depending on course selection, this course is great for those with existing commitments, working around a full-time job, and anyone short on time.

The Finnish School of Watchmaking (Finland)

The Finnish School of Watchmaking, also known as Kelloseppakoulu, is the premier Nordic destination for horological education. The course takes a traditional approach to watchmaking and is one of the toughest watchmaking schools to get accepted into with a two-day entrance exam.

Faculte des Metiers (France)

The watchmaking program at Faculté des Métiers seamlessly blends theoretical knowledge with practical skills, preparing students for the dynamic watch industry. With a focus on precision and innovation, graduates emerge experienced in the intricacies of horology and ready for employment in the industry.

P2R Formations (France)

Offering a distinguished watchmaking program with a stellar 100% employment success rate in 2023, P2R Formations combines cutting-edge training and hands-on experience. Graduates of this watchmaking school excel in the industry, making them highly sought-after professionals in the industry.

Creative Academy (Italy)

Studying watchmaking at Creative Academy in Italy is an immersive experience where tradition meets innovation. The program combines exquisite craftsmanship with contemporary design developing a unique skill set for graduates to thrive in the evolving field of horology.

Casa Pia de Lisboa (Portugal)

Studying watchmaking at Casa Pia de Lisboa is a three-year journey that explores both horological heritage and technical expertise. Students receive hands-on training in horological craftsmanship and are prepared for a successful career as a watchmaker.

Vakschool Schoonhoven (The Netherlands)

As the only school in The Netherlands offering jeweler and watchmaker training, Vakschool Schoonhoven welcomes students from across the country to study their outstanding courses. Operating as a student city, aspiring watchmakers can enjoy the college experience whilst training to be a watchmaker.

Urmakarskolan (Sweden)

Operating a three-year course with only 12 available places and exclusive to those who have completed Nordic education, the watchmaking program at Urmakarskolan has tough entry requirements. Graduates receive both a Swedish journeyman’s certificate and the coveted globally recognized WOSTEP certification.

Watchmaking Schools in Oceania

Watch & Clock School of Western Australia (Australia)

As the only recognized watchmaking school with certification in Australia, the Watch & Clock School of Western Australia has a very competitive admissions process. The three-year course offers two routes, one with weekly attendance which is great for those studying around existing commitments, and an intensive course.

Australian Antiquarian Horological Society Inc (Australia)

Located in Melbourne, the Australian Antiquarian Horological Society Inc hosts workshops for both beginner and advanced watchmakers with a diverse range of skills to study. These one-day courses are a great way for experts to fine-tune skills and for novices to dip their toes into the world of watchmaking.

The Watchmakers Institute of New Zealand (Oceania)

Under the watchful eye of The Watchmakers Institute of New Zealand, aspiring watchmakers can embark on an intensive apprenticeship in-house. Graduates receive first-hand training through education with a brand or independent watchmaker to achieve a world-recognized qualification that sets them up for a successful watchmaking career.

Watchmaking Schools in Asia

Prince Horology (Cambodia)

Phnom Penh is a destination renowned worldwide for magnificent architecture and exquisite palaces but it is also home to one of the most highly-regarded watchmaking schools on the planet. Prince Horology offers a two-year full-time course in watchmaking that covers 3400 hours making it the most intensive watchmaking course that is also completed in a shorter timeframe than standard 3000 hour courses. For the most in-depth horological training, it has to be Prince Horology.

Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School Logo

Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking Schools (China, Hong Kong and Malaysia)

With schools based in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur, this worldwide watchmaking school brings multiple horological education options to Asia. Following the WOSTEP programs, these schools train students in the fine art of Swiss watchmaking with an internationally-recognized certification allowing graduates to gain employment anywhere in the world.

China Institute of Swiss Watchmaking (China)

Studying at the China Institute of Swiss Watchmaking provides an education with a unique blend of Swiss expertise and Chinese innovation. Students are immersed in a comprehensive horological education, mastering both traditional craftsmanship and the use of cutting-edge technology for a successful career in the intricate world of watchmaking.

Hong Kong Institute of Swiss Watchmaking (Hong Kong)

Offering a comprehensive curriculum, students of The Hong Kong Institute of Swiss Watchmaking delve into the world of horology acquiring skills that bridge the gap between tradition and innovation without compromising on Swiss precision.

Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry (Japan)

Boasting two colleges, one in Tokyo and one in Osaka, the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry offers a three-year watchmaking course on both campuses. The curriculum takes aspiring watchmakers through the basics of horology to the most complicated chronograph repairs. Courses also include an internship at either of the schools’ two partners, Seiko and Citizen.

Oumi Tokei School (Japan)

The Oumi Tokei School for watchmaking in Japan produces graduates expert in precision craftsmanship. Rooted in Japanese excellence, students receive meticulous training, mastering the art of watchmaking and acquiring skills to excel in the horological industry.

Watches Expert Employment Training School (Japan)

This one-year course at Osaka’s watchmaking educational center prepares students with a foundation for a horological profession. Providing the basics to get started in the industry, the school provides the essentials with the aim of continuous development on the job.

Watchmaking Schools in Africa

South African Watchmakers and Clockmakers Guild (South Africa)

Whilst the African luxury watch market is still in its infancy, many of the continent’s watchmakers are self-taught but the South African Watchmakers and Clockmakers Guild has made the move to provide high-quality horological education. The course involves a three-year apprenticeship with a watchmaker to receive the National Certificate in Watchmaking at which point, graduates can apply for the National Diploma in Watchmaking.

Watchmaking Schools FAQ

Watchmaking is the art and science of making, repairing, and servicing watches. It is a unique hobby and profession that requires a combination of skill, knowledge, precision, and dedication. Watchmaking is important because it preserves the heritage and craftsmanship of timepieces, and provides a valuable service to watch owners and collectors.

There are different paths to becoming a watchmaker, depending on your level of interest, experience, and goals. You can start by learning the basics of watchmaking as a hobby, using online resources, books, and kits. You can also enroll in several short, practical courses at numerous locations, where you can learn from professional tutors and use workshop equipment.

Watchmaking can be a rewarding and satisfying career for those who have a passion for watches and a keen eye for detail. Watchmaking is a highly skilled and specialized profession that offers opportunities for creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. Watchmakers can work in various settings, such as retail shops, service centers, museums, or their own workshops. Watchmakers can also enjoy the benefits of being part of a global community of horological enthusiasts and professionals.

Watchmaking is not an easy hobby or profession to get into, as it requires a lot of time, patience, practice, and investment. Watchmaking involves working with tiny and delicate parts, using specialized tools and machines, and following strict quality standards and procedures. Watchmaking also requires a solid foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge, covering topics such as history, mechanics, electronics, materials, and design. Watchmaking is a lifelong learning process that demands constant improvement and adaptation to new technologies and trends.

If you think I’ve missed any schools across the world, please let me know.

AUTHOR

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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.

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