Training for a person who wants to become a watch repairer can include an apprenticeship under supervision as well as training in a classroom environment at a technical school or community college. The length of time spent in training can depend on the type of skills that the watch repairer wants to acquire. Someone who wants to work with museum-quality pieces in need of restoration and maintenance, for example, might need advanced training as a conservator. Other watch repairers need only basic training to offer services to their customers.
Watch repairers can service watches that are no longer functioning or are in need of maintenance. They might work independently or in a shop, and some work for watchmakers and firms that produce timepieces. One option to become a watch repairer is to attend a training program in a classroom environment. The training provides information about the history of watches and basic watch repair techniques, along with hands-on lab experience. Students might also have access to internships and apprenticeships through the program.
Another option is starting as an apprentice. Skilled watch repairers periodically accept interns in their workplaces and provide the necessary supervision and training. As the intern develops professional skills, he or she can take on more projects on his or her own and work toward independence. The trainer might offer employment after training is complete, because some employers hire apprentices with the goal of inviting them to join the company when they are fully trained.
Professional organizations dedicated to horology — the study and maintenance of timepieces — can offer additional training opportunities. A person who wants to become a watch repairer and work with antique and historic pieces might benefit from such opportunities. These can include appraisal training as well as courses on timepieces from specific periods in history. In the training, students will have a chance to handle watches from a variety of locations and time periods. Specific conservator training is available through museums as well as colleges that offer conservation degrees.
Some watch repairers also consider professional certification. Such certification requires passing an examination to demonstrate competence. Earning a certification can provide more job opportunities. After someone has become a watch repairer, the certification can also help establish professional credentials and build up a customer base. Employers might request certification or prefer applicants who have certifications, and some companies also offer their own specialized training so that staff members will be intimately familiar with certain timepieces.