Watch and Clock Repairers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A high school diploma is desirable for prospective watch and clock repairers. Classes that provide good preparation for this career include shop courses that introduce the use of various tools and electronics classes to learn about circuits and electrical test equipment. Mathematics or accounting classes that teach business math and courses that help develop verbal communication skills are also beneficial. If you plan to operate your own business, take classes in business, accounting, and computer science. 

Postsecondary Training

Few people learn this trade on the job. Instead, the best way to learn watch and clock repairing skills is to attend a school of horology (the art of making and repairing timepieces) that is accredited by the Research and Education Council. Visit for a list of these schools. Training programs typically take one to three years and include instruction in disassembling and reassembling, cleaning and oiling, and replacing or repairing parts in various kinds of timepieces. Students learn to use such devices as demagnetizers, lathes, and electronic timing equipment. Additional training may be obtained in servicing electronic watches, calendars, chronometers, and timers. Once employed, watch and clock repairers usually take refresher courses to learn about new products that come on the market.

Other Education or Training

The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute provides continuing education bench training courses throughout the United States. Past classes included “Balance Staff & Timing,” “Timing & Adjustments,” “Quality Control,” “Quartz Watch Repair & Diagnostics,” “Mechanical Chronographs,” “Modern Wristwatch Oiling Procedures,” and “Servicing ETA Quartz Chronographs.” The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors also provides professional development classes.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute offers the following certification designations to watch and clock repairers who pass a written examination and a practical test of repairing skill: certified watchmaker of the 21st century, certified master watchmaker of the 21st century, certified clockmaker of the 21st century, and certified master clockmaker of the 21st century.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring watch and clock repairers must complete a postsecondary training program that lasts from one to three years. During their training, they can also obtain experience by working as an assistant to a watch or clock repairer.  

Watch and clock repairers need a combination of personal characteristics. They must have the ability to work independently with a high degree of precision. They need to be able to perceive tiny details in objects and make fine visual discriminations. They must have good manual dexterity, the finger sensitivity to feel small shapes, and steady hands so they can deftly place and work with small parts. They need orderly work habits and the ability to make judgments using set standards. Repairers who are in charge of their own shops need to be tactful, courteous, and able to communicate well with the public and employees. They also need at least a basic understanding of operating a business.