Being an independent watchmaker is hard. It’s not easy and it shouldn’t be easy. It’s hard enough as it is to service watches, polish, speak to customers, etc. Although this post says it’s for independent watchmakers, it’s really for all watchmakers. Even the aspiring ones.
This is my personal experience with Watchmaking programs and how you can go about creating your own. In this process, it’s my hope that you take action to learn quality watchmaking in whatever shape or form it may be in (with all excuses aside).
Create a "[INSERT YOUR NAME] Fund" that would replace [INSERT WATCHMAKING SCHOOL]. Let's be extremely conservative and say a typical watchmaking program costs you $35,000 (not factoring in rent, food, living expenses, tools, etc.).
With the fund, you would aim to spend $35,000 over two years on education, training, and tools. The caveat is that you have to be ready to lose all of the $35,000.
Think of this as a sunk tuition cost. The hope is that the skills, mindset, lessons learned, and the people you meet will be worth the $35,000 investment. The two-year plan is spent on the learning experience (long term ROI) and not for short-term ROI.
Watch estimates are confusing for your average customer. You might not know what to look for. Hell, you might not even know what any of that shit means. I'll go over some of the nomenclatures we use such as dial, hands, bezel, middle case, bezel, etc. I’m here to decipher and explain exactly what it means.
Consider this as a personal guide in the beginning stages of your watchmaking career. Since you're part of the club now, I will be blunt. I wrote this article with one thing in mind and one thing only. I wrote this because I wished I would've had this information when I first started watchmaking. I wrote this so that one of you will benefit from this and in hopes that you won't have to learn the hard way like I did.
With Watchmaking, it's a binary decision. You can't be half pregnant. Either you're fully committed or you're not. If you even have to ask whether or not you should get into watchmaking- you probably shouldn't. People who are deeply invested and are serious about learning watchmaking will find a way. If there's a will, there's a way.
Here’s how you can tell if a #Rolex has a reflective coating or not. Use a loupe and look at the 6oclock marker on the crystal. You should see an extremely faint Rolex logo. We also use this to tell if the crystal is centered. 🔬🔬🔬🔬
So if you have a Rolex- I’d check this ASAP. Now, you can look at this reference image above to see if the Rolex crystal has a reflective coating or not. If you didn’t know this... now you do. Thank me later! 🤙
This is a serious talk. I get asked all the time “Why do you consistently provide free content” over and over again. I get asked that by enthusiasts. I get asked that by my own watchmaking peers. It’s a valid and serious question I feel that I have to address now before it gets out of hand.
Let’s address some things first. I don’t want anything from you. I don’t care if you think I’m sharing watchmaking secrets. I don’t care if you think I’m exposing the side of watchmaking that brands don’t show you. I don’t care if you think I go against the grain. If you think I’m stealing food from your table by sharing what I share publicly and for free then perhaps you should reevaluate your line of work.
You know what I want from you? Absolutely nothing. Zero. Sure, I came out with a book. That’s a condensed and jam packed version of me that’s portable and written in physical writing. It’s just another outlet. Great.
Now that we got that out of the way. Let’s take a look at what I’m aiming for. I write and share everything I do so that in a couple months, years, or even decades later, you’ll be contacting me telling me that I was your inspiration to do what you did, that I told you the truth, that I told you it wasn’t going to be easy. Whether that’s taking that watchmaking position, getting into watchmaking, getting into watches, getting OUT OF watchmaking, etc. I do it so that I can pay it forward. I do it so that I can help people.
Hell- If I can help just ONE person, I feel like my job is complete. It just so happens that my current reach is ridiculous and I’m actually touching more and more people each day. And for that I’m eternally grateful.
So here’s the drill down. I do it because I can and because I’m selfish (more on this in a minute). There’s not enough light on watchmaking. Not enough information readily available. Not enough educators (without spending the big bucks). I pay it forward by sharing my knowledge so that someday you’ll contact me telling me that I made a difference in your life (dead serious). I want to be the guy that I wanted in my life when I started this journey. Plain and simple.