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How to Become a Horologist

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A horologist is a person who makes and/or repairs timepieces -- especially expensive or antique timepieces. It's a romantic, old-fashioned craft. Watchmakers need manual dexterity, an analytical mind and attention to detail. Since there are no hard and fast requirements, there are several possible ways to become a horologist.

Teach yourself. According to the My Small Biz website, no formal degree or certification is needed to start your own clock repair business. There are many available online courses in watch and clock repair. Industry associations, such as the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute and the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, offer online courses in watch and clock repair. Keep in mind, however, that if you want to work for someone else, you will likely need some kind of training at a technical school, or an apprenticeship under an experienced watchmaker.

Become an apprentice to an established private watchmaker. In the past, an apprenticeship was the usual way a horologist learned his trade. While it may be challenging to find someone willing to take on an apprentice, learning on the job gives you the benefit of your employer's experience, and will save you the time it takes to learn the trade by yourself. If you apprentice with a respected watchmaker, the experience becomes a valuable asset should you wish to apply for employment at one of the large watchmaking houses.

Take formal watchmaking courses at a technical school. Various certifications are available for horologists through technical schools. These certifications tell potential employers or clients that the horologist has completed and passed standardized testing in a certain aspect of watchmaking. The AWCI also offers standardized certifications in various areas of the trade.


The job market for watchmakers in America is expected to be below average, according to the Distance Learning Plan website.


Mary Strain's first byline appeared in "Scholastic Scope Magazine" in 1978. She has written continually since then and has been a professional editor since 1994. Her work has appeared in "Seventeen Magazine," "The War Cry," "Young Salvationist," "Fireside Companion," "Leaders for Today" and "Creation Illustrated." She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.