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Watch Repairer Job Description, Career as a Watch Repairer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Varies—see profile

Salary: Median—$13.87 per hour

Employment Outlook: Poor

Definition and Nature of the Work

Watch repairers clean, repair, and adjust watches and clocks. They work in watch and jewelry repair shops, in jewelry stores, or in factories that make clocks and watches. Many watch repairers are self-employed. Watch repairers are sometimes called watchmakers.

Watch repairers use small tools to take a watch out of its case. They examine the watch with a special magnifying glass called a loupe. They may give the owner an estimate of how much it will cost to fix the watch. Watch repairers then replace or repair the broken part or parts. Sometimes they have to make a new part or alter a factory-made part to fit a watch.

Watch repairers use delicate hand tools, as well as special machines. When they work on electronic watches, they use electric meters. Watch repairers clean and oil the watch movement and test it before putting it back into its case.

Some watch repairers also wait on customers. Many sell watches, jewelry, silverware, and related items. They may also repair jewelry and do engraving. A few teach in vocational schools.

Education and Training Requirements

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates as watch repairers. A few vocational high schools give courses in watch repairing. Some watch repairers get informal on-the-job training from experienced workers. Most watch repairers, however, learn their trade in special watch repair schools. Courses in these schools usually last one to three years. Students learn to use the tools and machines of the trade, and they learn how to recognize and solve repair problems.

Some states require watch repairers to be licensed. To get a license, watch repairers must pass an exam that tests their skills and knowledge. Watch repairers in all states can obtain certification from the American Watchmakers–Clock-makers Institute. Those who pass special tests given by the institute receive the title of Watch Technician, Certified Watchmaker, Certified Master Watchmaker, Certified Master of the Institute, Certified Clockmaker, or Certified Master Clockmaker.

Getting the Job

If attending a watch repair school, prospective workers can consult the school's placement service to facilitate finding a job. Trade associations and unions for watch repairers also provide job information. Interested individuals can apply directly to jewelry and department stores or to watch repair shops. They also can check newspaper classifieds, job banks on the Internet, or employment agencies. Watch repairers usually have some job experience before opening their own businesses.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Watch repairers can become supervisors or managers in large repair shops. Many open their own watch repair or jewelry shops. Jewelry businesses require more of an initial investment than watch shops, but loans are available to qualified applicants. Some watch repairers receive further training and move into fields related to watch repair. These fields include electronics and the making and repair of precision instruments used in science and engineering.

Opportunities in this field are expected to change from declining to an increase more slowly than the average through the year 2014. Opportunities were declining due to people buying inexpensive watches and replacing them rather than having them repaired. However, the popularity of expensive mechanical watches is rising resulting in a higher demand for watch repairers—though the job outlook for watch repairers is still poor. There will be some job openings to replace watch repairers who leave the field. The best opportunities will be for those with experience. Jobs in jewelry stores and watch repair shops are available in all parts of the country. Jobs in watch factories, however, are more limited.

Where to Go for More Information

American Watch Association
PO Box 464
Washington, DC 20044
(703) 759-3377

American Watchmakers–Clockmakers Institute
701 Enterprise Dr.
Harrison, OH 45030
(513) 367-9800

Jewelers of America
52 Vanderbilt Ave., 19th Fl.
New York, NY 10017
(800) 223-0673

Working Conditions

Watch repairers who work in repair shops, jewelry stores, and factories generally work in pleasant surroundings. They must be able to sit for long periods and concentrate on the small, detailed parts of a watch. They need patience and must be able to work well with their hands. Watch repairers generally work forty to forty-eight hours per week. Those who are self-employed usually work longer than salaried workers. Hours often include some evenings and weekends. Some watch repairers belong to unions.

Earnings and Benefits

The median hourly rate for watch repairers is $13.87, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, watch repairers working in retail stores sometimes receive a commission on the goods that they sell. Self-employed watch repairers usually earn more than salaried workers. However, those who have their own businesses must provide their own benefits. Many businesses that employ watch repairers are very small, so the benefits that they provide vary widely. Benefits sometimes include paid vacations and holidays, health insurance, and pension plans.

Additional topics

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