the past and until the beginning of the 20th Century, the watchmaker
used to develop, realize, tool himself all the watch spare-parts
and assemble the movement and and the finished product. Today, with
the progression of sales, the industrialization of the production,
the mechanization and the development of the division of labour,
the handicraft „watchmaker" has been widely extended to other professions.
Of course, these professions are open for boys and girls.
The following list regroups 11 handicrafts directly connected to
the watch production. It will be divided into two parts, the second
being presented in the next issue.
Watchmaker, yes, but what kind ?
All the watch professionnals are named „watchmakers". This general
word covers a lot of different features and professions. In Switzerland,
the handicrafts based on the federal law on professional training,
form a subject of specific regulations. At the end of his training
period which can take place in a company or in a specialzed school,
the apprentice gets a federal certificate of capacitiy. What are
the main professions directly connected to the watch production
Practitioner watchmaker (training
time : 3 years)
She / he assembles watch spare-parts, micromécanic and microelectronic
products, controls the the functions of the different elements,
tests the precision and rectifies the possible defaults.
The practioner watchmaker is working as a rule at the bench, mostly
in watch manufacturing companies or workshops, sometimes on his
own. The knowledge of the materials used and of the measuring and
control instruments needed is absolutely necessary.
watchmakers during a refesher technical seminar
Microelectronic watchmaker (4 years)
These specialists are trained to prepare and organise the working
stations in the production workshops and assembly lines.
They supervise mass setting lines of watch spare parts through robots
or semi-automatic conveyors and control the precision of the work
and the respect of the tolerances (at 1/100 of a mm) and the quotas
during each step of the production with the help of very sophisticated
instruments. Having to work with the most modern assembly technics,
they have to master the processing tools and therefore further-train
Service watchmaker (4 years)
These watchmakers are prepared to repare and service all kind of
timekeepers : mechanical or quartz watches, chronographs, chronometers,
board instruments, clocks, alarm clocks, etc. s.
Service watchmakers are working at the bench in after sales service
centers or in their own workshops. They make use of mechanical,
optic or electronic control and measuring instrument.
Stamp mechanic (4 years)
The stamp mechanic has to be able to conceive and to carry out the
blanking, stamping and bending metal tools, as also the moulds for
the injection of synthetic materials. These tools and moulds will
be a part of the automatic mass production lines of appliances,
instruments, watch spare parts, electronic componants, etc.
These specialists have to know the traditonnal and modern production
technics, the hand or mass machining.
As they are working with CNC production tehnology, they have to
further-train themselves permanently in order to ba able to adapt
themselves to the electronic evolution.
Micromechanic students trying to master a CNC machine tool
Micromechanic (4 years)
Specialized in the micromechanic of very high precision, these professionals
manufacture prototypes of components, machines and tools for the
watch industry and the electronic, electromechanical, aeronautical
and space industry, based on drafts prepared by the technical and
development departments of the company. They improve, regulate,
service and modify the production lines and have to know the programming
of computers for the CNC machine tools.
As for other professions described above, they have to further train
Case maker (3 years)
The case maker machines, assembles watch cases (steel, gold, platinum)
and services the production tools. Getting the primary product from
the stamping machines, he carries out a numbre of different operations
based on the drafts prepared by the company's technical and development
departments and „finishes" with the help of automatic tools the
watch cases. These specialists have to know the traditonal and modern
production technics, particularly the CNC machine tools which obliges
them to learn permanently the new technologies.
This profession is specific for the Jura regions (western part of
Switzerlan) where most of the case factories are located.