Experts talking

Every time, the "Experts talking" column develops a different case.
The author's aim, as connoisseur and authority about the matter, is to help you to understand the subject by making these informations comprehensible and digestive.
Presently: watch professionals I

Already available
- Autoquartz
- Chronograph or chronometer
- Shock-absorber
- Water-resistance

- The Swiss watch production
- Material and finishes for watch cases

- Watch Professionals I
- Watch Professionals II
- Watch-cases
- Sapphire crystal
- Boîte et bracelet
- Bevelling and finishes...(I)
- Bevelling and finishes...(II)
- Bevelling and finishes...(III)
- Bevelling and finishes...(IV)
- Bevelling and finishes...(V)
- Bevelling and finishes...(VI)

- Bevelling and finishes...(VII)
- Bevelling and finishes...(VIII)
- Bevelling and finishes...(IX)
- Bevelling and finishes..(X)
- The Tourbillon
- Observations on top-of-the-range mechanical watches I
- Observations on top-of-the-range...II
- Observations on top-of-the-range...III
- Observations on top-of-the-range...IV
- Stricking watches
- The Screws (I)
- The Screws (II)
- The Screws (III)
- The Screws (IV)
- The Screws (V)
- Chronometry

- at present


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The author

Expert in communication and marketing, Pierre F. Brenzikofer was for more than 25 years in charge of the Marketing-Services of an important swiss watch group. He had a deep knowledge of watches communication. He was very active in professional basic and further training, and invested a lot of energy in the management of training centers and the setting up of modern didactic instruments.


In 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.

First Part

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.

Service 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 themselves permanently.

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 themselves permanently.

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.

The next issue will describe the following professions :

  • watch case finisher
  • jewel-setter
  • engraver
  • jeweller

Other professions, directly or indirectly connected to the watch industry will also be mentionned.

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