Then again, perhaps you need to fix your watch because you broke it in the first place by taking it apart to see how things worked. At least, I know that would be the case for me. I”ve been tempted to fiddle around with working on a watch ever since I read Watch Repair As A Hobby (my review is here). The more fortunate among you may have a local community college offering courses (or be part of a multi-generational watch-making family); for the rest of us, we can turn to the internet.
And no, I don”t mean heading off to YouTube in the hopes of finding a step-by-step video of how to disassemble and reassemble your particular watch. While that sort of thing might work for, say, a piece of electronics, when it comes to watches I think we”re all better served by gaining knowledge from a reputable source. The reputable source here being TimeZone, and the online school that they established (remember mention of that in our Wrocket review?).
When I was looking through the information they have , I was very impressed by a particularly important thing – how are you supposed to get a hold of the various tools you may need, as well as a watch movement to work on? For that, they”ve actually worked with the folks over at Otto Frei to build up preset kits that would contain the tools you need as well as a watch movement; these are all found in the TZ Toolshop.
I think this is important for a few reasons. First, you”re working with tools and components that they”re recommending. Sure, you might be able to get cheaper ones somewhere else, but these likely are a good balance of quality and affordability, and should last you through your watch adventures. Second, by establishing recommended movements, the instruction can revolve around what you”ll actually see on your workbench (oh yeah, they also have portable workbenches available for $89 – those look great for keeping organized), rather than you trying to figure out what is where on some random movement you picked up off of eBay.
Of course, that”s all conjecture on my part, as I”ve not actually done any of the classes. They do give you a taste of what you can expect as you work through the lessons (sample here), which is good, because it will give you some sense of what to expect. They also let you know who you”re going to be learning from (Machiel Kalf, more info here), so you don”t have to be worried it”s just some anonymous self-taught “expert” taking your money and running.
Frankly, I think this is a great idea. Some folks may be better served by a true classroom environment, but I like the fact that if I were to take this course, I could do it at my own pace, and on my own schedule. And sure – I don”t know that I”d ever take it up as more than a hobby, but it would certainly give me a greater level of understanding as to what”s on my wrist, just like when I”ve learned to work on various projects around the house or in the garage. And who knows – you might even be able to pick up a little side business fixing up watches for your friends and family.
I know for me, this coursework is something I”m going to keep close to mind for when I find myself having a little more free time. The courses themselves are affordable $75); while the toolkits do add some cost to the adventure (starting around $350), it”s a one time thing while you get through the classes. As with everything else watch-related, though, that just gives us something to save up for.
In short – I think the class is a great idea, looks to be well-organized (and established), and it”s something I hope to pursue someday. Let me know in the comments if you”d jump at an opportunity like this (or perhaps you already have? I”d love to hear from current and former students), either online or somewhere local to you.
All images courtesy of TimeZone