Adjusting a watch’s movement. Mark Mahaney (NYT)

When you hear the phrase Swiss watchmaker, you probably envision an old-timer running his shop in a small European village, or perhaps an experienced journeyman who’s learned her trade in Basel, and now works for a watch house.  I think that many people might like to try their hand at being one of those people, but can’t figure out how to uproot their lives to Europe for a few years to get the training.

Lo and behold, I came across this NY Times article that opened my eyes to a new possibility I wasn’t aware of before – you could head down to Ft. Worth, Texas, and attend the Institute of Swiss Watch Making.  This is a full two-year course that teaches people the hands-on skills that can’t be learned from a book or YouTube video.

And lest you think it’s some fly-by-night operation, know this – it’s actually a joint collaboration between Richemont and WOSTEP (it’ll be easier for both of us if you just read up on the acronym in this Wikipedia article).  To my ears, that’s a fairly credible endorsement for the program – especially once you realize that Richemont is footing the tuition bill.

What I found most interesting in the article is the wide variety of backgrounds that people have going into the program.  While none of them started out in life (it seems) wanting to become watchmakers, it’s a goal they’re headed for now.

Even if you’re not interested in this sort of training, I’d highly recommend you give the article a read.

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Last Update: December 4, 2012