The Lititz Watch Technicum

SchoolWatchBack
SchoolWatchFaceI attended the Lititz Watch Technicum from Sep 2004 to Aug 2006. It was a wonderful experience and I recommend it to anyone who wants a career in watchmaking. The facility is truly amazing and the instruction is the best available. The program is constantly changing so I can’t tell you exactly what it is like today, but they follow the WOSTEP program which involves 3000+ hours of horological training. I attended classes Mon-Fri from 7:30 to 4:30. We spent 6 months working on micromechanical tasks (manufacturing parts) culminating in the completion of our “school watch” project.

The next 18 months are spent disassembling, assembling, oiling, cleaning, and repairing mechanical timepieces. The school is fully funded by Rolex, but stands independent. We spent most of our efforts working on ETA timepieces.

In addition to the schools supplied training movements each student brought in 30 outside timepieces for repair. Although funded by Rolex, there is no guarantee of a job from them, in fact they rarely hire their own graduates. The hope of the school is that you will go work independently (hopefully in a Rolex Jeweler.)

While at school I had to support a wife and son, which was pretty difficult. Lititz is a small town in the heart of Pennsylvania Amish Country CoveredBridgeand there are not tons of jobs available. I worked part time in the evenings at the Mercedes Benz dealer in Lancaster in order to (partially) support my family. Needless to say I incurred some debt.

Housing is relatively cheap in Lititz. 2 bedroom apartments can be found from around $500 –1000 / month.

LWT is a European style academy and you will be expected to work hard for the full 8 hour day. You are not allowed to miss class for any reason and there are very few days off. They encourage you to stay late and work on projects, and if at all possible I recommend you do so. I wish I had not had to work while in school because I could have learned even more. You can however complete your work during the scheduled day if you are focused. LWT is looking to train professional watchmakers, not hobbyists, and professionalism is the main thing it takes to get into the school. You need some mechanical aptitude, a strong interest in watches and watchmaking. You need to be able to communicate well both verbally and on paper. Previous watch experience is not necessarily a plus. They don’t want to have to break bad habits. Even if you have previous experience you will be expected to complete all the tasks from the beginning. After completing the application you will participate in a phone interview. If you get invited to come out to Lititz you will complete a mechanical aptitude test and a problem solving and reasoning test, as well as a small math quiz. Yes, some algebra may be required. Then you will have to complete some sort of mechanical tasks, perhaps filing, sawing, turning on a lathe, and some watch work. These tasks are just to see if you can follow instructions and have the potential to become a watchmaker. If you have the opportunity to ask questions, do so. They really like to see that you are anxious to learn. Think of questions for the staff as well as fellow students before you go.

Watchmaking is an exciting profession. I love it! Immediately after school I began as the only watchmaker at Beauchamp Jewelers in Albuquerque, NM. I make plenty to support my family. We have since hired another watchmaker. There is plenty of work out there and I encourage you to join the profession if you can.

I enjoy talking about my experiences at watchmaking school so if you want to know more just post a comment and I’ll respond.

For more about my watchmaking education continue with posts about micromechanics. –>Micromechanics, Part I

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28 Responses to “The Lititz Watch Technicum”


  1. 1 Dennis B. Pursel February 4, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Dear Watchmaker: Thankyou for your Tick Talk site. Although in the medical profession, since 2004 I have fallen in love with watchmaking and Micro-Mechanical technology. I almost finnished the Introductory course at Gem City and then dropped out to go to a WOSTEP school. I was admitted but because of difficulties, could not attend. I have attended some AWCI courses. My question is: iS there a way to obtain the micromechanical syllabus used at a WOSTEP school. I would be willing to pay for it. All you can do to assist me with this is greatly appreciated. Thankyou so much. Dennis

  2. 2 J.Peter February 4, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Dennis, it would be dishonest (and a violation of my agreement with LWT) to sell you the syllabus from my schooling. I will however post more information about the micromechanical aspects of my education in the comming weeks. Come back soon or Subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss anything.

  3. 3 J.Peter February 7, 2008 at 8:04 am

    For more on micromechanics, visit today’s post: on Micromechanics.

  4. 5 Wong February 24, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    hi there. i come across your site as i’m searching more info on watch making career.
    i’m interested to know whether after i completed wostep, is there any job in asia country?

  5. 6 J.Peter February 24, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Well, I’m no expert on watchmaking in Asia, but considering that Rolex fully funds two schools in ASIA and Swatch Group funds atleast one as well, I would say yes, definitely. Rolex funds the Tokyo Watch Techncium, and Watchmaking School of Bumbai. Swatch Group has a school in China

  6. 7 Mike March 9, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    In your experience at the Lititz Watch Technicum, did you get a feel for any age requirement? I will be retiring in the next several years and am exploring watchmaking as a second career. Thanks,

    Mike

  7. 8 J.Peter March 10, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Well, they definitely like young blood but there was at least one student in their 40s and a couple in their low 30s. Average age was probably 25.

  8. 9 Tony March 23, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks for the informative post! I recently handed in my application and was called back the same week. They were very impressed with my application and said that I didn’t need a phone interview! I I’m now moving onto the next step and visiting the school and also taking tests. Needless to say, I’m very excited!

    Is there any tips or info you could give me that would help me out?? Thanks! 🙂

  9. 10 J.Peter March 23, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Tony, they are always changing things up so I can’t tell you exactly what to expect but this post should give you a good idea.

  10. 11 Tony March 26, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Thanks Peter. Also, do you know right away if you’re accepted into the school or not?

  11. 12 J.Peter March 26, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Tony,

    I didn’t find out I was accepted until a month later, probably in May. I think they like to get done with all the interviewing before they make the decisions. They usually interview for a month or two.

  12. 13 George April 9, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Hi there,

    I’ve wanted to become a proffesional watchmaker for as long as I can remember. I’ve waited so long becuase there just weren’t any schools around me (I live in Southern Connecticut). But I recently came across the Nicolas G Hayek School in Secaucus NJ. They take 6 students per year. With such a selective process, is there anything I can do to increase my odds of being accepted next year?

    Also, do you think they might reject me just based on the long commute I would have to do daily (NJ to CT?). Please, any advice would really help.Thanks!

  13. 14 J.Peter April 9, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    George, I don’t know a whole lot about the NGH Watchmaking School except that it follows the WOSTEP program as well. I’m sure the politics are different because it is owned and opereated by Swatch Group while the other WOSTEP schools in the US are heavily funded by Rolex. I have heard that it is not as high a quality of school as the others because Swatch Group isn’t 100% committed to it. If you really want to become a watchmaker I suggest you look into all the different schools and do what is necessary (including moving) to study.

  14. 15 Rachel R November 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

    J Peter
    thanks for posting your experience – very helpful
    I am a licensed architect very anxious about supporting myself and my son in this economy and in the future
    Am thinking about jumping ship and starting a new career
    watch repair and making seem to share aspects with architecture
    But I want a profession which is in NEED rather than one in which I have to compete for work
    The Lititz program and facility look VERY sharp
    and Lititz is close to my parents, so living expenses would be managable and i would incur little debt
    my main concern is – if i invest 2 years, what are my career opportunities?
    would i work for a single jeweler or maybe set up shop and do work for many jewelers in a small town as a consultant?
    is there an internship process if one desires to set up your own business? thanks in advance for taking the time to share your experience
    Rachel

  15. 16 kelly April 10, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Dear All:

    I am going to apply for the Basic 3200 hrs watch Making program at WOSTEP, Switzerland. I found out that if my application has been accepted, I will be asked to sit for a 2 days test. Does anyone know what is the test about?

    For those who has experience or been sat for the test before, please advice me.

    Thanks.

    Kelly

  16. 17 D.C. November 30, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Hi! I was wondering how the paying for the tools works, is it post-grad, or in-school, what’s expected there. Also I was wondering how living expenses, rent etc. are to be adressed being in school literally 5 days a week, 8+ hours a day, as this has been THE biggest issue keeping me from sending in my application! Are there any grant, or otherwise assistance programs available in PA that would assist someone with expenses, who wants to attend? I have a minor lower-body disability btw (doesn’t really have anything to do w/ anything), if any of that helps in your answer. It almost sounds as if you have to be pretty well-off to attend The Lititz Watch Technicum. Thanks alot! D.C.

    • 18 J.Peter November 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm

      You should follow this conversation on watchmakingblog.com but, tools are expected to be paid for by graduation. LWT is a private institution and I am not aware of any assistance programs available. While in school I worked evenings and weekends in order to support myself, my wife, and my child. Needless to say I took on some debt (private student loans) which has sense been paid off. It’s a fantastic opportunity and you should really consider it. Call and talk to the staff at the school and ask them your questions.


  1. 1 A Watchmaker’s Tools « Tick Talk Trackback on January 16, 2008 at 10:15 pm
  2. 2 Basel World Predictions « Tick Talk Trackback on January 24, 2008 at 8:50 pm
  3. 3 Watch Parts « Tick Talk Trackback on January 25, 2008 at 8:53 pm
  4. 4 Certified Watchmaker « Tick Talk Trackback on January 30, 2008 at 8:52 pm
  5. 5 Micromechanics, Part I « Tick Talk Trackback on February 6, 2008 at 9:36 pm
  6. 6 La micromecánica « El Reloj Me Habla Trackback on February 6, 2008 at 10:11 pm
  7. 7 Watchmaker’s Lathe - Made in China? « Tick Talk Trackback on February 18, 2008 at 8:54 pm
  8. 8 Watches I « Tick Talk Trackback on March 17, 2008 at 7:58 pm
  9. 9 Alcohol Lamp & Pallet Warmer « Tick Talk Trackback on March 18, 2008 at 8:31 pm

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