Tick Talk

Let’s talk about things that tick. 

I often get asked how I became a watchmaker.  At age 28 I am exceptionally young for watchmakers these days.  The average age of watchmakers in the U.S.A. today is about 46 I believe, most are ready to retire and a few youngsters are filling the gap, but not enough.I fix watches because it’s fun!


While in Peru I was standing on a corner waiting for the bus when along comes a thief and breaks my watch off my wrist and takes off running down the street.  It was a $13 Casio!  The hunt began for a new watch.  I wanted a pocket watch on a chain (to prevent further theft.)   I bought a $2 digital in the meantime.  Lots of the relojerias had all kinds of vintage mechanical watches around, and I eventually settled on a 17 Jewel Longines Pocket Watch in a sterling silver case.  While in Peru I also acquired two 17 Jewel omega pocket watches and a broken two register Valjoux chronograph in a beautiful silver case.

Back in the U.S. of A. the Longines hit the floor one day and I learned about balance staffs.  They break you see.  In my search for a new staff I got a $250 quote to repair the watch.  Probably not worth it, I paid less than $20 for the watch.

Years later with trained eyes $250 was probably a bargain that watch has much more wrong with it than just a broken staff. Anyway, I caught the bug.  Mechanical, ticking, time pieces intrigued me.

Before I figured out I could make a career of watchmaking I had forays in architecture ( 2 years of college) and computer science (B.S. from the Univ. of Arizona).  Now I’m a watchmaker!


2 Responses to “Tick Talk”

  1. 1 MG Mastserson August 14, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Hello to you,

    I am new…brand new, to this idea of possibly being a watchmaker. Curious what the typical yearly salary is? I reside in Canada? And is there a demand for this skill in North America…or heck even throughout the world? A dream would be to work on Swiss watches in Europe but I have no idea how difficult that might be.

    I am 42 years-old btw….

    Thanks for the informative blog,

    – Mark

    PS…If one repairs/cleans watches would they still call themselves watchmakers?


    • 2 J.Peter August 15, 2011 at 7:02 am

      You should swing over to the updated version of this blog at http://www.watchmakingblog.com where you will find much more great information. Concisely: the pay is adequate to good, the demand is high, and yes repair is what a watchmaker does. If you want to work in Switzerland, you better go to a Swiss school, however. They don’t put a lot of stock in the education received over here.

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