What traits and characteristics makes a good watchmaker?

When people discover our chosen profession, it is often followed with comments like “You must have very good eyesight” or “you must have the patience of a saint”. In this blog post we hope to outline some of the traits and characteristics we feel makes a good candidate for becoming a watchmaker.

Firstly, having good finger dexterity is important. As watchmakers we are manipulating small components, using hand tools and specialist equipment. The ability to do this with precision and excellent hand-eye coordination is very much required. It is possible to learn and improve this skill, but some natural dexterity is a must.

The other half of hand-eye coordination – good eyesight –  is likewise needed. You don’t need 20/20 vision, but we work using Loupes and Microscopes, so it’s a must to be able to focus clearly on small parts for prolonged periods of time.

Indeed, the nature of our business means we are working on the same job sometimes for hours at a time. Having patience and the ability to concentrate for long spells is vitally important. Anyone without a calm, patient attitude is at a huge disadvantage in the world of watchmaking. Getting frustrated with a job will often only result in problems getting worse.

Showing excellent patience may also mean you’re a perfectionist – another asset in the world of watchmaking. We’re dealing with tiny, intricate mechanisms where small imperfections can make a huge difference to the correct functioning of a watch.

Fixing watches is about identifying and solving problems, so having strength in this area is another plus. Watches are complicated mechanisms, so linked to this is the ability to understand how they work and to then be able to translate this understanding to the watch you’re working on. This means you need good understanding and ability to comprehend often quite technical information.

The above are our main “base” characteristics for who we consider to be an excellent candidate to be a watchmaker. It is possible to learn and enhance some of these traits. Indeed, much of watchmaking is an unending educational journey where skills are constantly honed and knowledge gained. Educational institutions exist to teach watchmakers, though the number of locations is somewhat limited. We support the British Horological Institute as Business Partners and we are in full support of their role leading the education of Watchmakers here in the UK.

Yours sincerely

David Clark FGA DGA MJVA PJDip. PJGemDip.

Managing Director, JVA Registered Valuer®

W.E. Clark & Son Limited