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The watchmaking taster days are tailor-made experiences so you can dip your toes into the fascinating world of horology.

It is an ideal gift to give to someone interested in watches and all things horological.

 

The day will begin with understanding how a mechanical watch works by way of videos and PowerPoint presentations projected on to a 100-inch screen.

There will be two presentations over the day; one for completely disassembling the watch movement and the other to aid in assembling the watch. By the end of the day, you will have a basic understanding of how a watch works and goes together. There is also plenty of time to ask any questions.

You will be working on a copy of a Swiss pocket watch developed in the 1940s and widely used in modern-day wristwatches. 

The ST36 which is a copy of the ETA 6497 is a very big watch movement, which helps when using tweezers, fine screwdrivers, and a loupe, which magnifies the work, especially for those using these tools for the first time. There are also high-powered stereo microscopes on each workbench to help with seeing the micromechanical world of watchmaking.

Jon the Watch will expertly guide you through the disassembly and then assembly of this iconic watch movement, explaining how each part of the watch works and how they all interact with each other.

This is an amazing opportunity to experience what a watchmaker does every day, in a small class of up to six students.

The cost of the taster day is £95.

The next Sunday taster days are on Sunday 28th April, 26th May, 23rd June, 21st July, 15th September, 13th October and 10th November 2024.

 

Contact me at jon@jonthewatch.co.uk to book a place.

PowerPoint slide from taster day

PowerPoint slide from the Taster day

Weekend taster day students

Taster day

Taster day student using his microscope to disassemble a watch

Taster day

Weekend taster day student disassembling a watch

Taster day

Watchmaking taster day watch

ST36

Taster day

Taster day

Height-adjustable workbenches 

Introduction:

Welcome to London Watchmaking School, where we offer comprehensive horological courses designed for individuals ranging from complete beginners to seasoned horologists and professional watchmakers. Our comprehensive 40-week program (120 hours) aims to provide both practical and theoretical understanding in watch servicing and repair catering to various skill levels

Background:

Four years ago, I wrote and created a course for complete beginners at Epping Forest Horology Centre (EFHC) in Essex, delivering 120 hours of training over 40 weeks. Following the success of that course, I expanded my offerings to create a comprehensive second-year program focusing on advanced watchmaking techniques with more complicated watch movements.

London Watchmaking School - Course Overview

Here at London Watchmaking School, we teach a Year One course and a Year Two course in the workshop, as well as real-time online remote lessons using a multi-camera streaming system, for those that can't attend the in-house lessons here in South London.

Bespoke tuition is also provided. We have trained watchmakers from watch companies and service centres such as Christopher Ward Watches, Mr. Jones Watches, Camden Watch Company and WTC Watch Repairs, to name a few, as well as jewellers who want to gain the skills to perform in-house work.

 

Year One Course Structure

  • Entry Level: Assumes no prior knowledge of watch mechanics.

  • Duration: 40 weeks (120 hours).

  • Lesson Format: Three-hour sessions each week, including 30 – 45 minutes of theory followed by a practical watchmaking session.

  • Materials: Lessons in PowerPoint format will be provided weekly via cloud-based storage.

  • PowerPoint: 40 PowerPoint presentations with over 2500 pages of videos and detailed pictorial content.

Course Content

Participants will gain expertise in a wide range of watchmaking skills, including but not limited to:

  • Servicing hand-wound mechanical movements.

  • History and development of watchmaking.

  • Tools, techniques, and workshop practices.

  • Opening watch cases.

  • Disassembly, reassembly, and fault checking of movements.

  • Lever escapements: Action, checking, adjusting, and regulation.

  • Keyless-work variations and understanding functions of parts.

  • Fault finding: Understanding how a watch works and why it doesn’t.

  • Using a watchmaker’s staking tool.

  • Bench metalwork skills: Cut, file, shape, and polish.

  • Acrylic, mineral & sapphire crystal removal and replacement.

  • Theoretical and practical aspects of watchmaking.

  • Using a watch cleaning machine.

  • Oiling of jewels.

  • Polishing pivots & pinions using a jacot tool.

  • Making hand levers – Annealing, hardening & tempering skills.

  • Adjusting and regulating working serviced movements.

  • Using a timegrapher – Fault finding & timing.

  • Detailed understanding of how the Swiss lever escapement works.

  • Full strip-down, fault finding, cleaning, assembly, and lubrication of every movement in each module.

  • Ability to oil both shockproof and non-shock-proofed cap jewels in vintage and modern watches.

Course Outcome

By the completion of the 120-hour course, participants will:

  • Gain an intimate understanding of how a watch works.

  • Know why it works in a particular way.

  • Learn how to correct most faults.

Certification

The course does not provide a qualification of its own but aims to equip students with practical and theoretical knowledge in watch servicing and repair, along with useful techniques and tips.

Professional Development

For those considering a professional qualification in the future:

  • Bring a camera to document your progress.

  • Make your own notes to build a portfolio.

  • Course options and professional advice are available.

 

Success Stories

Four previous students who completed the first and second-year courses are now employed as watchmakers and technicians on a full-time basis.

One student who completed the first-year course is now furthering his training with Patek Phillipe in Switzerland after successfully completing a bench-test and several interviews. Another first-year student has recently enrolled at Birmingham University to begin his two-year WOSTEP training in watchmaking.

Tools and Equipment

  • Each height adjustable workbench is equipped with simul-focal stereo microscopes.

  • All equipment is provided to use in the workshop, such as staking tools, jewelling tools, timegraphers, cleaning machines, etc.

  • All necessary tools for the course are available in our 'starter' tool boxes for the first six weeks.

  • Students are encouraged to build their own collection of tools by week 5 or 6.

  • The approximate cost for a basic tool kit is £150 (excluding the price of a toolbox).

Books and Learning Materials

  • Recommended books to supplement learning.

  • Guidance on tools, prices, and where to acquire them.

  • The first watch is an ST36, provided at an additional cost of £80.

Further Learning

  • Suggestions for additional tools and equipment for home practice.

  • Advice on expanding tool collection based on individual progress.

First Year Course Cost and Schedule

  • £1200 for the 40-week course.

  • Additional £80 covers the cost of the first watch and spare parts.

  • Term begins on Tuesday, 10th September 2024.

  • Lessons held from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

  • Three terms over the academic year; between 11 to 15 weeks in each term.

  • Online lessons available simultaneously for remote learning students.

Location

Wimbledon Art Studios, near Tooting, South London, SW17 0BB.

  • 10 minutes from Tooting Broadway Tube Station.

  • Nearest mainline station: Earlsfield.

 

At London Watchmaking School, our goal is to empower first year students with the skills and knowledge needed to be able to service and repair most hand-wound mechanical and quartz watches. Our course offers a unique and enriching learning experience.

Year Two Prerequisites and Course Structure

The Year Two Course at London Watchmaking School is designed for individuals with a strong practical and theoretical understanding of hand-wound mechanical watches. It covers more advanced topics, including automatic and chronograph movements. If you haven't attended the Year One Course, a bench test and written exam will be required to assess your skills. Real-time online lessons using a multi-camera streaming system is provided.

The first-year watchmaking course focussed on the basics of hand wound mechanical watch movements and various gear train layouts, as well as different processes of adjustments and regulation.

Once the theoretical and practical principles of the Swiss lever escapement are understood and put into practice, then more complicated watches with more complications are worked on to further your skills and knowledge, as well as becoming adept with advanced repairs and fabrication of parts.

Because the watches in the second year are more complicated, the prices will reflect that. We will work on two automatic watches and three chronographs which students will purchase for the course content.

 

Second Year Content and Skills Covered

The Year Two Course includes:

  • Advanced Level: Must have a good practical and theoretical knowledge of hand-wound watch movements.

  • Duration: 40 weeks (120 hours).

  • Lesson Format: Three-hour sessions each week, including 30 – 45 minutes of theory followed by a practical watchmaking session.

  • Materials: Lessons in PowerPoint format will be provided weekly via cloud-based storage.

  • PowerPoint: 40 PowerPoint presentations with over 2500 pages of videos and detailed pictorial content.

  • Advanced servicing and repair of automatic and chronograph movements.

  • Use of jeweling tools, adjustment of end-shake, bushing main-plates and bridges.

  • Use of an 8 mm watchmaker’s lathe.

  • Tool making, pallet stone setting and replacement, balance staff replacement.

  • Dynamic and static poising of balances, fabrication of keyless work, and more.

  • Hairspring manipulation.

  • Keyless work fabrication.

  • Ultimately gain an intimate understanding how automatic and chronograph watch movements work.

Course Features

  • The course does not provide a qualification but focuses on practical and theoretical understanding in servicing complicated watch movements.

  • Recommendations for professional qualifications and career guidance.

  • Success stories of students gaining employment with established watch companies.

Course Cost and Additional Expenses

  • £1440 for the 40-week course.

  • £35 for an ETA 6497 clone movement (ST36) to perform various tasks, such as jewelling, pallet stone setting, bushing and keyless work fabrication.

  • Two automatic watches and three chronograph watches will need to be purchased by students..

  • Three terms over the academic year; between 11 to 15 weeks in each term.

Tools and Equipment

  • Simul focal stereo microscopes available for intricate tasks, such as pallet stone setting.

  • Guidance on the purchase of movements for personal use and course content.

  • Additional tools and equipment discussed for in-home practice.

Learning Materials

  • Over 2500 PowerPoint pages of video and pictorial content.

  • Detailed instructions and guidance for advanced skills and techniques.

Course Schedule and Location

  • Term begins in September 2025.

  • Lessons held from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

  • Location: Wimbledon Art Studios, near Tooting, South London, SW17 0BB.

  • Nearest tube: Tooting Broadway.

  • Nearest mainline station: Earlsfield.

At the London Watchmaking School, our goal is to empower students with the advanced skills and knowledge needed to understand, service and repair complicated movements. Our courses offer a unique and enriching learning experience.

For further inquiries or enrolment information, please contact us at jon@jonthewatch.co.uk

Watchmaking is love made visible

Evening courses at London Watchmaking School

Watchmaking classroom

A student practicing using a graver on a watchmaker's lathe 

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Stereo microscopes

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Using a centering microscope

WHC Student oiling pallet jewels

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Students at EFHC, Essex setting pallet jewels

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