Modern clockmakers focus more on repairing clocks and watches than on building these intricate machines that tell time. If you want to become a clockmaker, you will need to study for many years, have an excellent mind for mechanics and possess a steady hand. Most clockmakers learn this trade through a combination of schooling and apprenticeship.
Role Has Changed
For centuries, clocks were handmade works of art, but automation has taken over the manufacturing process. During the 20th century, as factory technology improved and could perform more delicate work, most clocks began to be built by very precise machines. This change drastically altered the clockmaker's job around the world. Few modern timepieces are constructed by hand, so the term "clockmaker" generally refers to someone who is trained to repair these complex machines.
Schooling and Apprenticeship
If you want to become a clockmaker, you could attend a clockmaking or watchmaking school. Classes will help you understand the internal gears and mechanisms that make a clock operate and show you how to repair many timepiece problems. Some countries, such as Denmark, also require an apprenticeship with a master craftsman clockmaker, and it can last for as long as four years. After you are finished with your learning period, you might have to pass a written test to become certified.
There are many skills that you must posses to become a clockmaker. You must be able to read blueprints and instructions for a variety of timepieces, ranging from new watches to antique clocks, so that you will understand their setup and how to repair them. You must have a steady hand and excellent concentration, because you frequently will be working with tiny gears and delicate mechanics. You also will need to be good at making decisions, because many times, there will be more than one way to repair a clock.
Your regular duties, after you become a clockmaker, will revolve around a few basic jobs. The most common job is inspecting a broken timepiece to determine why it is not working properly. Using your training and tools to make the needed repair efficiently is equally important. You also might subject a clock or watch to a variety of tests to ensure that it accurately counts seconds and minutes. Replacing a clock or watch face is an aesthetic job that also is required of a clockmaker.
There are many places to find work if you become a clockmaker. Jewelery shops frequently have repair experts on staff to work on high-end watches and clocks. Antique stores frequently feature restoration and repair departments, with antique clock repairs being one of the services offered. There also still are watch repair shops that deal solely with fixing timepieces.