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Clockmaker around 1568
Watchmaker's room in the Black Forest (around 1900)

A watchmaker is an inventor , designer or builder of watches , especially mechanical watch movements and their accessories. The job also includes the maintenance and care of watches of all kinds (compare the difference between watchmaker and clockmaker in English). A watchmaker's objects also include the display of other values ​​derived from time (see complications ) or completely different values ​​(using other measuring instruments , for example barometers ).


The first watchmakers were locksmiths and blacksmiths who (with the grinders ) belonged to a common guild, which also included winch makers and, from the 16th century, gunsmiths . Even after watchmakers' guilds had emerged in Germany in the middle of the 16th century, locksmiths had the right to build clocks. The first watchmakers' associations can be found in Dresden in 1540 , still united with the guild of small smiths and without compulsion to master the masterpiece, in Paris in 1544 and in London in 1631 with the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers . Watchmaking was first an art , later a craft . The clockmakers, who in the 18th century were divided into large clockmakers (with three years of apprenticeship and three years of traveling as a journeyman) and small watchmakers (with four years of apprenticeship and at least four years - "Muthjahren" - wandering) were the pioneers of precision mechanics .

In some regions, such as the Black Forest or certain areas of Switzerland , the manufacture of clocks at home or in factories , which enabled correspondingly large quantities , began as early as the end of the 18th century . But other regions also developed their own watchmaking tradition, which can still be recognized today by the various types of historical watches. With the beginning of the industrial production of clocks in the 19th century, the job description changed in such a way that the manufacture of new clocks completely took a back seat to trade, maintenance and repair. Especially after the Second World War, with the advent of cheap, industrially manufactured quartz watches , the profession experienced a significant decline. Today it is largely limited to the repair and maintenance of high-quality luxury watches and the restoration of antique pieces, although appropriate specialists are in great demand.

Today's profession watchmaker

Watchmaker at the shooting

job profile

The watchmaker deals with the manufacture, assembly, dismantling, repair and restoration of clockworks and accessories, especially the watch case , i.e. with construction drawings, mechanical, electrical and electronic components of large and small clockworks in series and individual production as well as troubleshooting, maintenance and care , Testing and adjustment of modern and historical clocks as well as with the basics and with applied time measurement technology . In addition, the manufacture and maintenance of the highly specialized equipment form part of his activity.

The professional field includes

  • Tradespeople and specialist salespeople or specialist advisors in the jewelry industry and in technical customer service .
  • In the watch industry , the watchmaker, as a professional, is the specialist who instructs and supervises other workers. He carries out complicated work and is responsible for quality assurance .
  • In the service sector, watchmakers are responsible for the care, maintenance and preservation of watches - this type of occupation is also called rhabilleur . The spectrum ranges from battery changes and revisions to complex restorations of historical large and small watches ( watch restorer) .
  • The fittings specialist is a watchmaker in the spare parts trade (watch fittings trade) .
  • Galvanists, polishers, cadranographers, micro-draftsmen and micro-mechanics are further training courses in the watchmaking sector.

The job description of the watchmaker still fundamentally differentiates between industry and craft, whereby the transitions are fluid among the small, independent watch manufacturers (e.g. in the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants ).

  • Industry: Manufacture of clocks and other precision mechanical measuring devices.
  • Craft: maintenance and repair of all types of clocks and other timing devices.
  • Merchandise management: the management of equipment and spare parts.

Watchmakers work independently on the basis of technical documents and work orders. They obtain information, plan and coordinate their work and coordinate it with others, in particular with customers, business owners and colleagues. They also take quality assurance measures, document their performance and take measures for occupational safety , health and environmental protection at work. Because of their extensive training in micromechanics , watchmakers are also skilled workers in aircraft construction , prototyping and measurement and control technology .

The employment figures for watchmakers in jobs subject to social security contributions in Germany fell significantly from 1999 with 4,391 employees to 2011 with 2949 employees.

Vocational training

The training to become a watchmaker takes three years in Germany and ends with a journeyman's certificate . In Austria, apprentices are trained as time measurement technicians for three and a half years and at the end take the final apprenticeship examination.

In Switzerland, depending on the subject, you are trained for three to four years and then - after successfully completing the final apprenticeship examination - you receive a federal certificate of proficiency . In all three countries, training can now be done in two ways:

The remuneration during the training

The trainees receive a monthly training allowance from the company, the amount of which is determined in a collective agreement and which varies from state to state. For the apprenticeship "watchmaker" it was on average in 2011:

Industry and trade, old federal states

1st year of training: € 818
2nd year of training: € 866
3rd year of training: € 942

New federal states recommendation IHK (industrial metal sector) from September 1, 2011

1st year of training: € 743
2nd year of training: € 764
3rd year of training: € 827

Advanced training

Master watchmaker

Master in watchmaking (certificate) - Dresden Chamber of Crafts - on July 16, 1958

After completing the training, further training to become a master is possible. The watchmaker is by its triple qualification a specialist in his field, a trainer and an entrepreneur.

Restoration of old clocks

In Germany, a further training opportunity for the watchmaking profession was created from 2007. Trained master watchmakers can qualify as a recognized restorer in the watchmaking trade with a final examination. A new qualification was created so that customers - be they private clients, collectors or public institutions such as museums - can be sure that their art-historically valuable instruments will be in the hands of experts.

The modern craftsman is confronted with historical objects that require a different approach to what is taught in conventional craft training. A broad knowledge of historical craft techniques that have long been practiced no longer is required, as is knowledge of the materials used in earlier times. In addition, extensive research in specialist literature or archives and museums may be necessary to determine the presumed appearance of missing parts. The exact written and pictorial documentation of the work carried out is also often required for a professional restoration.

In line with the long tradition of watchmaking, specialization in restoration is possible in Switzerland as early as basic training. The training to become a watchmaker can be completed in the so-called Rhabillage field . Special courses are offered for further training.

In Austria, further training in restoration is offered as course training for watchmaking guilds and schools.

Watchmaking schools

In Germany, the first watchmaking school was founded in Furtwangen in the Black Forest in 1850 , in Switzerland in 1868 the watchmaking school in Le Locle , in Austria in 1873 in Karlstein an der Thaya .

Historical schools

Vocational and professional schools


  • Germany
    • Central association for watches, jewelry and timekeeping technology
    • Association of the German Watch Industry (WPG)
    • German Society for Chronometry (DGC)

Historical German-language watchmaker magazines

  • General Journal of Watchmaking. Leipzig / Halle (1876), from 1915 watchmaking (until 1943)
  • German watchmaker newspaper. Berlin (1877 to 1944)
  • Schweizerische Uhrmacher-Zeitung / Journal Suisse des Horlogers. Bern (from 1879), later Swiss watchmaker and goldsmith newspaper
  • Austro-Hungarian watchmaker newspaper. Vienna (1882 to around 1918)
  • Süddeutsche Uhrmacher-Zeitung. Augsburg (1889 to 1941, 52 volumes)
  • Leipziger Uhrmacher-Zeitung. Leipzig (1893), from 1927 Die Uhrmacher-Woche , 1949 combined with the Deutsche Uhrmacher-Zeitschrift
  • The watchmaker. Vienna (1928 to 1938 and 1948 to 1956), later goldsmith and watchmaker newspaper
  • New watchmaker newspaper. Ulm (1947 to 1972), later jewelry and watches
  • The clock. Bielefeld (1947 to 1972), later watches, jewelery, jewelry
  • Watches and jewelry. (East) Berlin (1964 to 1990)

Well-known watchmakers

In addition to extremely skilled watchmakers, this list also includes some physicists and engineers who have dealt extensively with watchmaking.

See also


  • Johann Heinrich Moritz von Poppe: Joh. Heinr. Moritz Poppe's practical handbook for watchmakers, watch dealers and watch owners; Or: complete lexicon and explanation of the terms and artificial words that occur in the manufacture, repair, and use of all kinds of clockworks, along with the tools and other equipment associated with them . New edition. Sommer, Leipzig 1810. Digitized version (published in 2 volumes)
  • Charles Octavius ​​Swinnerton Morgan : Observations on the History and Progress of the Art of Watchmaking, from the earliest Period to modern Times (In a Letter from Octavius ​​Morgan, Esq., MP, FSA, to Sir Henry Ellis, KH, Secretary). In: Archaeologia: or Miscellaneous tracts relating to Antiquitiy. Volume 33, 1849, pp. 84-100.
  • Le Livre d'Or de l'Horlogerie. Geneva / Neuchâtel 1927.
  • Hermann Sievert: Guide to the watchmaker's apprenticeship. 13th edition. Berlin 1931.
  • R. Lavest: Basic knowledge of watchmaking. 2nd Edition. Biel 1945.
  • A. Chapuis (Ed.): L'Horlogerie. Une Tradition Helvétique. Neuchâtel 1948.
  • Enrico Morpurgo : Dizionario degli orologiai italiani. 1300-1880. Rome 1950; extends Milan 1974.
  • GA Berner: Dictionnaire Professionel illustré de l'Horlogerie. La Chaux-de-Fonds 1961.
  • Luigi Pippa: masterpieces of watchmaking. Milan 1966.
  • Jürgen Abeler : Master of watchmaking. Over 14,000 watchmakers from the German-speaking area with life or impact data and a list of their works. Wuppertal 1977.
  • Carl Schulte: Lexicon of watchmaking. Handbook for all tradespeople and artists in the watch industry. 2nd revised, greatly increased edition. Hübner, Bautzen 1902 (photomechanical reprint: Callwey-Verlag, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-7667-0432-X ).
  • Eva Groiss: The Augsburg watchmaking trade. In: The world as a clock. German clocks and automata 1550–1650. Edited by Klaus Maurice and Otto Mayr. Exhibition catalogs Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich 1980, pp. 63–89.
  • GH Baillie: Watchmakers & Clockmakers of the World. Volume 1. New edition, London 1982.
  • Elena Introna, Gabriele Ribolini: I Grandi dell 'Orologio. Zeta Edizioni, Monza (Italy) 1992.
  • Gerhard Dohrn-van Rossum , Marcus Popplow: clock, clockmaker. In: Encyclopedia of Modern Times. Volume 13: Subsistence farming - vassal. Stuttgart 2011, Col. 887-896.

TV documentary

Web links

Commons : Watchmaker  - Collection of images, videos and audio files



Individual evidence

  1. Hans-Peter Trenschel: The Würzburg guild of locksmiths, rifle, watch and winch makers . In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes; Volume 2: From the Peasants' War in 1525 to the transition to the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1814. Theiss, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8062-1477-8 , pp. 448–453, here: pp. 448–450.
  2. ^ Klaus Maurice: From clocks and automata . Prestel, Munich 1968.
  3. Hans-Peter Trenschel: The Würzburg guild of locksmiths, rifle, watch and winch makers . 2004, p. 450 f.
  4. Watchmaker in the profession of the Federal Employment Agency
  5. Professions and training in the watchmaking sector. In: CPIH. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  6. Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BiBB) - watchmaker - training profile ( Memento from October 16, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  7. with reference to the IAB research group on professional labor markets
  8. ^ Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BiBB) - watchmaker
  9. Ordinance: "Watchmaker" (PDF; 78 kB)
  10. Federal Ministry of Economics, Family and Youth - Ordinance "Uhrmacher / in"  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  11. Training information from the Swiss Service Center for Vocational Training, Vocational, Study and Career Advice SDBB.
  13.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  14. Hessian watchmaking school - master watchmaker
  15. a b Bavarian master school for the watchmaking trade
  16. Ordinance: "Master watchmaker" ( BGBl. 2005 I p. 3122 )
  17. Page no longer available , search in web archives: Master Examination Regulations Switzerland@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  18. Restorer - watchmaker's trade in the profession of the Federal Employment Agency
  19. Hessian watchmaking school - restorer in the watchmaking trade
  20. Restorer in the watchmaking trade
  21. Information on the Rhabillage department of the Swiss Service Center for Vocational Training, Vocational, Study and Career Advice SDBB.
  22. Further education information Austria of the Institute for Educational Research of the Economy
  23. The museum. Musée d'horlogerie du Locle, accessed February 12, 2017 .
  24. ^ Franz Oberthür School in Würzburg
  25. ^ Vocational school for watchmakers in Hamburg
  26. BSZ Freital-Dippoldiswalde, Glashütte branch
  27. Goldsmith School with Watchmaking School Pforzheim ( Memento from December 1, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  28. ^ Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School
  29. Hessian Watchmaking School (HUS)
  30. Robert-Gerwig-Schule Furtwangen ( Memento of the original from April 11, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  31. ^ State fine engineering school Villingen-Schwenningen
  32. Max Born Vocational College
  33. ^ Federal College for Watchmakers in Karlstein an der Thaya
  34. Clock Museum Karlstein an der Thaya
  35. CFP-BBZ Biel-Bienne  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  36. Ecole d'horlogerie de Porrentruy
  37. CFPT- Ecole d'horlogerie de Genève
  38. Ecole technique neuchatelois ( Memento of July 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  39. ETVJ - Ecole technique de la Vallée de Joux
  40. WOSTEP International School of Watchmaking
  41. Leisure Center Uhrmacherschule Grenchen
  42. ^ Technical school Schoonhoven, Netherlands
  43. Association of the German Watch Industry (WPG)
  44. ^ Austrian federal guild of gold and silversmiths, jewelers and watchmakers
  45. ^ Association of German-Swiss watch manufacturers
  46. ^ Association of Swiss goldsmiths and watch shops
  47. ^ Convention patronale de l'industrie horlogère suisse
  48. ^ Fédération Horlogère Suisse
  49. ^ Helmut Kahlert , Richard Mühe , Gisbert L. Brunner , Christian Pfeiffer-Belli: wrist watches: 100 years of development history. Callwey, Munich 1983; 5th edition, ibid. 1996, ISBN 3-7667-1241-1 , p. 510.
  50. ^ M. Loeske: Deutscher Uhrmacher-Kalender 1923 S. 82-87, Uhrmacher Jahrbuch 1956, S. 78f, quoted from Volker Vyskocil: What when happened. In: Retrieved June 8, 2008 .
  51. ^ Fritz Staudacher: Jost Bürgi, Kepler and the Kaiser . 4th edition. NZZ Libro, Zurich 2018, ISBN 978-3-03810-345-5 , p. 127-130 .
  52. Fritz von Osterhausen: Callweys lexicon . Callwey, Munich 1999, ISBN 978-3-7667-1353-7 , p. 187.
  53. ^ History. Haarwood Watch Co. Switzerland, accessed June 8, 2008 .