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A watchmaker is an artisan who makes and repairs watches. Since a most of watches are now factory made, most modern watchmakers only fix watches. but, first they were master craftsmen who built watches, as well as all their parts, by hand. Modern watchmakers, when obliged to fix older watches, for which substitute parts may not be available, must have fabrication expertise, and can usually make replacements for many of the parts found in a watch. The term clockmaker mentions an equivalent occupation specializing in clocks.
Most practising professional watchmakers service current or recent production watches. They seldom fabricate substitute parts. Instead they get and fit factory spare parts related to the watch brand being serviced. The most of modern watchmakers, especially in Switzerland and Europe, work directly for the Watchmaking business, and may have finished a formal watchmaking degree at a technical school. They also get in house ‘brand’ training at the factory or service center where they’re employed. But, some factory service centers have an approach that lets them to use ‘non watchmakers’ called “oprateurs” who perform only one part of the fix procedure. These greatly experienced workers don’t have a watchmaking degree or certification, but are exactly trained ‘in house’ as technicians to service a few parts of the watch in a true ‘assembly line’ fashion, e.G., one kind of worker will dismantle the watch motion from the case, another will polish the case and bracelet, another will install the dial and hands, etc.. If real watchmakers are employed in such environments, they’re typically employed to service the watch motion.
Caused by factory/genuine spare parts limitations, an rising minority of watchmakers in the USA are ‘independent,’ meaning that they decide not to work directly for business or at a factory service center. One big Swiss watch brand Rolex now pre qualifies independent watchmakers before they supply them with spare parts. This qualification may include, but isn’t restricted to, holding a modern training certification from one of some number of reputable schools, having a workshop environment that meets Rolex’s standards for hygiene, using modern equipment, and being a member of the American Watchmakers Clockmakers Institute. The Omega brand has the same approach. But, the vast most of modern, Swiss brands don’t sell parts to independent watchmakers, irrespective of the watchmaker’s specialty, training or credentials. This business policy is thought to let the Swiss manufacturers to preserve tighter quality control of the after sales service for its watch brands, produce high margins on after sales services 2-4 times what an independent watchmaker could ask, and to lower second hand watchmaking parts on the used and fake market.