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What to Expect as a Watchmaker

by Jordan Ficklin

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While in watchmaking school we worked on a handful of “common” calibers. Our main repertoire included:

  • Unitas 6497
  • Rolex 1570
  • ETA 2824
  • ETA 2892
  • Valjoux 7750
  • ETA 955.xxx
  • ETA 926.xxx
  • Lemania 1873

We also got limited exposure to some other modern movements and were responsible for providing other watches in an effort to increase our exposure to different calibers while we had constant supervision.

I found this method of instruction extremely beneficial. The skills I developed while working on these few calibers are transferable to the majority of watches on the market today. In fact most of what is sold today has one of the above listed movements in it.

When I left watchmaking school I was under the impression that it was these movements that I would see more than anything. Funny thing is I see very few of the above.

Today I worked on a 7750, but it has probably been a year since I last worked on one. I just don’t see them. The balance in my shop seems to be different.

Here is an idea of my last 30 repairs (excluding the little stuff like band repairs, power cells, etc. as pulled from my repair database:

  • Rolex Datejust Service
  • Full Service Lds Movado
  • Full Service Ladies Bulova
  • Full Service Elgin Wristwatch
  • Full Service Baume & Mercier Quartz
  • Full Service Lds Rolex Datejust
  • Full Service Vintage Rolex
  • Replace Xtal & PC Ladies Movado
  • Replace Qtz Movt Eterna
  • Full Service Rolex 69178 Gold Datejust
  • Full Service Rolex Submariner
  • Replace Qtz Movement Skagen
  • Service Auto & H2O
  • Full Service Breguet Pocket Watch
  • Rolex Regulation
  • Full Service Eljin 0size Pocket Watch
  • Full Service Ladies Rolex Datejust
  • Full Service Movado
  • Full Service Croton Lds w/ xtal, crown & parts
  • Full Service Brixon watch
  • Full Service Quartz
  • Full Service Rolex op
  • Full Service ladies Rolex datejust
  • Full Service Rolex Submariner
  • Full Service Hampden 3/0 size pw
  • Full Service Rolex Ladies datejust
  • Dial Repair & H2O w/ crown & tube
  • Full Service Rolex Oyster Perpetual
  • Full Service Rolex Datejust

Of the above repairs 10 were Rolex services, 5 were quartz and the remaining 15 were vintage mechanical wrist and pocket watches. Excluding Rolex none of these watches contained the calibers in the list from my schooling. Where do people get their modern watches serviced? Not at my shop. How different it could be, somebody somewhere in town must be running a shop where they primarily service the modern stuff. I think I would like some of that work.

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