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AWCI BOD

It is with great honor that I have accepted the nomination to run for the Board of Directors of AWCI. As you may know, I am a young watchmaker (32) with 5 years experience as a watchmaker in a retail jewelry store. I have been a member of AWCI since I joined in 2006 while attending the Lititz Watch Technicum. I graduated from LWT with my LWT diploma, WOSTEP certificate, and CW21. Prior to my pursuit of watchmaking I earned a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Arizona, spent two years in Peru as a missionary where I purchased my first mechanical timepiece, and worked for 3 years in sales at a retail jewelry store.

I attended my first annual convention in August of 2008 and it was a real eye-opener for me to see how this wonderful organization operates. Shortly after attending that convention I began serving on the HT Committee and wrote my first article for Horological Times. I currently chair the HT Committee and serve on the Strategic Actions Committee and Marketing Committee.

AWCI is an organization which I feel has a bright future. I have many, many more years of watchmaking ahead of me and I want AWCI to be an organization which supports me throughout my career. I have a bright vision for AWCI. I feel the organization has much to offer me and I would like to help move it to action which will help the future of watchmakers. I know the organization is run by volunteers and together we can get much benefit from AWCI by each doing our part. While AWCI has much to offer each of us, most of us also have much to offer AWCI.

AWCI has done much to change the perception of the watchmaker and clockmaker. The CW21 and CC21 programs have really helped define the minimum requirements for watchmakers and clockmakers who wish to work on modern timepieces. It is time for the educational focus to broaden to include those who employ watchmakers as well as those performing the work. The standards set forth for CW21 watchmakers truly are minimums but many employment situations make it difficult for a watchmaker to adhere to even these standards. AWCI needs to help employers understand that a watchmaker (certified or not) who adheres to the standards set forth by AWCI is a real asset to any retail establishment. A watchmaker who adheres to these standards will drive traffic, make customers happy (with fewer comebacks), and generate profits for the store. Highly skilled, well educated, professional watchmakers add to the prestige of a fine jewelry store. A watchmaker in a retail store is truly an asset, but even stores who use a watchmaker’s services who doesn’t work on site should seek out a highly skilled watchmaker who will provide high quality service which meets the standards set forth by AWCI and the watchmaking industry as a whole.

AWCI has been attending some of the industry trade shows and I think we need to continue to do this but the real way to help retail store owners understand the value of using the services of a highly skilled AWCI watchmaker is for the customers to demand it. AWCI should broaden its retail marketing to reach more of the consumers who are seeking the services of a watchmaker or clockmaker. AWCI represents professional watchmakers. While AWCI should continue to provide education to the watchmaker it is time for them also to act in the watchmaker’s interest and promote our services to employers and consumers.

Educating the Watchmaker

Over the past few years many watchmakers have achieved the CW21, yet most of the courses offered by AWCI are still geared towards preparing more watchmakers to meet these minimum standards. While this is an important facet of our organization I would like to see more classes which focus on preparing watchmakers to become the master watchmakers of tomorrow. There are many masters in our organization. I will encourage these individuals to share their vast knowledge with the next generation of watchmakers. These master watchmakers should be teaching courses in restoration, complications, finishing techniques, and more.

Question posed to Candidates for the BOD
With membership declining, and thus revenue’s declining, what course of action do you think the AWCI board of directors should be taking to revitalize the needs of current AWCI members that would also entice new members? We realize we have an improved Horological Times and a new website, but what besides that, could we do as an organization?

Though I promote AWCI and try to be an ambassador for an organization from which I receive great value, others believe that the organization acts against the interests of its members. I believe the best way to attract more professionals to join AWCI is simply by continuing to be professional. The board needs to communicate freely with the entire horological community and listen to their needs. I want to represent YOU and advance YOUR cause. I want AWCI to help retailers understand the value of choosing a professional horologist for their repairs and to help employers understand the needs of a watchmaker or clockmaker who is going to perform the highest quality repair. I want to help consumers understand what to expect from a professional watchmaker or clockmaker. How will this increase membership? When somebody wants quality watch repair we want them to look for the AWCI logo. When consumers, employers, watchmakers, and clockmakers associate AWCI with the best in timepiece repair, membership will be an essential tool in every horologist’s chest.

If you have any questions for me regarding any of the issues watchmakers, clockmakers, and AWCI face today please feel free to leave a comment on this page and I will do my best to clarify my position and address your concerns.

Vote for Jordan P. Ficklin for AWCI Board of Directors.

7 Comments

  1. Posted April 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Jordan,

    I read through your posting and come to conclude that you already adopted the industry’s policies and never mentioned independent watchmakers/clockmakers need. You omit to state that independent watchmakers/clockmakers have a major problem, parts availability. That parts availability problem can without a doubt be blamed upon AWCI.
    What is your solution to solve that dire situation?

    You wrote the following:

    “AWCI are still geared towards preparing more watchmakers to meet these minimum standards.”
    “When somebody wants quality watch repair we want them to look for the AWCI logo”

    Please explain how “quality watch repair” relate to “minimum standards”.

    Andre

  2. J.Peter
    Posted April 27, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Andre,

    1. Parts Situation: The ability to purchase parts is of course a major problem for watchmakers. Many fine brands refuse to sell parts to anyone, others limit sales only to those who sell their watches. As a single individual serving on a board of 11 I don’t imagine I will have enough influence to change AWCI’s policy towards this issue. My personal opinion is that they best way to solve this problem is to show the industry that good watchmakers are an asset to them. Let’s demonstrate that retail stores with watchmakers have higher customer satisfaction, sell more watches, and give the brand a better image. Channels of communication between watchmakers and “industry” have been closed down on both sides. I would like to open those channels back up and one way to do that is to get some fresh new faces associated with the organization.

    2. When I refer to “minimum standards” in watch repair I mean the ability to service a watch cleanly and precisely. I am referring to the ability to execute the minimum set of skills to the highest level. The CW21 doesn’t test the entire set of skills required for complicated restorations or manufacturing a timepiece, but it does require an individual to show their mastery of the basics. Someone who can prove themselves in this skill set can perform high quality work on most of the watches on the market today, but that is not enough. As a watchmaker who has mastered the basic skills I want to help move AWCI towards educating watchmakers in the higher level skills required for complete mastery of our profession. There are so many knowledgeable watchmakers among us. I fear that many of them will pass away before I have the chance to learn from them. The master watchmakers among us should be teaching their skills to the next generation of watchmakers or there will be no watchmaking in the future.

  3. Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Jordan,

    Let me be frank with you and place you exactly where we are at this juncture in the watch servicing. That should give you a direction based on facts and not on supposition or hearsay.

    1. Parts bear no relation to watchmaker’s technical abilities. The proof is easily understood, parts account are close to the most qualified watchmakers.
    2. The reason approximately 60 Swiss watch companies stopped the sale of their parts to watchmakers is a matter of greed and control.
    3. The doors are not closed, far away however, again approximately 60 Swiss watch companies will not change their policies that bring them hundred of million yearly, and if you do not accept these policies they ignore you.
    4. Learning from the eldest and qualified make no longer any sense for two reasons: First without parts no one can work, then the industry could careless of your knowledge unless you accept to enforce their policies. For some is to learn from them, an example Swatch force watchmaker to learn how to oil what their own web site claim should not be oiled. Just writing it makes me laugh!!

    I must state as fact again would you be able to say that one technical question was not answered on HM? No the eldest or knowledgeable always give an answer with explanation.
    I follow by stating again that you can learn by studying technical information. Imagine how absurd is, taking a course on how to oil a Rolex that has been on the market for over 50 years? Watches are not difficult to understand and certainly when you know how to oil one 99% of others are oiled the same way. Example any shockproof system is always oiled the same way regardless of the brand a minimum of half the surface of the jewel to a maximum of ¾ of the surface of the jewel. Now for the choice of the oil experience will guide you more than anything else since most have different choices, but most of us the eldest do try them and then decide.
    One more important point, you can’t please every companies’ request, oils, grease, techniques, tooling and machines, they all have different requirements. I already explained the difference of watchmaker’s technical training: one will learn to prepare him-self/her-self to work in a company, the other will learn to be ready to repair/servicing any watch presented to him/her.

    To conclude the Swiss watch industry is preparing watchmaker skill to fit their need only, the one who can repair/service any watch on the market is today considered as competition and must be eliminated at all cost. I let you figure out where AWCI fits.

    Andre

  4. J.Peter
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Andre, I appreciate your comments. It is my impression based on many conversations that you feel AWCI does no good for the watchmakers of today and that you see no value in a watchmaking organization. I see value in it and seek to improve the only organization for watchmakers that exists currently in the United States.

    The only question that goes unanswered on Horology-Matters is the one I posed about what watchmakers want from a watchmaking organization. Not one idea has been given yet.

    I appreciate your ideas, I read them, I think about them and they do help me formulate my ideas and views of the watchmaking profession. I do not believe that you are a member of AWCI so I will say no more to try and acquire your vote.

  5. Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I am not a member of the AWCI and I do not consider myself a watchmaker yet. One of the biggest reasons for both is the absurd lack of learning opportunities in this community. Those like me who wish to learn more of the watchmakers trade are left with two very different paths. One is to do the Tascione/WatchDoc/Tope/forum/Timezone type learn at home education or to give up all current employment and spend an exorbitant amount on ‘real’ schooling. I am an IT person by trade and in my late 30′s. I cannot just walk away from everything and go back to school. I have earned several gemstone/jewelry accreditations from the GIA and ISG. Why isn’t there a similar industry accepted education/accreditation for people who wish to become watchmakers. The ability to study at home and refine your skills, then spend a weekend showing proficiency at a testing facility would be greatly appreciated by some. In fact, it may lead to more people becoming members of the AWCI. I see no reason to join, as from what I have seen, it promotes those who are ‘professionals’ and does little to help those who wish to become professional.

  6. Jose G
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I am going to have to agree with Robert as a tenured IT professional. There doesn’t appear to be a ‘night school’ track for earning the necessary industry education and accreditations. A learning process that is more the norm than unique in the IT environment.

    How would AWCI promote those learning avenues in the US? How can an analytic mind with an engineering degree prepare for a second career and be a valued asset to a the retail industry sooner rather then later? What should the apprentice’s roadmap look like before marketing themselves to the retail industry?

    As a proponent to for the watchmaker and clockmaker, addressing the needs of the late bloomer is an important step. Right now, AWCI does not call this career approach on their website. IF AWCI would support us, then hopefully the schools would understand the demand.

    Jose

  7. Michael
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    AWCI sold out, in my opinion, to Rolex when they adopted the CW21. Instead of fighting for the independent watchmaker they took a check from Rolex. Why? Because they are a dying organization. Watchmakers like myself (wostep independent) feel marginalized and disenfranchised by the organization. I stopped being a member several years ago. I believe membership is dwindling but would appreciate seeing numbers showing membership the last ten years.

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