Advancement of technology is not translated as improvement in every profession, rather it deadens some. One of these professions is watchmaking and watch repairing. Although watchmaking profession that is inherited from the masters by the apprentices is not sought after by the young, the sector still needs masters.
Considered as a favorite profession once, watchmaking is experiencing its final era, just like TV and shoemaking. While those, who wanted to work in this field, endeavored hard to start the job for the masters, currently there are scarcely any young people, who want to continue the profession, although it is still needed. Stated that the demand will rise, with the increased interest of the sector in the mechanical watches, Mustafa Nalçac›, Founder of Konyal› Saat highlights that he does not intend to be the last representative of watchmaking profession, and that the profession’s sustainability must be ensured and young people must be encouraged.
Methods of becoming a watchmaker vary depending on the country. In those countries, where watchmaking profession continues, holding certificate of expertise is sufficient, while those working for watchmaking plants need to be mechanical engineering graduates. In our country, the ones intending to learn watchmaking work for a watchmaker and learn the profession as an apprentice.
Indicated that the training depends on the person’s capability and passion for the profession, Mustafa Nalçac›, talks on those willing to be a watchmaker: “The one willing to be watchmaker has to be interested in subtle and delicate devices. Watchmaking and repairing requires patience and skills. The watchmaker must be creative, like a painter, jeweler and musician. Moreover, those intending to work as a watchmaker or repairer have to be patient and have a strong memory.”
Quartz Technology Sounded the Death Knell for Watchmaking
Upon the invention of solar-powered watches first, then followed by of mechanical watches in 14th century, church, mosque and tower watch repairing era began. From then till 15th century first pocket watches, then wall and desk watches were repaired.
Stated that watchmaking and repairing profession experienced a regression in 20th century, upon the launch of Quartz watches, Mustafa Nalçac› says:
“In 1954, the American firm Accutron manufactured the first electronic wrist watch.
“In 1969, Seiko, the Japanese company launched the first battery-powered, Quartz equipped wrist watch.
“In 1970, the American firm Hamilton launched the world’s first electronic digital electronic wrist watch, under the brand Pulsar.
“In 1982, Japanese and German watch industrialists developed Quartz technology and manufactured the analogue display Quartz movement, as in the mechanical watch.
They launched these watches working more accurately than the mechanical one and sold for the half price of the mechanical one. Therefore, while sales of mechanical watches significantly reduced in 20th century, watchmaking and repairing experienced a regression. Because everyone thought it was the end for the mechanical watch. Interest in and willingness for watchmaking reduced, because repairing Quartz movement definitely requires electronic testing equipment, which means additional investment, and some parts are not handmade as in the mechanical watches. Because some parts of the Quartz movement are so sensitive that they can only be manufactured in electronic parts manufacturing plants, while each and every part of the mechanical watch requires manual labor, on the other hand.
Swiss watchmaking industry experienced a crisis in 1970s and overcame it after 30 years with a giant leap, and its export, which was 3.65 billion dollars in 1986, exceeded 13.6 billion dollars in 2007 and 20 billion dollars in 2012.
Now Swiss Wachmaking needs mechanical watches and mechanical watches need watchmakers.