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Discussion in 'Member News and Views' started by Omexa, Jan 29, 2019.
Is time running out for watchmakers? Regards Ray
I think that the short answer is Yes, but it's going to be a long and slow death.
when I just did a search for pocket watches on eBay I got 71,000 hit's
the prices might be falling and watchmakers numbers dwindling over time
but the marketplace is strong on ebay.
The watch/clock repair businesses left now are usually pretty busy because of being to only game in the area. As we retire (I'm approaching 70 myself) there is no one to take our place. When the repair business dies, the remaining common clocks will more than likely be discarded, and the rare ones will have a few years more life in museums .... but the writing is on the wall. I anticipate that the clock business will fail first, followed several years later by analog watches.
The BHI runs courses, West Dean runs courses. they seem to be popular and the people I see are usually young. Obviously it is rather different to when we had tens of thousands of clockmakers, but I think there is a future.
The average annual wage for a journeyman machinist was $44,000/year in 2017.Someone who is capable of being a good clock or watch repair person could instead be a journeyman machinist.The difference between working for wages and running a business is that you need to recognize you are only billable about 50% of the time. You also have to cover the expenses of your shop operation. So, as a quick calculation, you need to make about $88,000/year to get the wage rate and you need to probably add at least 50% to that for your operations overhead. Unlike working for wages, you also carry all the risk of your enterprise.
Say $130,000/year should be your gross income target. If you are billing 1,000 hours a year, you need to charge $130/hour.
If you are working out ot your house and your wife is doing all the paperwork and shipping, you can probably charge quite a bit less, but it is unlikely you can make a reasonable living on less than $65/hour.
On the other hand, if you are really good and have the work planned and lined up, you may be able to do a clock or a watch in an hour.
I would advise you work two 10 hour days per week and spend the rest of the time keeping the wife happy and studying your trade.