Patek Philippe Watchmaking school

Discussion in 'Horological Misc' started by kinsler33, Nov 6, 2018.

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  1. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
    Science teacher, writer
    Lancaster, Ohio, USA
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    I should really post this in one of the watch fora (is that the plural of forum?) and perhaps someone in the horological Supreme Soviet could place it somewhere appropriate. But I wanted to post it here because it's about the strangest thing I've read in a long time. It came from one of the members of my howthingwork yahoo group.

    Inside Patek Philippe's watchmaking school | British GQ

    Now, I learned to whatever it is I do horologically pretty much on my own, with some help from a boss or two as well as books. And watchmaking schools have existed as long as watches. But have a look at the educational techniques described in this article. It's quite possible that it's a hoax.

    Mark Kinsler
  2. mauleg

    mauleg Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 26, 2012
    N. Mariana Islands
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    I doubt it's a hoax; modern employee indoctrination techniques such as those described in the article are fairly common; Google employees, for example, must undergo a rigorous apprenticeship with similar indoctrination techniques.
  3. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
    I don't think this is a hoax either. PP are not the only watchmakers with strict standards, others also have very stringent requirements.

    What surprises me most is the way the writer of the article seems to find the high standards odd.

  4. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 5, 2007
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    The two year WOSTEP program is (was?) very similar. First 1/2 year is spent on theory and making tools. Second 1/2 year is spent on lathe work and finishing techniques. The second year they start on servicing and making parts for their own watch.

    In the US, the primary cause of school failure was not enrollment, but a breakdown in standards. For example, when the St. Paul school closed, the head instructor went into gun repair. The Seattle school left Wostep because they could not meet the "new" standards. Most all WOSTEP schools now are "partnership" schools. Miami is with Swatch and Dallas is with Richemont. This holds true with the Asian schools.

    Today, anyone who takes the two years to go to school cannot make a career as an independent because of various policies by the "brands". This means they cannot make a living while learning how to do restoration work. I heard the 65 brands that are the WOSTEP Foundation have put pressure on to reduce/eliminate the general education philosophy that made the program different.

    Brands like Patek and AP have programs for training their own restorers to work back in Switzerland.

    I know someone who was one of the first through the Patek school and I can confirm that he was only allowed on the "easy" work (and a lot of quartz) until he went to Geneva for higher training this last winter.

    In my experience, American watchmakers have an unrealistic view of their expertise. When I went to Neuchatel in 2010, I learned just how much I did not know. There was one kid on the 2 year course who everyone agreed was a wonder to be cherished. Everything he did was a work of art. 22 years old and never touched a watch before applying.

    He had offers from several of the boutique makers and went to work at McConigle in Ireland. Aaron Sauer.

    I learned my place in watch work, and it is nowhere near the top. very enlightening and humbling.

    But it does mean that the days of finding a watchmaker in the US who can make a staff at a profit and return a watch to original performance standards are numbered.

    So it goes.
  5. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
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    Hi Mark,

    Although the article is couched in 'journalese', the levels of skill and the dedication required to achieve them by these students are quite plausible.


  6. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
    I know, that's why I was surprised that the author was surprised.


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