AWCI launches new U.S. watchmaker certification program

A new U.S. watchmaker certification program, designed for the 21st century, has been launched by the American Watchmaker-Clockmaker Institute, headquartered at Harrison, Ohio. It is a major revision of the one offered by AWCI since 1960, and is “the culmination of many years of efforts by dedicated horologists,” said Jim Lubic, AWCI executive director.

“They realized the need to update and maintain a national proficiency standard in professional certification, which supports the latest technological requirements for today’s watch industry.” he said.

One major difference is that the examination process will no longer be done through the mail. Instead, the examination process for Certified Watchmaker will take three-and-a-half days at approved examination sites at several U.S. locations. Written assessments for Certified Watchmaker will consist of 20 to 25 questions, which must be answered within three hours. There will also be four performance-based sections, which must be completed over three consecutive days. The exams will be proctored by agents of the Board of Examiners.

AWCI is setting up examination centers in five locations around the United States which have watchmaking teaching programs. They are Harrison, Ohio; Seattle; Lititz, Pa., Okmulgee, Okla.; and St. Paul, Minn.

A pilot version of the certification program was held in April at AWCI’s Harrison, Ohio, headquarters, to introduce it and the overall assessment procedure, and to provide detailed guidelines to professionals interested in becoming assessors for it. It was presented by Hermann Mayer, principal of the Lititz Watch Technicum and a member of AWCI’s Research and Education Council, and Bernhard Stoeber, vice president of technical operations, Rolex Watch USA. Two dozen horologists and industry representatives attended.

AWCI is also in the process of designing eight to 10 courses “that support the skills necessary” for the certification exams, said Lubic. They should be ready later this year.

The AWCI Certified Watchmaker Examinations cost $1,150 to take. Two three-and-a-half-day sessions were held in May (in Harrison, Ohio,) and June (in Seattle). A third is scheduled for October in Okmulgee, Okla.

For more information or to register to take the AWCI Watchmaker Certification exams, call AWCI toll-free at (866) 367-2924 ex. 304; ask for Nancy Wellman.