Rolex-Led Alliance Unveils ‘Benchmark’ Watchmaking Curriculum

A Rolex USA-led alliance of U.S. watch training organizations and school have unveiled a new curriculum which strengthens the quality of training in watchmaking.

The new curriculum expands the 3,000-hour international Watchmakers of Switzerland training program (WOSTEP) with elements specific to U.S. watchmaking and retailer needs, and incorporates expertise required for tests and certification of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute.

“This consolidation sets a new standard in professional watchmaking education in the United States,” says Charles Berthiaume (pictured above), Rolex USA senior vice president for technical operations.

The “Swiss American Watchmakers Training Alliance” is a Rolex-owned and led entity, with guidance from representatives of Rolex USA, the Watchmakers of Switzerland, the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute; and four U.S. watch schools supported by Rolex, which use WOSTEP, where the new curriculum is being implemented, through 2009. (Those are Rolex’s Watch Technicum, Litiz, Pa.; the watchmaking program at North Seattle Community College, Seattle; the Saint Paul College watchmaking program, St. Paul, Minn.; and the Watchmaking and Microtechnology program at Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee.)

The alliance collectively oversees the new SAWTA curriculum, examinations and certification process.

The new curriculum, whose development was led by Herman Meyer (pictured left), the principal and head instructor at Rolex’s Technicum and SATWA’s co-director, is “comprehensive” in scope, says Berthiaume, and designed to expand the “after-sales service capabilities” of U.S. watchmakers employed by fine watch retailers at the local level. 

It also consolidates “instruction of all proficiencies” required for certifications by the AWCI and WOSTEP, and all SAWTA schools now use the same single comprehensive final exam, based on AWCI’s test, providing “a national benchmark” for professional U.S. watchmaker education, says James Lubic (pictured left), AWCI’s executive director. Those who pass it automatically receive the professional certifications of WOSTEP and AWCI, and the diplomas of their respective watch schools.