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  1. #1
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    Average watchmaker salary

    Howdy, Guys...
    Maybe one or two of you pros out there can help me out. What is the ball park figure that a newly minted Certified watchmaker can expect to pull down on an annual basis. I know that this figure would be market driven, and vary in different parts of the country. But just a ball park figure if you can. Many thanks, and I enjoy lurking...

  2. #2
    Vintage/PilMil/MKII Moderator JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Average watchmaker salary

    Hi -

    According to this source, it's $28,875 for the median expected salary in the US.

    The industry classification is 334518 (Watch, Clock, and Part Manufacturing) according to the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), previously it was the SIC 3873.

    If you look here you can get the most recent statistics for this industry. Put simply, dividing employee compensation with the number of employees gives me, for 2002, $35,071.81, rounded to the nearest cent. If you include all benefits, that goes to $43,740.99.

    Average hourly wage for a production worker (i.e. not management, sales, etc). is $13.30.

    Data is from 2002, the last census. Expect newer numbers when the 2007 census is published sometime in 2009 or so.

    JohnF
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  3. #3
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    Re: Average watchmaker salary

    I graduated from a two year watch and clock school in 1995. Teacher said do not accept less than $6.50 an hour to start out. I was also told by another watchmaker after five years you should be able to work on commission or for your self. I am not talking down town New York city here where cost of living is everyting. An apprentiship is almost needed.
    Bob

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    Re: Average watchmaker salary

    The range of my students that graduated from the WOSTEP program started at 35k US - 50K US per year excluding benefits. The price fluctuation had to do with skill and location. IE NYC & LA paid more than heartland America. Johns post on wages are not that far off I would bump them up a bit but he is close.

    Contract work BEWARE - you can make money but you must be very experienced, talented and efficient. You did not mention the school you graduated from but I advised all my students to go to work for a large house to get experience and understanding. After 3-5 years then make a decision on going it alone. There is too much to learn. An apprenticeship would be good if you can find the right match.

    Keep us posted and let us know how you do

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    Re: Average watchmaker salary

    Many thanks for your collective insight!

  6. #6
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    Re: Average watchmaker salary

    Not that it is relevant in the USA, but the range in Australia is from $A 30k to 65k + benefits.
    Swatch group are offering 33k to start for a qualified watchmaker. No wonder they take forever to do any repairs as no competent watchmaker would consider anything less than 55k and a top one can almost name their own salary.

    We only had 7 apprentice watchmakers start their course last year and 3 of them dropped out during the year, so now there are 4.
    And that is for the WHOLE of Australia!
    John
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  7. #7
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    Re: Average watchmaker salary

    Hey guys,

    I have great interest in watch making and I want to be a Watchmaker as my life time career. Do you guys know which education organization or company in Oz provide training to interested party?? What is the salary level of being an apprentice??

    Your answers are very important to me!
    Thank you so much for your feedback!!

  8. #8
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    Re: Average watchmaker salary

    does someone know whar is the average salary for Germany or Austria, and what does it depend on
    maybe education, certificates or experience mostly?

    br

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    Re: Average watchmaker salary

    Many other factors play the game too.
    If you can complete service two and a half movements (automatic) per day, about $36,000 as production watchmaker, at retail store, you will get 30 - 50% more, but you also need to manage your own work flow (parts order, answer customers...) As your employer will want to make money by hire more watchmakers, he is looking for speed and efficiency, so if you are good at both, you can ask for more.
    I met one Rolex service center watchmaker from London, he is making $90,000 (15 years experience), and for myself in San Francisco, top retail store, about $60,000 (commision based), 10 years ago I worked for Rolex AD, about $50,000.
    Roughly they paid you between 1/5 - 1/4 of what they make out of you!
    I also know some newly graduate WOSTEP and CW21, could not find anything more than $15 per hour. Demand for watchmakers are only at few metro areas where the Swiss service centers are, other area is way below average pay.

  10. #10
    Vintage/PilMil/MKII Moderator JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Average watchmaker salary

    Quote Originally Posted by emso View Post
    does someone know whar is the average salary for Germany or Austria, and what does it depend on
    maybe education, certificates or experience mostly?

    br
    Hi -

    In Germany, you need to attend a 3-year apprenticeship before anyone will hire you as a watchmaker. The first year is spent working on your raw materials, learning to use (and make!) tools, and basic physics and math of watchmaking (which is actually not that basic). In the second year, you'll learn movement technologies and design, learn how to cut gears and the like, and then diagnose watch problems. The third year is where you will start to actually work on watches on a commercial basis. Pay is miserable (€750/month!), but you are getting an education while you are doing it. The watchmaker taking you on is usually a master watchmaker and you will spend some time in classrooms in Bavaria where the last remaining professional watchmaking institute is located (sorry, don't know them, but that is what my watchmaker tells me).

    Once you're past the apprenticeship, you'll be joining the guild of watchmakers and have to obey their pricing policies for that German state you are located. A master watchmaker in Hessen, for instance, can charge his customers €44/h for work, and hence his salary depends on the volume of work he can handle professionally, in addition to whatever sales of new watches. Master watchmakers, until recently, were the only ones permitted to open up a watch shop, and most continue to be run by master watchmakers (not including retail jewelry shops that also sell watches).

    No idea what watchmakers earn as salary in Germany, though: that is a function of the employer and your qualifications. If you did your apprenticeship and went on to the master qualifications (that takes around 5 years of work experience and around another 3 years of professional training) and specialized on something unique, say designing your own tourbillon - a very popular topic of burgeoning master watchmakers - then you can command a fairly high salary working for one of the big watch companies; otherwise, the minimum salary is governed by the watchmaker guild and is not usually easy to determine.

    However, the watchmakers I know would usually agree that it's not a way to get rich.

    JohnF
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