What is a Certified Master Watchmaker?
There are only
a few professional certifications that a watchmaker can get in the
United States. These are available through the American Watchmaker's
Institute (AWI) in Harrison, Ohio. The two certifications that apply
to mechanical watch repair are Certified Watchmaker (CW) and Certified
Master Watchmaker (CMW), with the CMW being the more difficult of
the two. There is an extensive testing process which needs to be completed
successfully before acquiring either one of these certifications.
The testing requirements change periodically, but my test included a 600 question written examination, the repair of
two wristwatches, and the manufacture of 2 watch parts to a very high
standard. My testing procedure took about 3 months in total.
The test is very difficult, and most people who take the test do not
pass. For example, in 1999,
only 2 watchmakers in the entire United States earned status as a CMW.
group of genuinely certified watchmakers is very small, and
sometimes you will see similar sounding (but not genuine)
terminology referenced in advertisements or websites. Take, for
example, someone who claims to be a "Master Watchmaker".
It sounds official, but it is merely a self-appointed title. There
is no official body in the US which grants such a title, and to an
educated consumer it should be meaningless. To help clarify such problems,
the American Watchmaker's Institute recommends a specific notation
for one's certifications, such as Certified Master Watchmaker, AWI.
I also have a
Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, which demonstrates an
understanding of mechanics, mathematics, theory, and excellent problem-solving