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.

The 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. For more information on the certification process, see the AWI's web site at


I also have a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, which demonstrates an understanding of mechanics, mathematics, theory, and excellent problem-solving skills.


Thomas Gref   -   AWI Certified Master Watchmaker   -   BS Mechanical Engineering

PO Box 69151   -   Tucson, AZ  85737   -   USA   -   ph 520.818.3382