Watch and clock repairer
Craft & Food Trades

Watch and clock repairers service, repair and restore watches and clocks. They use small specialist tools, including eyeglasses and tweezers. Most repairers work as either watch or clock repairers, becoming more specialised to repair very complex mechanisms.

Horology is the name given to the science of making and repairing watches and clocks, and measuring time.

Work Activities

Watch and clock repairers inspect, dismantle, clean, and replace or repair damaged parts. They also make high precision parts to restore watches and clocks to full working order.

They use tools including eyeglasses and tweezers to inspect the parts inside watches and clocks. They may then remove worn or damaged parts, perhaps replacing them with parts that they have made themselves.

Watch and clock repairers clean and oil parts, reassemble them and test the watch or clock for accurate time keeping. Repairs also involve fitting new batteries and making adjustments to straps.

The wide range of skills that watch and clock repairers gain often leads them to specialise in a particular area.

For example, a watch repairer will be expected to have the skills necessary to repair both mechanical and quartz watches but may decide to specialise in one area. Some repairers specialise in electrical/electronic work.

Clock repairers may specialise in domestic clocks or public clocks. Other areas of specialisation include the restoration of antique watches and clocks.

Watch and clock repairers may also sell watches and advise customers on which to buy. Some may also sell jewellery. Work normally takes place in a shop or workshop.

Antique repair work may involve travelling to customers' homes.

Personal Qualities and Skills

  • To be patient and have good practical skills.
  • Nimble fingers and a steady hand, as you'll be working with small or delicate objects.
  • To be able to work with accuracy and precision.
  • To pay attention to detail.
  • Good communication skills.
  • A well-organised personality.
  • To be able to measure and calculate correctly and, in some cases, produce technical drawings.
  • A mechanical aptitude.
  • Good concentration and the ability to work on your own.

Self-employed repairers need selling skills, a well-developed business sense and the ability to get on with many different types of customer.

Some repairers need to be able to spend long hours sitting at a workbench.

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of watch and clock repairers

Some workshops, such as manufacturers' service centres, employ a number of watch and clock repairers. However, most repairers work in small firms, often made up of the owner and one or two assistants.

Most small workshops take work in from shops, although some shops or department stores have their own workshops.

Many watch and clock repair businesses are attached to jewellery shops.

Opportunities occur for watch and clock repairers to work independently, as self-employed repairers.


There are no formal academic entry requirements for the British Horological Institutes' (BHI) short and distance learning courses.

Generally English Language, Maths, and a science, technology or engineering are useful subjects for this career. Of the sciences, Physics is particularly useful.

Courses are practical as well as theoretical, so excellent hand-eye co-ordination and good manual skills are essential.

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