What does a Clockmaker do?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 July 2019
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Besides creating working clocks, a clockmaker may also repair and sell them. Clockmakers often own a retail store or repair shop. When customers bring in repairs, the clockmaker must usually take apart the clocks to discover, then fix, the problems. Clockmakers may make watches as well as clocks.

Horology is the study of watchmaking; clockmakers must usually pass very strict educational requirements in this field. For instance, in Australia, clockmakers need to first earn certification before being considered skilled enough in the occupation. The American Watchmaker Clockmaker's Institute (AWCI) offers similar certification in the United States. Achieving certification while learning core creation and repair skills is a common task worldwide for those who want to become horologists, or clockmakers.

A clockmaker must prepare maintenance instructions to accompany the timepieces he or she builds and sells to customers. Writing legal guarantees for parts and labor is another task for which clockmakers may be responsible when they make timepieces for customers. When customers bring in broken watches or other pieces, a clockmaker usually gives them an estimate as to how much the repair will cost. To repair timepieces, clockmakers take them apart to check for faulty parts or other problems and may lubricate the components so the mechanisms work smoothly.


Replacing worn out parts such as the wheels, hands or faces of timepieces is a common task of a clockmaker. The work conditions for clockmakers are usually daytime hours unless extra time is needed to have repairs completed when expected by a customer. Clockmakers usually sit while working on timepieces, but stand when waiting on customers.

Some clockmakers specialize in repairing and assessing the value of antique clocks. They may reconstruct broken antique clocks for museums or for customers in private homes. The antiques these horologists work with may be the long case variety called grandfather clocks or they may be old wall or carriage timepieces. Many experienced clockmakers understand and work with both old and new timepiece technologies. A horologist usually works with both freestanding timepieces and wristwatches.

Horologists are considered artisans because they are capable of creating original timepieces. With many clocks and watches being factory made today, horologists typically do more repairs and restorations than watch or clockmaking. Clockmakers who restore antique timepieces often have to create, or fabricate, new parts to replace old non-working elements that don't have modern replacements.


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