Originally a jewellery design school established in 1966, the watchmaking courses were launched in 1997. Today there are approximately 150 students in the process of studying watchmaking. There are 2 courses of 2- and 3-year durations. The longer course includes learning about chronographs, and the students are required to take and personalise a large caliber movement, (examples are shown below). In total there are 14 teachers in Tokyo. In addition, there is a second watchmaking school connected with the college based in Osaka with an additional 30 students and 3 teachers.
The courses comprise of all of the rudimentary aspects of watch micro-mechanics, watch design and marketing during the first year. The second-year more advanced practical and watch theory, and the final year chronographs, finishing and precision adjustment (in conjunction with the personalisation study). The majority of the students are from Tokyo and the surrounding territory although present was a Swiss, French plus Russian student plus several students from other Asian countries.
The watchmaking course goes beyond assembly and technical understanding of modern watches, included are exercises to refine manual dexterity.
The exercise of filing perfect shapes, round and straight-edged in different materials, to be able to place the circle into the square and the triangle into the circle without seeing any light between the touching surfaces, is a difficult task and an excellent lesson for developing dexterity.
As has been historically made in many watchmakers schools the students make their own tools to the schools specifications. The student below is Russian, she came to the school because of its reputation and the lack of any equivalent in her own country.
The students below are about to take a 3 hour test, dismantling, cleaning, adjusting and reassembling the Casio automatic wristwatch. They are then marked on the quality of their work, cleanliness, lubrication, tolerances and final regulation.
One of the aspects of the course which allows the students to express their own creative spirits is shown below. Each student that completes the third year takes the large manual calibre and personalises it to their own design and technical preferences.
Below are two advanced students developing their own constructions of calibres.
The wrist watch below was designed and made by the watchmaker in the white T-shirt.
One of the advanced students Masahiro Kobayashi with his first two watches.
To learn more about The Hiko Mizunoi College of Jewellery.