If you can’t bail on your 9-5 job, but still want to start down the path to becoming a watchmaker, or simply pick up skills to become more involved with your hobby, there are a number of “distance learning” (aka home, remote or online) courses that provide the opportunity.
First off, if you have 20 minutes, even if you aren’t going to be doing any work, you can learn how a mechanical watch works courtesy Hamilton from 1949.
Some introductory learning videos (not schools/classes):
An Electrical Engineering View of a Mechanical Watch (from MIT)
How a Mechanical Watch Works
Introduction to the Gear Train of a Wristwatch
Watch Movement Animation
Deeper classes and training
The Naked Watchmaker Masterclass with Peter Speake and Daniela Marin has just been released with an introduction to the history, parts, how the mechanism works and terms, and an introduction to complications. This is the first in a future series from The Naked Watchmaker. What is extremely cool is that there is also a 1:1 (Zoom) class available, of course at a much higher price point. But talk about an experience! How often do you get 5 hours of 1:1 time with an independent watchmaker with a background including the likes of the Excenter Tourbillon and Horological Machine No.1, in addition to creating a namesake brand? Never.
Learn Watchmaking (only a couple of classes available, with their Learn Watchmaking 101 being their main offering, an introductory 5 hour course)
Online watchmaking schools:
TimeZone’s online class
British Horological Institute
The NAWCC offers a large number of online programs
Gem City College Watchmaking and Repair School previously was available remotely, but now offers coursework only on-campus
British Horological Institute Distance Learning Course
If online isn’t for you and you are considering in-person schools, NAWCC has a listing of full-time Watchmaker and Clockmaker Schools worldwide.
A few in the United States:
Patek Philippe Horology Programme, New York, NY
Lititz Watchmaking Technicum, Lilitz, PA
Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School (part of the Swatch Group), Miami, FL
Gem City College, Quincy, IL
NAIOSW – North American Institute of Swiss Watchmaking, Dallas, TX
North Seattle College
Paris Junior College, Paris, TX
York Time Institute, York, PA
And outside the United States (see also the list from The Naked Watchmaker):
WOSTEP, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
British Horological Institute, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
Ecole Technique de la Vallée de Joux
Ecole d’horlogerie de Genève
Hiko Mizuno School of Watchmaking, Tokyo, Japan