A watchmaking lesson with the Watchmaker Experience

The fifth Watchmaker Experience, one of the most popular events in the sector, organised by L'Orologio in collaboration with Swatch Group Italia Customer Service in Milan, took place on 9 May. An experience that allowed six readers of the magazine, watch enthusiasts, to come into contact with a lesser-known side of the watch industry: after-sales service. The Swatch Group's workshop is capable of performing (one of the few in Europe) after-sales servicing on watches of all Swatch Group brands (apart from Harry Winston, which has a separate organisation). The expertise of the centre's watchmakers is based on continuous training, carried out both in-house and at the parent companies in Switzerland and Germany. The spare parts warehouse, at 70 Via Washington, handles 100,000 components serving 30,000 references. In order to navigate their way through this assortment, the thirty watch repairers have at their disposal software that guides them in identifying the spare parts needed for the interventions determined by the laboratory during the diagnostic phase. The workshop is organised in islands, each consisting of six workbenches. There are five of them within Customer Service: one for diagnostics and carrying out minor interventions under warranty, one dedicated to the Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original and Jaquet Droz brands, a third island just for Omega, and two others dedicated to the servicing of watches from the remaining brands. Participants in the Watchmaker Experience had the opportunity to take part in a real watchmaking lesson, given by a watchmaker trainer: starting with an illustration of the working principle of a mechanical movement, to move on to the disassembly of an ETA Unitas 6498-1 calibre, produced by Swatch Group, following the trainer's instructions, assisted by a microscope and video projector. At the end of the day, which was full of questions, doubts and curiosity about the history of the Swatch Group but also about issues strictly related to the overhaul of a watch, a wonderful understanding was established between the participants, which encouraged them to stay in touch with each other.