The Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking Schools
Addressing the long-term needs of the industry
The Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking Schools are proactively addressing the need to educate a new generation of skilled watchmakers. Founded by Nicolas G. Hayek, Swatch Group’s former Chairman, there are now six schools located in Shanghai (China), Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Glashütte and Pforzheim (Germany), and in Miami (United States). There is also a partnership arrangement with the British School of Watchmaking in Manchester.
There is no doubt about the respect Nicolas G. Hayek had for the profession. «Watchmakers,» he said, «have to be able to balance the time-honoured traditions of watchmaking while embracing today’s cutting edge technology. The qualities of a horologist include vision, artistry, craftsmanship, engineering, micromechanics, and much more.»
Mr. Hayek founded the schools and helped shape their vision of developing professional watchmakers and future customer service leaders for the Swatch Group by providing their students with an education which opens doors to a rewarding career in a profession with solid long-term growth prospects.
Applicants to the schools go through an arduous five-step admission process. The class sizes are intentionally kept small to ensure that each student receives extensive individualized tuition from the master watchmakers who reveal the many mysteries of their trade. There are two possible curriculums, the classic one, which requires 3000 hours of classroom study over two or three years, depending on the academic calendar in the country where the school is located. More recently, a shorter curriculum was introduced, requiring 1800 hours of classroom study over one year. This new, shorter training enables the students to improve their skills by acquiring detailed knowledge and practical Customer Service experience.
For the small number of students talented enough to be accepted into the challenging course, the entire program is free of charge. Since the first school opened its doors in 1999, more than 750 students have graduated and more than 50 new students start their training each year.
The systematic, high-quality education delivered to young watchmakers by the Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking Schools complements the Swatch Group’s long-standing in-company apprenticeship program in its member companies in Switzerland. The success of the combined programs guarantees the Group a source of the best new watchmaking talent for years to come.