Watch Technology Institute

Apply Request Info

Program Overview

Degrees & Certificates

Two-year degree for students who want to start a career immediately after graduation.

Learn more

  • Credits to complete: 184.0
  • Estimated program length in quarters: Full Time - 9 | Part Time - Part Time Option Not Available

Watch Technology Institute — Learn the Science/Art of Watchmaking

North Seattle College has one of the most respected watchmaking programs in the U.S. Rolex Watch USA, Inc., established a partnership with North to support watchmaker training in the U.S. NSC’s Watch Technology Institute is one of three Rolex-sponsored schools in the United States and is the only one on the West Coast.

North’s watchmaking training program has adopted the Swiss American Watchmakers Training Alliance (SAWTA) curriculum, established under the guidance of Rolex to further develop watchmaking programs. Rolex developed the SAWTA curriculum to address the industry needs for watchmakers qualified for employment in the high end watch industry.

The curriculum is comprehensive in scope and designed to effectively address the needs of today’s watch market by expanding the after-sales service capabilities of luxury watch retailers at their local level.

NSC Watch Tech Program Offerings

  • Two-year SAWTA basic watch repair training course
  • Faculty with SAWTA, WOSTEP and industry training and years of experience in watch repair
  • Certifications/degrees
    • SAWTA certification
    • North Seattle College certificate of completion
    • North Seattle College Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree (optional).  The A.A.S. degree can be used to transfer to South Seattle College’s applied baccalaureate degree.
  • Financial aid to qualified students
  • Watch technology scholarships for second-year students
  • Opportunity to work on customer watches
  • Informal placement assistance. We usually receive more job listings each year than we have graduates to fill the positions.

Download application now or stop by the Business, Engineering and IT division to pick up a copy in person

Prepare for Watchmaking Certification

WTI’s intensive eight-quarter program runs year-round, 40 hours/week. Classes run Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Friday 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

Successful completion of the program earns you a certificate from North and the SAWTA certificate. With an additional 20 credits of general education coursework, you can obtain a Watch Technology A.A.S. degree. SAWTA students who successfully pass all intermediate exams (SAWTA exams 1-3) qualify to sit for a certification exam (SAWTA exam 4) at the completion of the course.

Repairing watches, frequently referred to as watchmaking, combines both science and art.  This work is well-suited to people who enjoy problem solving, have good manual dexterity and appreciate the beauty of fine workmanship. Though it is challenging to learn watchmaking skills, completion of this course can lead to a very rewarding career.

Close Faculty Attention & Excellent Facilities

With small classes starting each fall, everyone is guaranteed close personal attention from instructors.

Well-lit, spacious, well-designed facilities provide separate first- and second-year labs, a lecture classroom, and high-grade equipment with state-of-the-art timing machines, pressure testers and cleaning machines

Curriculum Highlights

The nationally recognized WTI curriculum, organized into a series of topical units, covers both practical and theoretical aspects of watchmaking, taught primarily in a lab environment. The programs’ special connection to Rolex and SAWTA provides for training on some Rolex products.


Watchmaking begins with micromechanics — learning about metals and metal-working techniques, including filing, sawing, drilling and use of the lathe to make tools and specialized watch parts. Here you develop manual dexterity and learn safe use of tools and machinery. This unit culminates in the “student watch project,” where you design and custom-manufacture components for your own watch movements.

Basic Watch

During this phase of the training, you learn the basics of mechanical watches by concentrating first on winding and setting mechanisms and gear trains, then escapement and, finally, balance and spring. 

Advanced Watch

This period of study emphasizes theoretical aspects of the watch mechanism so that students can diagnose complicated timing issues. You learn various “watch complications,” such as calendar mechanisms, automatic mechanisms and chronograph mechanisms. Students also work on customer repairs.

Program Pathway Map 

Program Pathways are a series of courses and experiences carefully selected to help you earn your credential and prepare for your career or university transfer.  Program Pathway Maps guide you through quarter-by-quarter coursework, indicate when you’ll need to complete important steps, and describe popular careers in this pathway.  Some course sequences or recommended courses can be customized or adjusted by speaking with an advisor.  

Watch Technology Institute Certificate - Part Time Map

Watch Technology Institute AAS - Full Time Map

Program lengths are estimates, not guarantees. For the most current program information, please check with the program contact.