Watch Technology Institute Program


Watch Technology Institute — Learn the Science/Art of Watchmaking

Prepare for Watchmaking Certification
Close Faculty Attention & Excellent Facilities
Curriculum Highlights
Financial & Job Help

Through North Seattle College's Watch Technology Institute (WTI), in partnership with the Swiss American Watchmakers Training Alliance (SAWTA), learn the art and science of watchmaking in an intensive 2-year course. North is one of only a few partnership-training programs nationally and the sole program on the West Coast.

Rolex Watch USA, Inc., joined with North Seattle College to create a state-of the-art facility for North’s long-established watchmaking school. The SAWTA curriculum is supported by Rolex to encourage the training of watchmakers in the U.S.

Prepare for Watchmaking Certification

WTI’s intensive 8-quarter program runs year-round, 40 hours/week. Completion of the program earns you a certificate from North. With additional general education coursework, you can obtain a Watch Technology AAS degree!

SAWTA students who successfully pass all intermediate exams qualify to sit for a certification exam at the completion of the course. If they pass the exam, they receive both SAWTA and CW21 certifications.

Close Faculty Attention & Excellent Facilities

With only 12 students accepted into the program each fall (and thus a maximum of 12 students/class), everyone is guaranteed close personal attention from instructors. Faculty members Elaine Rolf and Erik Gresseth have many years of experience in the industry and are WOSTEP and CW21 certified.

Well-lit, spacious, well-designed new 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.

  • Micromechanics

    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.

Financial & Job Help

Financial aid opportunities are available, including the College's Education Fund and WTI scholarships. Employment prospects are significantly improved if graduates are willing to relocate outside of Seattle. Faculty and staff help graduates with informal job search and placement.

Student Excitement About the “Small World” of Watches Is Contagious

Erik Gresseth
Watch Technology Institute Former Faculty

Erik Gresseth, former WTI instructor, enjoyed new experiences daily in the classroom and found student excitement about the “small world” of watchmaking to be contagious.


WTI is one of a few global institutions that offer a high quality, traditional watchmaking education. Its SAWTA curriculum provides a well-rounded skill set with a strong focus on the broad scope of working in today's retail environment where fine timepieces are sold. The dedicated and experienced faculty at WTI has a proven track record in preparing graduates for demanding positions within today's luxury watch service industry.


—Herman Mayer
Director, SAWTA

Watch Technology Institute Program

Shawn Nachtrieb
(206) 934-0169

Business, Engineering & IT Division

IB 2312BWest-central section of the Instruction Building, 2nd floor
Division Contacts
(206) 934-3730
Mailing Address
NSC Business, Engineering & IT Division
9600 College Way N
Seattle, WA 98103
Terry Cox


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