Watchmaking Apprentice Artisan

apprenticeship workshops

To ensure the future of the watchmaking profession, Chopard offers young people the most comprehensive four-year training available: that of a watchmaker with a CFC (Federal Certificate of Capacity). Over and above the basic requirements, the Geneva Watchmaking School programme includes studying a movement that powers the "graduation project watch", developed by the Manufacture in 2010. Once they have earned their diploma, some graduates are lucky enough to be hired by the Maison. That is indeed what Mégane, a 19-year-old watchmaker, wishes.

[Sustained note]

(On-screen text: Chopard presents)

(Close-up of a watch movement, Mégane delicately puts a spring in place.)

My greatest memory at Chopard was the tour when I arrived. We went to see all the departments and professions, it was so interesting.

(Mégane sits down in her workshop, wearing a lab coat and eyepiece.)

What I really loved was the Chopard museum with all the pieces that have played a part in Chopard's history.

[Soft piano music plays]

(On-screen text: The word ART becomes ARTISAN.)

(On-screen text: From expertise to emotion. Chopard)

(A black and white graphite sketch of the palm of a hand, surrounded by the words EXPERTISE, CREATIVITY, EMOTION.)

So we always use both hands, one to keep the movement in place and the other to assemble.

(A portrait of Mégane.)

(On-screen text: Mégane, Apprentice Watchmaker)

One holds and the other works.

(On-screen text: Pinning up to the collet)

(Mégane uses tiny tools to work on a balance spring.)

But for the balance-spring, it's one tool in each hand, and you use both of them. When you start out, you're not ready to do that. You need to be ambidextrous, it's impossible.

(On-screen text: Bevelling)

As a child, I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to be an art teacher or something similar. I wanted to do something with my hands, I looked into all kinds of trades, I saw watchmaking and I went for an introductory course at Chopard.

(A woman oversees Mégane working in the workshop.)

That is when I said: "That's what I want to do". There isn't a typical day, it always changes because we all do different things.

(On-screen text: Turning)

We start by working on the study timepiece first, on the micro-mechanics, and that is really our piece, our work, we spend many hours working on it. Polishing is a step I like a lot because it really enhances a piece, it takes a lot of time.

(On-screen text: Mirror-polishing)

You don't realize how long it takes, how far you can go to achieve perfection, which I love.

(On-screen text: Pivoting)

Pivoting, a technique that isn't used much any more, fascinates me, because you can do it all by hand, which is what I love. We then make the balance-spring, which is very complicated to make, it takes months to master it. Something else I love is at the end when you see the mechanism moving and working. You can very quickly upset something and it won't work any more. Actually yesterday it was the first time that I mounted a bridge that I made myself onto my piece. It was so beautiful, fully finished, I put it into place and saw that it worked, that's what is beautiful. You feel proud because it takes so long and the slightest thing can stop it from working, it's amazing to be able to say: "I made that".

(Mégane turns her balance-spring gently with a brush.)

Maybe one of the watches we've assembled and cased up will be worn somewhere across the world and it's us who finished the piece.

(On-screen text: Assembly)

(Close-up of a watch movement.)

It's amazing. I think this job suits me as I am a very shy person. I think this job is a good fit for me.

(Mégane puts parts in place on the movement.)

I love that the House of Chopard is like a big family. In every department, you can find former Chopard apprentices. It's a job I would like to do forever. It's the only thing I like.

(Mégane holds up the finished timepiece, studies it.)

(On-screen text: Chopard - The artisan of emotions - Since 1860)

Chopard takes training far beyond what is generally required, which is doubtless why apprentice artisans seek to make a career with the Maison. This is what it takes to guarantee the continuity of watchmaking and jewellery.

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele

Mégane, Watchmaking Apprentice Artisan

This forward-looking commitment is nothing new at Chopard: the Manufacture began training jewellers in the 1980s, and watchmakers in Geneva from 1988 onwards. Having already done a discovery internship in watchmaking at Chopard, Mégane began her apprenticeship in 2018 at the age of 15, just after the 11th year of vocational middle school. During the four years of the apprenticeship, students are taught how to assemble movements, repair them, lubricate them and check them, starting with making some of the tools that they will use throughout their training and career. Students are also integrated into several departments of the Maison for an internship right from the first year.

“graduation project watch”

Throughout the entire training period, apprentices work on a “graduation project watch” which they are allowed to keep at the end of their course. This special model with a white dial represents the masterpiece of each apprentice, engraved with their name and the year in which they complete it. After undergoing COSC testing to earn chronometer certification, it is officially presented to individual graduates by Karl Friedrich Scheufele. This is an important moment for every apprentice, as well as for the Co-President of Chopard, who is deeply attached to the continuity of expertise.

From expertise to emotions

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