Course Descriptions

Norwest School of Horology provides a workshop and classroom environment with watchmaker's benches, good lighting, and access to a variety of specialized tools for watch and clock repair including: lathes, bushing tools, staking sets, ultrasonic cleaners and watch timing machines. But most importantly, our instructors share their knowledge and experience with all who are willing to learn.

The following classes are currently offered at Norwest School of Horology. For additional information or to register for a class, please see our "Registration" page.

Watch 101: Fundamentals of Watch Repair

Instructor: Mark Smith & Rob Apsel

Watch fundamentals provides a comfortable learning environment to get the interested "horologist" started.  The course takes the student through the history, nomenclature, function, and tools and equipment used to restore watches.  

The course is designed for the budding collector, or hobbyist who is looking to deepen their understanding of the art, technology, and functionality of watches.  The course can be a springboard for further study and training.

Each session is designed around a combination of lecture, demonstration, and hands-on experience to ensure topics are covered in a way to make the student comfortable with the material.

Beginner's course work will include:

  • History of time keeping
  • Watch nomenclature
  • Watch function
  • Watch power
  • The gear train
  • The escapement
  • Ordering parts and using used material from old watches
  • Inspecting and determining condition
  • Watch disassembly, and reassembly
  • Timing and testing the watch

Purchase of some hand tools by the student is required and can be in the range of $100 - $400 depending on the quality of tools. Tools are discussed in great detail during the second session.  Limited loaner tools are available if the student wants to delay purchasing any for the first few sessions.

Note: Watch 101 is a 3-part series which begins in September and continues for three quarters: Fall, Winter and Spring.  It is recommended that students start the series in September vs. coming in during either Winter or Spring quarter.  If you have experience that could be considered a substitute please contact the instructor to discuss.


Tuesdays, 6:30pm to 9:00pm


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$265.00 per quarter

Instructor Mark Smith

Watch 121: Intermediate Watch Repair

Instructor: Mark Smith

The intermediate watch repair course takes the beginner to the next level of competency.  This course also relies on lecture, demonstrations, and hands-on experience but layers in another activities and class presentations to improve the student's knowledge. Students work in an actively collaborative environment that helps them to excel in their coursework.

Coursework includes intermediate and advanced content on beginner topics as well as:

  • Focus on wristwatches, which are encouraged as project watches for this series
  • Variations in mechanical power systems
  • Intermediate coverage of the lever escapement
  • Use of the watchmaker's lathe
  • Intermediate timing and testing
  • Metal work: burnishing, polishing, finishing
  • Advance complications: auto-wind, chronograph, and fusees

Tool requirements include those from the fundamentals course along with additional tools that will be listed prior to the start of class.

Note: Watch 121 is a 3-part series which begins in September and continues for three quarters: Fall, Winter and Spring.  Once a student completes the Watch 101 series, they may attend any Watch 121 quarter at any time providing there is an available bench in the classroom.  If you have experience that could be considered a substitute please contact the instructor to discuss.


Mondays, 6:30pm to 9:00pm


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$265.00 per quarter

Instructor Tom Payne

Watch 150: Watch Repair & Micro-machining Self-Study and Lab

Evening Class

Instructor: Tom Payne

Class participants will learn through hands-on experience with their own horological repair/restoration projects. Learn to make and alter parts. Learn to diagnose problems and implement proper repair techniques through one-on-one guidance and hands-on practice. This class assumes completion of Watch 101 or demonstrated understanding of how a mechanical watch works. This is an independent-study "lab" class with no structured curriculum.

Student should have their own loupe and watchmaker's screwdrivers, and other small hand tools as needed. Watchmaker's lathe, gravers, calipers, micrometer, files, pin vise, and other small metal-working tools will be needed during class, but are not required. Some tools will be available at the beginning of the class.


Introduction to Watch Repair (or equivalent experience)


Thursdays, 6:30pm to 9:30pm


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$200.00 per quarter

Clock 200: Clock Repair and Restoration

Instructors: Clinton Harris and Robert Clemmer

What you can expect

For the beginning student, the class format is structured with guidance centered on tools and their uses, nomenclature, understanding the clock mechanism – how to take it apart and put it back together safely – and assessing and understanding common problems and how to solve them. For the more advanced student, the class provides a setting where students work on personal projects in a supportive environment where help and tools are available.

The course will concentrate primarily on weight-driven or spring-driven traditional European and American time or time-and-strike movements of all varieties. We don’t deal with electric clocks or cuckoo clocks, however we certainly can guide you to additional resources on those topics. You may find that the course opens doors into other areas of study or training such clock case building or restoration.

Your instructors

Clinton and Rob are crazy about clocks, and watches, and timepieces, and well... small mechanical devices in general. They offer years of experience, a desire to share their knowledge and a passion for keeping the craft alive.

Your fellow students

Mix with a friendly group of people from a variety of backgrounds who share a passion for timepieces.

Your classroom

Some demonstrations, some problem-solving, and plenty of one-on-one mentoring from instructors as well as from fellow students. You will have access to more advanced shop tools such as lathe, ultrasonic cleaners, bushing tools.


Purchase of hand tools by the student is required. Beginning students are also required to purchase a time-only basic clock movement on which to learn. (We don’t want you to spoil grandma’s special antique.) Tool costs can range $75 to $100 depending on the quality of tools and where purchased. You may already have some general tools that you can bring. The school has enough tools to allow you to get started until you can purchase your own set. We can help you find used tools for those not able to buy a new set.


Wednesdays, 6:30pm to 9:30pm


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$230.00 per quarter