The Finnish School of Watchmaking (Kelloseppäkoulu) was founded in 1944 and is located in Leppävaara, Espoo. It is maintained by Kellosepäntaidon Edistämissäätiö (The foundation for the advancement of watchmaking skills), but its operation is financed by the Finnish state. The teaching at the school is performed in Finnish.
The Finnish School of Watchmaking works in active cooperation with educational institutions which train European watchmakers, and there are student exchanges with Nordic and Central European schools. The school also belongs to the Open Schools of Watchmaking (OSOW) network which assembles bi-annually for meetings arranged by the different member schools.
The Finnish School of Watchmaking works with reputable manufacturers so that students are able to perform controlled work-placements abroad. The school has agreements for regular apprenticeships with, among others, the Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi factory.
Representatives of the Finnish School of Watchmaking participate in the annual Baselworld exhibition, or invitations to exhibitions in Geneva. These are important for establishing and maintaining a good relationship between the school and the companies at the exhibitions.
Fourteen to fifteen students each are selected annually for both the watchmaker and micro-mechanic training programmes, with the final student selection being made on the basis of entrance examinations. The length of training for both is approximately three years (180 competence points).
Studying for the qualification requires perseverance and dedication from students. The teaching focuses on manual skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem solving skills. Studies also include a number of job training periods. The watchmakers will become top professionals who are capable to repairing various types of clocks, and will also be able to manufacture specific parts to within one-hundredth of a millimetre accuracy—both by hand and machine. The watchmakers' precision work-skills, problem solving ability, and application can also be utilised for special tasks in other fields.
The micro-mechanics' programme was added to the Finnish School of Watchmaking’s syllabus in 1997 when it was noticed, due to the development of technology, that it was required for people to have more detailed skills. The clock—as an exact and demanding device—serves as the foundation and tool of this learning. The skills learnt can be adapted to most different devices and mechanisms.
Micro-mechanic training is also practical and includes several periods of work-experience. The studies focus on similar know-how as the watchmaker's, but additionally include knowledge of electronics and connection technologies. It is very important that the entire period of studying involves practical workshop training. Micro-mechanic training pays particular attention to prototyping and product development related capabilities such as problem solving, application, and team work.
Micro-mechanics can work in a variety of fields ranging from research to product development workshops. The micro-mechanics training provides a good foundation for working all over the world, where accurate technical skills are required to develop new and effective solutions.
Since 1995, the Finnish School of Watchmaking has also trained specialist sellers to work in clock and jewellery industry retailers’ sales positions.
The main focus of this training is on industry knowledge of the products. Areas of study include gemstones, watches and precious metals, as well as customer service and sales techniques. The course duration is approximately four months. Two courses are held annually.
The school building was originally designed by architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen for the Espoo Central Library — its previous occupant. The Finnish School of Watchmaking moved here in 2007 after the building was renovated for its needs.
The soul of the school is felt in its bright, spacious and clean rooms: there is an unusually calm and focused atmosphere, and a genuine interest in the work being done here.
The Finnish School of Watchmaking
Vanha maantie 11, 02650 Espoo, Finland
Tel: +358 9 4355 770