Best trainersWempe: a new puzzle

Head of training glasses (r.) With apprentice Engelke at the watchmaker Wempe
Head of training glasses (right) with apprentice EngelkeSven Döring / PR

“Filing, sawing, turning, that’s the program for the first few months,” says Elisabeth Gläser, Head of Training at Wempe in Glashütte, about the start of the watchmaker’s training. “If you have the right knack, the first thing you should do is build a balance boom” – the tool that watchmakers have used for repairs for centuries.

Only then, says Glasses, are the trainees allowed to take the first watch apart: a “large clock”, such as a grandfather clock or a ship’s chronometer. Little by little, the apprentices work their way to smaller and smaller timepieces until the tiny parts of a wristwatch are in front of them.

If you want to become a watchmaker, you need “an interest in technology and precision mechanics, but also enjoy working with small parts,” says Gläser. Miriam Engelke is now in her third year of training and undoubtedly has these qualities. She didn’t even have the job on her radar. After graduating from high school, she studied chemistry because she was interested in natural sciences. But she lacked the practical work, the 22-year-old wanted to do something with her hands.

Her father, who as a doctor is also a “manual worker”, says Engelke, gave her the idea. After an internship, she dropped out of studies and started training as a watchmaker. There she is now on fire: “Every clock is like a new puzzle.”

Across Germany there were most recently 258 watchmakers in training, which generally lasts three years. With five to six apprentices per year, Wempe (560 million euros in sales, 855 employees) is one of the largest trainers – and scored points in the study for the support of the apprentices and their chances of success. Wempe has three avenues for them after their training: work in production, in the workshops or in one of the 34 shops in Germany.

Engelke definitely wants to make her master. Next on the training plan: a clockwork from the neighborhood in Glashütte, from Nomos. has Germany’s best trainers Awarded: For the fourth time, 510 German companies were honored in an extensive study – published in issue 11/2020. Click here for the kiosk shop. The complete results of the study can be found here.


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