Horology is about time.
Horology is all about time and the people and instruments that measure it. Practicing horologists are generally licensed master watch makers with knowledge of the physics and history of time. Their work employs mechanical engineering and electronics disciplines to craft and repair intricate time keeping devices.
Horology is much more than watch repair. Horologists are also experts on antique watches and clocks and are often called on to do conservation and repair work on time pieces in museums.
An antique timepiece
Horologists want to know everything about the nature of time. One method of doing this is to study the history of man’s efforts to measure it. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology the ancient Sumerians were the first people to measure the passage of time 6000 years ago.
Knowing the history of time keeping helps horologists to appraise the value of antique watches and clocks for customers or museums. It also helps in the conservation and repair of antique time keeping devices.
Horologists need mechanical engineering technology skills to do their work. Understanding the intricate mechanisms of watches and the principles that make them work properly is a necessary part of the watchmaker’s art.
A horologist must be able to craft the parts to repair watches and clocks. According to Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology horologists need to master micro-mechanics to lathes and other tools to craft the delicate parts needed in watch making and repair. Horologists must also understand the properties of the metals they will use to manufacture watch mechanisms.
A quartz watch
Modern timekeeping devices are often made using solid state electronics. A horologist must understand basic electronics and digital electronics to work on these devices. The horologist must understand modern LCD digital watches and the computer electronics involved with making them.
Quartz watches use vibrating quartz crystals and integrated circuits to keep time, and the horologist must know repair them. Digital electronic testing equipment and electronics repair tools and methods are essential knowledge. According to the Smithsonian Institution website The Quartz Watch, the most common quartz watch crystal is a miniature tuning fork that vibrates at 32,768 times per second.