Washington County Celebrates Launch of New Watchmaking Apprenticeship Program – Conduit Street

Mr. Buchanan is working on a watch in his new apprenticeship. Photo courtesy of the Washington County Government.

The Washington County government recently celebrated the addition of a Watch Technician Apprentice to its highly successful apprenticeship program.

Maryland Watch Works (MWW) celebrated its grand opening in July as hundreds of watch enthusiasts flocked to Hagerstown for the Wine, Whiskey and Watches event. Held in the Potomac Walk between the Bulls and Bears and the Meinelschmidt Distillery, watchmakers from all over the world have come together to buy, sell and display their wares.

MWW co-founders Pierre (Pete) Brown and Eugene Stohlman hosted the event and also celebrated the grand opening of their storefront located at 14 N Potomac Street, Suite B3, Hagerstown, MD. Washington County is proud to have watchmaking and micro-branding specialists as a local business.

MWW also proudly presented its first watchmaking technician apprentice, I’Kareem Buchanan. Mr. Buchanan began his apprenticeship at MWW in July 2021 and is learning to disassemble and reassemble movements, while learning the intricacies of watchmaking.

MWW received approval from the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council in May 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MWW’s operations were significantly affected and there was a delay in obtaining an apprentice in no one. On July 1, 2021, MWW officially signed I’Kareem Buchanan as the first apprentice.

This apprenticeship is particularly important because it is the first state-approved watchmaking apprenticeship program in the United States since 1969. The apprenticeship program is two years to become a watch technician and three years to become master watchmaker technician. With support from the Western Maryland Consortium, professional development assistance and skills courses will be available for Mr. Buchanan, as well as his daily learning from the founders of MWW.

Mr. Buchanan was homeless prior to this apprenticeship due to a series of unfortunate events. After having disassembled and reassembled a movement, MWW hired it as a first apprentice. They worked closely with Horizon Goodwill Industries to find housing and accommodation for Mr. Buchanan. Not only is he on his way to becoming a watch technician, but his hope has been restored as well. When asked what this learning meant to him, I’Kareem replied, “At first I didn’t have a goal, but now I want to master the abilities of making a watch so that I can make a watch. of pocket. My goal is to create my own timepiece to leave my own legacy.

MWW is working to bring watchmaking back to America, an area currently dominated by Switzerland, China and Japan. MWW specializes in watch repair services, micro-brand partnerships, used and vintage luxury watches, and offers movements for purchase. They are currently trying to manufacture an American made automatic watch movement to the “Made in USA” standard, which has not been accomplished since the Hamilton Watch Company closed its factory in Lancaster, PA in 1969. .

Susan Grimes, Director of Business Development for the Washington County Government, said: “It really is a special and unique craft that is remarkable seeing intricate movements, through the creation of an exclusive watch, and everything is done. here in Washington County. The collaboration between community partners to pave the way for I’Kareem in the industry, as an apprentice in the state of Maryland, is just as special as the watches he learns to produce. We are so proud of Maryland Watch Works and honored to have their remarkable business in our community.

To learn more about MWW, visit their website at https://www.marylandwatchworks.com/, call 240-850-2855 or email [email protected]

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