The mechanical watch bridges science and art, and understanding the development of the watch requires insight into both the engineering challenges that have been overcome, and the artistry seen in the design of mechanism and case. This course provides a historical introduction to the development of the watch and how it functions, and discusses in detail the brands and designers who have made the mechanical wristwatch the object of desire that it is today.
This course is written and presented by Dr Andrew Hildreth, independent watch consultant. Andrew has written about watches for GQ, Hodinkee, Watch Journal, QP Magazine, Calibre, and others. He is a Liveryman at the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.
Including exclusive special features filmed with: Emmanuel Breguet of Breguet, Pascale Lepeu of Cartier, Stephen Forsey of Greubel Forsey, Richard Mille, and more. Interviews give students the opportunity to hear from designers and historians as they elaborate on their brands’ inspirations, philosophies and achievements.
What you will learn:
- You will understand the function and working of the watch mechanism, including the balance, escapement types and automatic winding, as well as complications.
- You will know the major watchmakers, inventors and scientists who contributed to the development of the watch from 1700 to today.
- You will learn how the timepiece evolved from pocket watch to wristwatch, and how the design of the wristwatch changed over the twentieth century.
- You will have been introduced to important watch brands of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
- You will have an understanding of the significant changes that the development of quartz watches provoked in the landscape of mechanical watches, and how craftspeople-watchmakers have brought a new focus to the design and manufacture of mechanical watches.
- You will have gained insight into the considerations of collecting mechanical watches, and seen how the market for vintage watches has grown.
Registration is open for this course, you can register today by clicking on Enrol Now against your preferred course dates in the Course Dates tab.
This course has been CPD certified.
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Session 1 – Understanding the development and function of the watch mechanism
Session 2 – The design of the wristwatch across the twentieth century
Session 3 – Significant watch brands
Session 4 – The Quartz Crisis and the rise of craft
Session 5 – The market for vintage watches
The Christie’s Education Online Course Experience
Find out how you study with us
Online courses at Christie’s Education
- Online courses are designed for students to study when it is most convenient for them. Our pre-recorded lectures are filmed with documentary-style production values, taking you on a narrative-led journey through your chosen subject.
- Each module's lecture lasts for approximately one hour.
- Our courses are arranged in modules, containing your lectures and special features. Each week, a new module will open for you to study, allowing you to explore the content at your own pace. Typically, our courses consist of six modules overall.
During your time on the course, your Tutor will provide:
- Frequent art world announcements.
- Opportunities to ask questions and request tutor guidance.
- Tutor-initiated networking discussions with icebreaker questions and art world news.
- Art History courses have optional written assignments with detailed and supportive individual feedback to help develop ideas and enrich analytical skills and understanding.
- Art Business and Luxury courses have optional multiple-choice assignments to consolidate learning and track progress.
- Handouts and English subtitles are provided to reinforce your learning.
- Networking and knowledge-share opportunities with fellow online course participants and alumni.
- You have three weeks after the course has finished to complete your assignments and discuss the course with your tutor.
- All video lectures and course materials remain available to students for six months after assignments close.
- If you complete all the assignments and complete the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion. Certificates are not available for self-directed courses.
- Frequent livestreamed seminars for students and alumni on topics that span the art world. Seminars are led by alumni, your tutor, and art world professionals.
The course will require between two to three hours of study time per week. There will be further reading and weekly assignments.
Read our Frequently Asked Questions to find out more information about online courses.
The course is facilitated through an online learning environment that is compatible with most modern browsers. It is the responsibility of students to have the proper hardware and software required to participate, along with access to WiFi. The basic technical requirements can be found in the FAQs.
Terms and Conditions
Please ensure you read carefully through our terms and conditions before enrolling on a course.
‘I like the "history touch" added by Christie's; it was not only technical but full of anecdotes and interesting stories which are important to understand the watch industry in its entirety.’
‘What I liked best about this course was the people involved, the dedication for it, the video and images with references included and the whole presentation.’
‘Very well organized, interesting course’
‘My background is multi brand specialty retail and I’ve been lucky enough to have extensive direct brand training with both Rolex and Cartier. I was so excited to learn things about these companies that were completely new to me even after over a decade working with them. The information in this course was the perfect amount of background information and overview about the brands while providing many additional areas of interest to be explored.’
‘I liked the interesting historical anecdotes, the passion represented and professionalism of the presenter.’
‘I would totally recommend it to anyone having little interest in watches but being scared not to know where to begin, and what kind of information to look at (history, mechanism, market) to get a first global approach of quality that make you feel much more confident for further research.’
‘What I liked the most was how such a technical subject became a pleasure to learn. Mechanical explanations associated with historical anecdotes is a great way to memorize easily.’
‘Thank you so much for this great class, and all the information you have given me and that will stay with me in my passion and my work.’
‘I also really valued the special interviews at the ends of each chapter. What incredible insight!! Thank you Christie’s!’
‘I liked its "story telling" way of presenting each part.’
‘I would recommend this course for the way it was organised and presented.’
‘It's flexible, can learn at one's own pace.’
‘Very easy to understand.’
‘The quality of the videos was outstanding. Excellent content.’
'Everything from the beginning to the end was perfect. I enjoyed every class and the teacher really managed to transmit his passion in the best of ways. Really loved all the information that was given to me during this course.'
'I would recommend anyone to do it! I have learnt so much new information that I didn't have before and in a lot of different watch fields.'
'I liked the detailed information, clarity of the slides and clear explanations.'
‘This was the first online course I had and I was positively impressed.’
‘The course, overall, was really good and interesting.’
‘I enjoyed seeing the beautiful watches and it was enjoyable listening to the collector speak at the end.’
‘The modules had good focus on each topic and that is really helpful.’
‘I would recommend to take it in order to gain more knowledge about watches world/market.’
‘I think it was a great course.’
‘Dr Hildreth's videos were well presented and he came over as knowledgeable and engaging.’
For any queries about this course please contact
UK: +447824 474 719
HK: +852 2978 6768
NY: +1 212 636 2127