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Art of Swiss Watchmaking brought to Cambodia, courtesy of Prince Group

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Watchmaking or watch repair. gear wheel clock mechanism macro view. Dreamstime

Prince Group, has opened the Prince Horology Vocational Training Center, Cambodia’s first independent watch school.

The training center gives Cambodians the opportunity to learn a new artisanal skill — watchmaking — and gain the necessary experience to help them in job markets in Cambodia and abroad. The training center follows the strict regulations for watchmaking outlined by regulatory bodies in Switzerland.

New artisanal skills, however, need to be introduced to improve job opportunities for Cambodians, especially as the textile and garment industry, much like other sectors, has suffered greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic with media reports indicating that more than 55,000 workers have been stranded without an income.

The state-of-the-art center offers a full-time, two-year course modelled on the certificate fédéral de capacité (CFC), standards for vocational training defined by the Swiss government that are widely considered the industry norm for basic watchmaking education.

As a component of Prince Group’s environment, social and governance (ESG) endeavours in Cambodia, the center also offers scholarships to local students and those requiring financial assistance, ranging from a 50% subsidy of the school fees to a fully paid scholarship that includes accommodation. The first group of students have started their watchmaking journey.

Prince Group has hired world-leading watchmakers, including Maarten Pieters, a former director of Switzerland’s leading watchmaking school, the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program (WOSTEP).

Anthony McGonigle, the center’s chief instructor and one of the brothers from Ireland’s most famous watchmaking family, compiled the syllabus, which encompasses lessons on the history and culture of watchmaking, as well as benchwork, including machining, micro-mechanics, and production of components like the winding stem and balance staff etc. The center also focuses on traditional artisanal skills like decoration and turning.

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