We had the opportunity to have a pleasant watch chat with Ömer Türkmen – Watchmaker at IWC Schaffhausen during his visit to Istanbul for IWC’s watchmaking class workshop.
Burak Bayram: How did your adventure with watches begin? Would you like to share with us briefly?
Ömer Türkmen: From an early age I was interested in technical and fine works. I've always preferred hard and persistent work. The education model that young people prefer after school in Switzerland is usually technical schools. Young people take a short internship like 1-2 weeks before they start their career. During the internship, they take several exams and the appropriate criteria for the profession are measured. In general, the practical skills and theory required for the profession are evaluated. If the result is positive, both sides sign a contract to learn the profession.
I went through this process to work at IWC. IWC Schaffhausen has a high reputation in the city of Schaffhausen where I was born and grew up. Moreover, it is the only watch company where the profession of watchmaking is learned. While I was searching for a job search I saw a job advertisement looking for a watchmaker in the Schaffhausen's Schaffhausernachrichten newspaper and wrote a letter for an internship. Before the end of the 1-week internship, my master at the time told me that I was prone to this job and that I had the necessary dexterity. He asked me to work here. I accepted the offer of course and stepped into the world of watches.
Burak Bayram: What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a watchmaker in an important brand like IWC Schaffhausen?
Ömer Türkmen: IWC Schaffhausen is one of the most important and prestigious watch brands in the world. Since its founding in 1868, it has been continuing a long tradition. In this sense, working in a brand like IWC Schaffhausen is an important target for people in this sector. IWC provides its employees with guaranteed and long business opportunities and provides them with a lot of convenience.
The advantage of being a watchmaker at IWC Schaffhausen is primarily to have a modern and state-of-the-art work environment. In IWC, all units in the watchmaking process including us the watchmakers, work to improve ourselves and to satisfy our customers.
Of course, working in a company that has such a perfectionist approach is difficult. We are constantly changing because we are constantly evolving. But this is not a disadvantage for someone like me who likes what he does and has goals.
Burak Bayram: In the last few years, the luxury watch industry had a hard time. As a person from the core of the industry, how do you evaluate this period and its aftermath?
Ömer Türkmen: Yes, the watchmaking sector had a hard time and I saw that some brands had difficulty in overcoming this period. However, companies like IWC, which are well-established and constantly developing themselves, escape lightly in such periods. All processes in IWC are well managed and have a very professional management approach.
The watchmaking industry has lived and survived such difficult days in the past as well. And when I look at the world, I see people showing more and more respect and interest in such arts. That makes me very happy as a watchmaker. In the end, this is hand work and it is important to keep these crafts alive and support them.
Burak Bayram: If you had a chance to design a whole new complication, what would it be?
Ömer Türkmen: Yes, this was a good one 🙂 have a special complication in my mind, I prefer to keep it to myself for now ;)