TZ Watch School

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is the course like?

Answer: The TZ Watch School is an on-line course offering 3 levels of instruction known as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Level 1 is more basic with Level 2 and 3 more advanced. Each level requires payment of a $75 tuition fee and the purchase of a tool kit. Students enroll in and complete each course separately, though you are free to enroll in both courses and pay the tuition at the same time. We presume that you will take the Level 1 course prior to taking Level 2 or Level 3, however this is not required.  Each level consists of a series of lessons, and each lesson is made up of two to four web pages with pictures and text. The file sizes for these web pages is small. You can view a sample introductory lesson by clicking here. The course materials are entirely on-line, so you can take the course anywhere in the world where you have internet access. Once you enroll, you will receive a user name and a password to access the Level you signed up for. You can view the lessons at your leisure, and print them out if you like.


2. What subjects are covered? Will I be able to repair watches when I complete the courses?

Answer: The Level 1 course is primarily intended to familiarize you with a basic time-only manual winding mechanical watch movement. You will learn how to hold and use basic watchmaking tools such as screwdrivers and tweezers, and you will learn how the movement functions by seeing the different parts of the movement interact. The Level 1 course entails the disassembly and reassembly of the watch movement that is supplied with your tool kit.

The Level 2 course is more advanced, in that you will work with a slightly more complicated movement that has automatic winding and a date function. In addition to disassembly and reassembly, you will also learn some basic service techniques such as cleaning and oiling the movement.

The Level 3 course covers the replacing a Balance Complete Equipped with The Etachron Regulator System. Timing the Etachron REgulator System using an Electronic Timer.

The Level 1, 2 and 3 courses do not cover sufficient ground to allow you to begin  diagnosing problems and repairing broken watches. The courses are intended to give you a good appreciation for basic watchmaking tools and skills, and for simple mechanical watch movements.  Please see question 15 below for information about who you may contact if you desire to learn more about watchmaking after completing the TZ Watch School courses. 


3. Is there a time limit on completing the course, or can I work at my own pace?

Answer: There is no time limit to complete the course and you may work at your own pace. Please note however that if you lose your password more than 1 year after you enroll in the course, you may be required to re-register and pay the tuition to get a new password.


4. Are there .pdf versions of the lessons that I can print out?

Answer: There is a .pdf version of the Level 1E course. You can access this .pdf once you enroll in Level 1. The link is at the top of the Level 1E main index page.


5. Are there any tests? Will I receive a certificate or diploma?

Answer: There are no tests, and there is no certificate or diploma awarded upon completing the course. 


6. Is there an instructor? How do we communicate with the instructor?

Answer: The TZ Watch School is very fortunate to have Machiel Kalf as its instructor. Machiel is an experienced  watchmaking instructor in Amsterdam. You can read about Machiel by clicking here. Students interact with Machiel and with other students in a discussion forum, where they can post questions and comments for and receive responses from the instructor and other students.


7. Does TimeZone sell the Watch School tool kits?

Answer: No. Tool kits are purchased through the TZ Tool Shop, which is operated by  the Otto Frei company. They are located at 126 Second Street, Oakland, CA  94604   USA. their telephone number is (510) 832-0355, or you may e-mail them at You should visit the TZ Tool Shop to purchase your tool kit.


8. I already have some or all of the required tools. Can I purchase specific tools or the movement separately?

Answer: Yes. Items in the tool kit, including the movements, may be ordered "a la carte" at the TZ Tool Shop, or by calling the watch material department at Otto Frei at (510) 832-0355. If you have questions about the tool kits or the movements, you can e-mail, or call Bob Frei at (510) 832-0355, ext. 2.


9. I noticed that different movements are available with the tool kits. Are there courses or lessons for each movement?

Answer: There are 2 Level 1 courses: one for the FM97 movement, also referred to as FH97 or ST97, and one for the ETA 2801-2. When you sign up for the Watch School and pay the tuition, the password you receive allows you to access both of these lessons. Please note however that due to issues relating to the availability of watch movements, the TZ Tool Shop has shipped tool kits with substitute movements, including  ST974, ST96, ST96N, ST969N, ETA 2804-2 and the Tissot 245.There are also tool kits available with the ETA 6498-1 large wristwatch movement and the ETA 6497-1 pocket watch movement. There are no lessons written specifically for these substitute movements. To learn which movements are available at any given time, please contact the TZ Tool Shop prior to ordering your tool kit. Note that all simple, hand wind watch movements operate on the same principles and they are largely the same in their basic construction. Over the years, we have found that students are able to follow the course using substitute movements. If during the course you encounter any difficulties, you can always seek assistance from the instructor and/or from other students in the Watch School discussion forum.   


10. I already have some watchmaking or watch repair experience. Can I begin with the Level 2 course?

Answer: Yes. We do not require that you take the Level 1 course first.


11. Can I turn my TZ Watch School movement into an actual wristwatch that I can wear?

Answer: Yes. You can purchase a case, crystal, dial, hands, and strap from the TZ Tool Shop. Note that these items are purchased separately and are not included with the Watch School tool kit. 


12. Who should I contact if I have other questions about the movements or the tool kit?

Answer: Please contact the Otto Frei company at, or call Bob Frei at (510) 832-0355, ext. 2.


13. Who should I contact if I have questions relating to the Watch School (not tools or movements) that are not addressed in this FAQ?

Answer: Please e-mail


14. Is there currently a Level 4 course, or is one planned for the future? 

Answer: A level 4 course has been discussed and may be offered in the future.


15. Who can I contact if I am interested in learning more about watchmaking and repair after I complete the TZ Watch School courses?

Answer: You can click here to visit a web page at Horology - The Index which lists several watchmaking schools and educational organizations around the world. In the USA you can also contact the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, which offers a variety of courses. Those interested in a career as a watchmaker should investigate the WOSTEP educational program.


16. How do I register for the TZ Watch School?

Answer: You can enroll in either level of the the Watch School and pay the US$75 tuition via Paypal or credit card on our secure server by clicking here.


17. I previously enrolled in the TZ Watch School and I have lost my password. Can I get a new one?

Answer: If you registered for the TZ Watch School after September 3, 2008 and you've lost your password, please use the Recover Lost Password feature. If you registered prior to September 3, 2008 and you've lost your password, please e-mail Note that we do not have a record of every student who has enrolled since the School opened in 1999. As such, before we can issue a new password, we will ask that you provide us with a copy of the electronic receipt you received when you paid for the course. This will help us verify your registration in our records, and if we are able to verify your earlier registration, we will issue a new password. If we are unable to verify your registration, we will require that you re-register. 


18. I enrolled in the TZ Watch School but I have not received my password. What Should I do? 

Answer: First, check the folder in which your spam e-mail is held. If the e-mail from us is not there, e-mail  


19. I have received my user name and password, but I am having trouble accessing the lessons. What do I do?

Answer: TimeZone has created a page that explains how to access the lessons once you have received your user name and password. To view that page, please click here


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