The School of Watchmaking at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) will close at the end of 2018, after graduation of the current class. A notice was posted to the school’s website: “OSUIT is phasing out the Watchmaking & Microtechnology program within the School of Engineering Technologies. OSUIT will no longer be accepting applications for or enrolling new students in the Watchmaking & Microtechnology program, and only courses required for current students will be offered.”
The OSUIT School of Watchmaking was founded in 1946 and initially focused on education for veterans. As of 2018 the OSUIT School of Watchmaking was one of only a few original programs still in operation at OSUIT. The OSUIT School of Watchmaking was in part funded by the Swiss American Watchmakers Training Alliance (SAWTA). SAWTA is a program created by Rolex to standardize curriculum, testing and certification of watchmaking students in the USA.
Jerry Tate, a current student at the the OSUIT School of Watchmaking, said, "The OSUIT watchmaking and microtechnology program has produced many accomplished graduates throughout its existence, many of whom are in leadership positions at major watch groups and brands in the US, so it is indeed unfortunate that the program will be closing. My second year classmates and I were concerned when there was not a sufficient number of students to form a new class in January. We looked forward to passing on our lessons learned and helping them through the first year. We are of course very grateful that we were accepted and will be able to complete the program. It should be noted that the closure of four other programs at OSUIT was also announced in addition to the watchmaking program closure."
Jason Champion, the OSUIT School of Watchmaking Program Chair, said, "It is with great regret that after 72 years, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology will be phasing out the watchmaking program. It saddens me greatly as the program chair, an instructor, and, perhaps most of all, as an alumnus of the institution to see the watchmaking program come to an end. Due to an overwhelming budget crisis in the state of Oklahoma, our campus administration made the difficult decision to close the School of Watchmaking. We are very grateful for the support we have received from SAWTA, and we fully support the training offered to students through this program. We are proud of the level of education we provided to our students and celebrate the success of one of OSU Institute of Technology’s original programs offered since the campus opened in 1946. We appreciate all who have contacted us with their support for our faculty, students and also the institution. We wish our watchmaking students and alumni continued success in the profession that we love so dearly."
With the closure of the OSUIT School of Watchmaking, there are nine full-time watchmaking schools left in the USA.