Alan Moore in his graphic novel Watchmen, uses the metaphor of the watchmaker as a central part of the backstory of his heroic character Dr. Manhattan.
In the 2015 major motion picture film Survivor directed by James McTeigue, one of the world's most wanted killers is played by Pierce Brosnan, who demonstrates just how devastating the precision skill sets of a watchmaker can be as he plays the role of 'Nash,' a professional killer who excels at bomb making and long-range shooting.
William Paley and others used the watchmaker in his famous analogy to imply the existence of God (the teleological argument).
In the NBC television series Heroes, the villain Sylar is a watchmaker by trade. His ability to know how watches work corresponds to his ability to gain new superpowers by examining the brains of people he has murdered.
A watchmaker is an artisan who makes and repairs watches. Since a majority of watches are now factory made, most modern watchmakers only repair watches. However, originally they were master craftsmen who built watches, including all their parts, by hand. Modern watchmakers, when required to repair older watches, for which replacement parts may not be available, must have fabrication skills, and can typically manufacture replacements for many of the parts found in a watch. The term clockmaker refers to an equivalent occupation specializing in clocks.
Due to factory/genuine spare parts restrictions, an increasing minority of watchmakers in the US are 'independent,' meaning that they choose not to work directly for industry or at a factory service center. One major Swiss watch brand – Rolex – now pre-qualifies independent watchmakers before they provide them with spare parts. This qualification may include, but is not limited to, holding a modern training certificate from one of several reputable schools; having a workshop environment that meets Rolex's standards for cleanliness; using modern equipment; and being a member of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute. The Omega brand has the same approach. However, the vast majority of modern Swiss brands do not sell parts to independent watchmakers, irrespective of the watchmaker's expertise, training or credentials. This industry policy is thought to enable Swiss manufacturers to maintain tighter quality control of the after-sales service for its watch brands, produce high margins on after sales services (two to four times what an independent watchmaker would ask), and to lower second-hand watchmaking parts on the used and fake market.
Historically, in England, watchmakers would have to undergo a seven-year apprenticeship and then join a guild, such as the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in London, before selling their first watch. In modern times, watchmakers undergo training courses such as the ones offered by the BHI, or one of the many other schools around the world following the WOSTEP style curriculum. Some US watchmaking schools of horology will teach not only the wostep style, including the ETA range of movements, but also focus on the older watches that a modern watchmaker will encounter on a daily basis. In Denmark the apprenticeship lasts four years, with six terms at the Danish School of Watchmaking in Ringsted. The education covers both clocks and watches, as a watchmaker in Denmark is also a clockmaker. In France, there are three diplomas: the lowest is the Certificat d'aptitude professionnelle (CAP) in horology (in two years), then the "Brevet des Métiers d'Art" horology for another two-year course. And optionally, the Diplôme des métiers d'art / DMA Horlogerie (two years).
Patria Watch Co or simply Patria, was a Swiss luxury watchmaker based in Bienne, Switzerland, founded in 1892 by Louis Brandt et Frère. Patria manufactured military trench watches which were used extensively in The First World War between 1914 and 1918. Patria shares a common founder, Louis Brandt et Frère with Omega SA.
In 1917 they purchased fellow Solothurn watchmaker L Tieche Gammeter (LTG). LTG had previously registered the brand "Roamer" in 1908. In 1918 the partnership incorporated into the company Meyer & Studeli SA.
Sir Isaac Newton, among other leaders in the scientific revolution, including René Descartes, upheld "that the physical laws he had uncovered revealed the mechanical perfection of the workings of the universe to be akin to a watch, wherein the watchmaker is God."
The watchmaker analogy was referenced in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial. Throughout the trial, Paley was mentioned several times. The defense's expert witness John Haught noted that both Intelligent Design and the watchmaker analogy are "reformulations" of the same theological argument. On day 21 of the trial, Mr. Harvey walked Dr. Minnich through a modernized version of Paley's argument, substituting a cell phone for the watch. In his ruling, the judge stated that the use of the argument from design by intelligent design proponents "is merely a restatement of the Reverend William Paley's argument applied at the cell level," adding "Minnich, Behe, and Paley reach the same conclusion, that complex organisms must have been designed using the same reasoning, except that Professors Behe and Minnich refuse to identify the designer, whereas Paley inferred from the presence of design that it was God." The judge ruled that such an inductive argument is not accepted as science because it is unfalsifiable.
The watchmaker analogy or watchmaker argument is a teleological argument which states, by way of an analogy, that a design implies a designer. The analogy has played a prominent role in natural theology and the "argument from design," where it was used to support arguments for the existence of God and for the intelligent design of the universe, in both Christianity and Deism.
The watchmaker analogy, framing the teleological argument with reference to a timepiece, dates at least back to the Stoics, who were reported by Cicero in his De Natura Deorum (II.88), using such an argument against Epicureans, whom, they taunt, would "think more highly of the achievement of Archimedes in making a model of the revolutions of the firmament than of that of nature in creating them, although the perfection of the original shows a craftsmanship many times as great as does the counterfeit". It was also used by Robert Hooke and Voltaire, the latter of whom remarked:
The 1859 publication of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection put forward an explanation for complexity and adaptation, which reflects scientific consensus on the origins of biological diversity. In the eyes of some, this provided a counter-argument to the watchmaker analogy: for example, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins referred to the analogy in his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker giving his explanation of evolution. Others, however, consider the watchmaker analogy to be compatible with evolutionary creation, opining that the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. In the 19th century, deists, who championed the watchmaker analogy, held that Darwin's theory fit with "the principle of uniformitarianism—the idea that all processes in the world occur now as they have in the past" and that deistic evolution "provided an explanatory framework for understanding species variation in a mechanical universe."
In 1848 the watchmaker Louis Brandt, who was just 23 years old at the time, opened a factory for the production of key wound pocket watches in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Following considerable success, he formed the company 'Louis Brandt & Fils' with his eldest son Louis Paul in 1877. Following Louis Brandt's death in 1879, his sons Louis Paul and César took over the family business, inspired by their father's passion for watchmaking. In the same year, they moved the company headquarters to Bienne where it is still located to this day. In 1885, the Brandt Brothers developed their first series-produced calibre, the "Labrador" which would give them commercial success and the means to register new brands and explore new markets.
Paley used the watchmaker analogy in his book Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity collected from the Appearances of Nature, published in 1802. In it, Paley wrote that if a pocket watch is found on a heath, it is most reasonable to assume that someone dropped it and that it was made by at least one watchmaker, not by natural forces:
The scientific revolution "nurtured a growing awareness" that "there were universal laws of nature at work that ordered the movement of the world and its parts." James K. A. Smith and Amos Yong write that in "astronomy, the Copernican revolution regarding the heliocentrism of the solar system, Johannes Kepler's (1571–1630) three laws of planetary motion, and Isaac Newton's (1642–1727) law of universal gravitation—laws of gravitation and of motion, and notions of absolute space and time—all combined to establish the regularities of heavenly and earthly bodies." With such a backdrop, "deists suggested the watchmaker analogy: just as watches are set in motion by watchmakers, after which they operate according to their pre-established mechanisms, so also was the world begun by the God as creator, after which it and all its parts have operated according to their pre-established natural laws. With these laws perfectly in place, events have unfolded according to the prescribed plan." For Sir Isaac Newton, "the regular motion of the planets made it reasonable to believe in the continued existence of God." Newton also upheld the idea that "like a watchmaker, God was forced to intervene in the universe and tinker with the mechanism from time to time to ensure that it continued operating in good working order." Like Newton, René Descartes viewed "the cosmos as a great time machine operating according to fixed laws, a watch created and wound up by the great watchmaker."
In addition, he argues that the watchmaker's creation of the watch implies that the watchmaker must be more complex than the watch. Design is top-down, someone or something more complex designs something less complex. To follow the line upwards demands that the watch was designed by a (necessarily more complex) watchmaker, the watchmaker must have been created by a more complex being than himself. So the question becomes who designed the designer? Dawkins argues that (a) this line continues ad infinitum, and (b) it does not explain anything.
Roamer was founded in Solothurn, Switzerland, in 1888 by Fritz Meyer. At first, Meyer and employees concentrated on manufacturing cylinder escapements,. Within only 7 years (in 1895), the company grows to 60 employees and produces complete watches. In the same year the company develops its first own calibre and names it number 38 to commemorate the 38th birthday of the company’s founder. In 1905 Meyer joined with fellow watchmaker Johann Studeli to form the partnership Meyer and Studeli (MST). In the same year Meyer won a Bronze medal at the Liege World Fair. The partnership continued to develop new calibres and enter them into more World Fairs, winning Silver Medals at the Milan Fair in 1906 and Brussels Fair in 1910.
Watches and timepieces have been used as examples of complicated technology in philosophical discussions. For example, Cicero, Voltaire and René Descartes all used timepieces in arguments regarding purpose. The watchmaker analogy, as described here, was used by Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle in 1686, but was most famously formulated by Paley.