St. Paul College Watchmaking College is where I attended school and the timing of the following information is disturbing to me. The word "pawn" comes to mind.
While working at Rolex, I noticed that I was the only person there that had been hired from an official WOSTEP school other than the Rolex school(I did not however know every persons back ground...so it might have been possible). Now I hear that Rolex has with drawn funding part way through their promised agreement with St. Paul College and the Watchmaking College is being forced to shut down. Training at the oldest watchmaking school in the country is coming to an end and the circumstances are vague and unclear. It was alluded to that Rolex is having money issues, but people saying that must not know how deep Rolex pockets are, nor do they know how busy their factories continue to be.
There is a new training certification called SAWTA that Rolex is paying for and requiring of everyone it is in control of. They say it is more comprehensive than WOSTEP and that prospective employers have requested some changes. I (having completed the WOSTEP program) can see room for improvement and know of areas that were lacking. Still, it is my guess that personality conflicts are at the core of this divergence and that someone else finally got tired of being pushed around. Pride and character are a good combination, pride and power are less so.
If scarcity is equivalent to value, we really could not afford to lose another watchmaking college. There are too few schools to begin with in an industry that is suffering from an acute shortage of skilled workers and if Rolex really needed to show everyone who was the boss and take their ball home early then another manufacturer really should have stepped up to the plate and supported their own industry.
Sometimes you are lucky enough to work for a company where the boss's door is always open and people are encouraged to just walk in and have a truthful conversation about issues in the work place. If you are ever in a position to work for Rolex (and this is really the purpose of this blog) simply know that that little truthful conversation with the boss is totally unnecessary as he will already know about it. You will be surrounded by cameras at all times. Your whereabouts are always known and you will find that anything you say can and will turn up in conversations with management at a later date regardless of who was around when you said it. People may be assigned to follow you around, always be within earshot and sit near you at breaks pretending to do a crossword puzzle when what they are really doing is taking notes. Talking things over with yourself in the bathroom is not a good idea either. No, I am not paranoid.
The other reason you will never have that heart to heart convo with the boss is that it is absolutely forbidden to criticize the company. The company is in complete control and does not make mistakes. Therefore having anything other than positive things to say while under the Rolex umbrella is sharply frowned upon. Always placate the Emperor at all times.
Another fascinating thing would happen from time to time. People would just dis-appear suddenly with out a trace or a good-bye or even a forwarding address. Days later I would find myself asking "what happened to so and so?" and no one would have any idea. We just wouldn't see them again and we knew better than to ask too many questions. Got to be kind of creepy really. Other times people were escorted out the door. I remember the time there was a young pregnant lady that I assume just wasn't Rolex material. In tears (shame) she was allowed to say her good-byes while 3 armed guards stood by to ensure everything was under control.
The bottom line is: if I had known, I would have never gone there.