The Veterans Watchmakers Initiative held a grand opening for its new school in Odessa this week. The Odessa Center for Horological Excellence will hold classes for disabled war veterans to learn how to make watches.
Sam Cannan is the longtime watchmaker and former police officer launching the project.
“We have over 300 people that are waiting for a project from literally almost every state and almost as far away as Dubai. It’s really been gratifying to me, because it’s been a long lonely road putting this together,” said Cannan of the success of the school’s debut.
The Horology school is housed at the former American Legion Post 25 which had been scheduled for demolition.
Cannan says there is an industry shortage of watchmakers, and the nature of the work allows for watchmakers to work from home, which could be a agreeable circumstances for veterans with various disability.
“I kind of joke to the student’s if you have one arm and one eye, and a burning desire, I can train you to be a watchmaker,” said Cannan.
VWI is modeled after the Bulova school in New York, which taught veterans to make watches after World War II.