Well, you are an engineer, I am a medical doctor, a nuclear physician actually, so I think I know a thing or 2 about life, since I understand cells and metabolic processes and manipulate energy at a subatomic level (gamma, beta, alpha radiation) inorder to diagnose and cure diseases.
You said someone cannot make a watch from scratch without the building blocks. You are right. But you assume life has not yet been created artificially because we are still assembling or finding out about the building blocks of life. I guess your presume that when we would have found all building blocks for life and the technology to assemble these building blocks, then we will create life artificially. You are wrong.
1st of all, at a purely material level, we ALREADY HAVE the building blocks for what consists of living organisms at our disposal, we know all of them! We have studied these processes for thousands of years through dissections of corpses and through experiments (invivo and invitro). We know and have at our disposal all the nuclic acids that build up DNA, we have all the amino acids that make up enzymes and complex cellular proteins, in short mankind already has all the simple inorganic and organic molecules at its disposal to at least replicate living things…but yet…never succeeded…We have sure improved alot in our understanding of science and medicine, yet, we just cannot create a living cell despite all that! With science we cannot defeat death, we cannot bring back death organisms/animals/people back to life, despite how much money is being pumped into research involving these particular areas.
2nd of all, mankind can create inanimate things…we created the computer, we create robots, realy cool stuff. We are able to use what we observe and what we have to create stuff, that has always been the case since the beginning of our species. Everyone knows that a robot, no matter how advanced it is, is not a living thing. How is that?
Why is it so difficult for us to replicate from the basic inanimate inorganic and organic molecules we have at our disposal just a living cell with its enymes and protein synthesis and mitochondria from observing a cell which is alive, yet easier to create a complex robot although robots never existed before…
It just shows that man cannot do everything, its like asking an ant to build a computer. Ants can build complex nests for their queen, hunt for food in well organised and complex ways, but will never group somewhere and start building a computer or robot. They just cant do it.
Man was created in the image of God, so we have dominance and power over creation, however we cannot create life from nothing because we are created beings, and only the uncreated eternal Being, aka God, can create life. As simple as that!