AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #9 - ZhuHai

AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #9 - ZhuHai

Postby AlbertaTime » August 4th 2014, 1:06pm

Well, if anyone wants watch content, and maybe a bit less of this touristy stuff, today's yer day with a visit to the ZhuHai Rossini Watch Industry Ltd. factory in very scenic Zhuhai...Back in the horological deep end :-)

Modem warning: Here's 197 photos, taken in a single day that started in Guangzhou, June 24th...two days before the Shenzen Watch and Clock Fair...that took us to tropical ZhuHai, on the coast, the home of the Rossini, and then back to Guangzhou for dinner and an evening...lighting show (you'll see) before the day ended.

Rossini, owned by Hong-Kong listed China Haidian Holdings (now Citychamp Watch & Jewelery Group as of May 2014), got its start when a Swiss company opened a manufacturing facility in Singapore to build watch cases. In 1984 that factory was bought out and moved to a brand new facilty in Zhuhai, in the first Sino-foreign joint (HK/China) venture of the Chinese watch industry.

The first Rossini branded watch was built in 1985, and the now company produces nearly 1 million watches a year. There's an on-site production facility staff of 500 people, and 2000 sales personnel in Company retail branches throughout the country.

Note:

China Haidian/Citychamp Watch & Jewelery Group owns the Chinese brands Rossini and Ebohr, and now also owns the Swiss brands Corum (2013) and Eterna (2011) as well as Rotary, Dreyfuss & Co and J&T Windmills. Although Rossini no longer holds the licence for Porsche Design, it's Swiss arm still provides movements for that brand.

The Rossini and Ebohr brands are major players in the Chinese domestic watch market, both very much targeting mid to higher-end style-conscious demographics, but producing watches that range from a hundred or so RMB to RMB 110,000 (domestic tourbillon, 18k, patent pending clamshell case with interior carved coins and dragons pattern circled by 25 diamonds, 2-week and 24 hr. retrograde, limited to 60 pieces). Many pieces in the RMB 5000-10,000 range (USD 800-1600).

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LiWei, Galen and I took the train from Guangzhou to very scenic ZhuHai on the morning of the 24th, overcast but still very, very warm and humid, 40 and 90%. Takes some getting used to, but it's not awful.

The Guangzhou train station was modern, spotlessly clean and beautiful. The ride was comfortable and we arrived in Zhuhai about half an hour later...

(Any blue border photos courtesy and credit: LiWei)

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...and grabbed a cab to take us from the train station to the Rossini facilities. Here's what I can show you of obviously beautiful ZhuHai from the taxicab vantage point...

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...with a rain for about four minutes as we approached the Rossini compound, which comprises three buildings, the museum/executive/administration wing, the production wing, and the staff/housing/dining wing.

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The rain had stopped by the time we got out of the cab.

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The facilities are pristine, inside and out.

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We were taken from the security entrance to meet our guide for the first part of the morning, and taken to the Rossini horological museum. The water clock in the museum is the oldest known water clock in China, which makes it the oldest known water clock in the world.

(A side-note: Industrial tourism is very much "a thing" in China, and the museum is a popular ZhuHai destination. You may have noticed by now that it's not just Sea-Gull that has a museum. The more factories I visit, the more it is evident to me that business-built museums and collections are wonderfully commonplace, and that keeping historical collections is a cultural aspect of doing business in China. Even smaller businesses proudly display small but significant industry-relevant artifacts to visitors, as I've noted in past posts.)

Back to Rossini..

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I was immpressed that the museum gave appreciative nods to horology around the world, very generously acknowledging western contributions, both historic and modern.

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Following the museum tour, we were introduced to Ms. Tina Luo of the overseas department at Rossini (green utfit) and soon after allowed to view a not-normally-public section of the museum that houses some higher end pieces from around the world, and is also used as a showcase for Eterna/Porsche Design and Corum products.

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Leaving there, we walked the display concourse to the production building, stopping along the way for a modeling session ;-)

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Entering the production wing...

I strongly advise taking the time to read the posters. They're an education in watch production, and also very informative in understanding this company's current, and possibly future, place the world market.

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WUS member and Watchlead technical support: btgalen "Galen"

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Next stop was the staff/housing/dining wing where we were invited for a qwonderful afternoon lunch. We were proudly informed that what we were eating was the normal daily lunch provided to staff, and that all of the vegetables were grown pesticide free by the company on adjacent company land.

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The food and the hospitality was awesome. Can't say enough about how kindly we were treated at Rossini.

...and we were fortunate to all see each other again in Shenzen.

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We were driven to a local train station, for a ride back to Guangzhou. It was approaching evening. Here's the view from second floor of the train station, and the track level...

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...and shots of the ride back to Guangzhou to downtown...

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...where we took a cab to dinner.

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Dinner was friendly and very social -- and delicious -- and Mr. Ha showed some of this collection of packet watches...and a Hublot (Big Bang Yacht Club de Monaco Tuiga, Limited Edition 250 PCS). There's some beauty antiques comin' up...

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Mr. Ha was generous enough to tke us to a downtown open court area that was beautifully lit...and home to, among other architectural delicacies, the Canton Tower, stands at 600m, 1,969 ft tall. It is the tallest structure in China and the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world.

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Since I saw it at night, I didn't really *get* the actual height of the canton Tower, till I looked it up and found this photo of it being built at Wikimedia...that's about halfway...

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So, I'm going to end this with a pointer to another article on another website: Europa Star, where they talk about Eterna (owned by Rossini/China Haidian), and where it's headed now, under this ownership.

Interviewed is Bruno Jufer, the CEO of Eterna. Go there for all the details, but I noticed this...since lots of bespoke and micro brands are looking for an ETA replacement:

Eterna builds the Calibre 39 in-house movement, offering 88 different configurations. CEO Jufer explained: "And by this I do not mean additional plates. The base plate has been designed to accommodate all these different configurations (see box)

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The “modular” Calibre 39 is a movement with 88 different configurations, all integrated. There are two basic possibilities to start with: self-winding, with central hours and minutes and small seconds, or manual winding. From there, you can include a power reserve, GMT, moon phase etc. right up to an integrated column-wheel chronograph, with date, small seconds, hour, minute, instantaneous co-axial chronograph, flyback, 68 hours power reserve!

Samir Merdanovic, vice-president and technical director, explains that this is a real “Lego system: the modules are pre-assembled and you just need two or three screws to install them. Four years of development were required and more than 10 million Swiss francs of investment with the total support of China Haidian. The idea is to be able to make this movement available to third parties and to turn this mass production into a veritable profit centre under the name Eterna Movement Company AG. The high-level of industrialisation of this movement allows us to offer it at prices that are very attractive given its great qualities: 350 Swiss francs for all the different configurations, with the exception of the integrated chronograph, which will be sold for around 700 Swiss francs. It’s a bet on the long term because it is destined to be produced in volume, up to 100,000 units.”



More to come...Guangzhou Watch Factory, an OEM dial-making facility, and the Opening Dinner of the 2014 - 25th annual Shenzen Watch and Clock Fair.
Last edited by AlbertaTime on October 21st 2016, 9:28am, edited 1 time in total.
Curator: Alberta Museum of Chinese Horology in Peace River

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Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #9 - ZhuHai

Postby conjurer » August 4th 2014, 2:10pm

Day-um. I'm glad I took a nap before reading this post, A-T. It plumb wore me out.

Another fine example of the splendid photojournalism we've come to expect, A-T. Really first rate; you should submit some of these for professional publication!
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Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #9 - ZhuHai

Postby foghorn » August 4th 2014, 2:51pm

Entertaining once again.

I particularly like the McDonalds and Coke product placement.


I'm surprised to see so many bee-keepers are also watchmakers.
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boneyguy, Sep 12, 2007 #12
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Re: AlbertaTime in China, China visit #3, Post #9 - ZhuHai

Postby AlbertaTime » August 4th 2014, 2:56pm

foghorn wrote:I'm surprised to see so many bee-keepers are also watchmakers.

ISWYDT :lol:
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