The state of Chinese watches

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The state of Chinese watches

Postby koimaster » October 18th 2017, 4:18pm

So over the years we have gone from fuck china and their crappy watches to in many cases " nice, well made watch". Have they gotten better or has our perception changed over the years. I know I would like to have a Maison Celadon watch but at this point perhaps in the future.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby conjurer » October 18th 2017, 4:27pm

I think both; we have a superb ambassador to Chinese horology here in Alberta Time, who is an absolute savant in this field--and also a sterling gentleman who has, in his own, quiet way, brought a lot of us around. And we've also seen the last of guys like Slow-po, who was both a rabid racist and an ass clown.

At the same time, it seems (to me, at least) that serious Chinese watchmakers are doing a fine job, making better and more interesting watches.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby Hawk » October 18th 2017, 4:45pm

My guess is that is that WIS in general and WLs in particular have a more nuanced approach than may have existed at one time as well.

Stuhrling, Stauer and Invicter remain perfectly horrid examples of Chinese capability but we've transitioned into blaming the lying sacks of shit doing the importing. If the Chinese didn't provide TV and in-flight magazine watches some other group would be the goat.

Meantime with tens of thousands of ISO-9001 shops, skilled labor and high tech production the Chinese are also capable of producing some fine stuff if one doesn't mind paying a bit for it. The lion's share of invicters would be unrepentant crap irrespective of their origin.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby AlbertaTime » October 19th 2017, 8:33pm

First, many thanks, Conjurer for your continually kind words and support.

Hawk wrote:Meantime with tens of thousands of ISO-9001 shops, skilled labor and high tech production the Chinese are also capable of producing some fine stuff if one doesn't mind paying a bit for it.


And that's the truth right there. *No one* can produce a high quality mechanical for $30, and I'd still say, so far--that Seiko is a safer bet at $60 than Shanghai. But above that, things get more competitive, and will get more and more competitive as the years pass. The "if one doesn't mind paying a bit for it" has always been true, though--everywhere.

Not being political, but Xi Xinping's recent statement: ""China's economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development," is exactly correct--and mirrors how other emerging industrial powers have grown, like Japan after WWII. Japan, too was known for prodigious production of cheap junk in the 50s and into the 60s, but things changed and experience and capital accumulation along with a stronger focus on quality control made Japan a leader in a number of industries, and the country remains a considerable competitor.

I see the same happening in China's watch industry, and it's probably only because of my own curiousity that I might have seen that change happening--and accepted that it was happening, earlier than some others. I think Chinese watches are getting better and I still probably hold Beijing Watch Factory as the leader in the low to mid high-end. But if you ever get to hold a top-end Koncise watch, though, or an MCH/Longio you'll understand more clearly that there are others that deserve commendation. There's good reason that there's now are 2 Koncise pieces in the Musee International D'Horlogerie in La Choux-de-Fonds.

My own dream isn't a Beijing, though--it's a Koncise like Li Wei's "water clock" piece...that I caught at 3:17 which does no justice to it, at all. But the case, the strap-grabbing case design, the finishing, the strap...maybe the most comfortable--and beautiful--watch I ever had on my wrist, but only for a few moments. It was back on Li Wei's wrist pretty quick :-). It's spectacular to hold and see first hand.

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But I also have to say, this Longio is still the most substantial, least prissy tourbillon I ever laid eyes on--and I'd love it, too. It's a freakin' tank. There's no mistaking the quality when you hold it.

Image.

All that said, I also saw higher end Guangzhou, Rossini, Polaris, Tianba, Ebohr, and many other brands--many utterly unknown in the west--that are well made and certainly worthy of wrist time. My wallet prevents...
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby TemerityB » October 19th 2017, 9:19pm

You guys beat me to the punch. There's a big difference than a Chinese brand that's an actual brand, and the farmed out mass-produced stuff that they sell on El Sleazo home shopping networks and at thruway rest stops.

In the last couple of years, I've seen some really nice watches produced by Sea-Gull, Juisko, and Peacock in real time, and all offered features and quality virtually indistinguishable from brands made in other countries. A nice watch is a nice watch - everybody here knows one they they see one.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby conjurer » October 19th 2017, 10:53pm

AlbertaTime wrote:I see the same happening in China's watch industry, and it's probably only because of my own curiousity that I might have seen that change happening--and accepted that it was happening, earlier than some others. I think Chinese watches are getting better and I still probably hold Beijing Watch Factory as the leader in the low to mid high-end. But if you ever get to hold a top-end Koncise watch, though, or an MCH/Longio you'll understand more clearly that there are others that deserve commendation. There's good reason that there's now are 2 Koncise pieces in the Musee International D'Horlogerie in La Choux-de-Fonds.


And right there is what I'm saying about A-T and his championing of Chinese horology.

I'm not one for nostalgia, but one of the charming things about the 19th and early 20th Century is that there were a whole lot of people who became enamored with certain parts of science or nature (for instance.) As a result, they almost compulsively studied what fascinated them, and because nobody else was doing the same, they became experts in their slender field of interest. While I myself am nothing but a rank parvenu when it comes to horology, I like to think that I know a little bit, and the fact that I kinda know what A-T's talking about makes me pretty proud.

The fact that we Watchlords have come to admire much of what the Chinese are doing in horology also makes me proud; certainly, we have our differences with China, but politics are really a pretty weak thing. Me and Alain broke bread this week with Cod and Mark, with whom we certainly differ in our politics, but we were able to have a fine dinner with these fine fellows, and that's the important thing.

If only everything else in life could be so easy.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby TemerityB » October 20th 2017, 7:31am

conjurer wrote:The fact that we Watchlords have come to admire much of what the Chinese are doing in horology also makes me proud; certainly, we have our differences with China, but politics are really a pretty weak thing. Me and Alain broke bread this week with Cod and Mark, with whom we certainly differ in our politics, but we were able to have a fine dinner with these fine fellows, and that's the important thing.

If only everything else in life could be so easy.


Well noted as always, conj. That's the important stuff - all the comes in at 11th place.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby Hawk » October 20th 2017, 8:59am

AlbertaTime wrote: Japan, too was known for prodigious production of cheap junk in the 50s and into the 60s, but things changed and experience and capital accumulation along with a stronger focus on quality control made Japan a leader in a number of industries, and the country remains a considerable competitor.


In my estimation that right there is one of the few times the perspective of age comes in handy. There have been times, I believe to include on this very forum, when the notion of Japan being a mid-20th century purveyor of absolute crap was greeted with epic skepticism. For those of us that grew up in the 1950s it was, at the time, impossible to guess that Japanese products would eventually equal or exceed Leica or Zeiss or that the Toyota Camry would be in the number 1 slot in cars.com American Made Index or that some of the Japanese autos would eventually command German type pricing.

Eventually South Korea starts fabricating some nice stuff while us old mossbacks can't help but remember that Hyundai once made only an execrable copy of the Ford Pinto - inferior in most particulars. So much so that they didn't attempt to market the thing in the US. I've driven one - their decision to keep it to themselves was wise. If anyone saw the Hyundai Genesis G90 in that sorry Pinto clone I didn't hear of it.

And now China gets their turn in the barrel. However they've been producing excellent product for some time while still catering to broke-dick importers like the Lalo. And not just in watches - a crib importer that fails to mention that lead-based paint is a no-no in pursuing the last dime was probably the prototype for TV watch brands.

Kinda makes me wonder who's going to do to China what China is doing to Korea that Korea did to Japan. I keep betting on India and keep losing. So I suppose Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam or Laos might be up to bat.

Since no WL thread is complete without a Cecil, the Chinese have been doing some stuff spectacularly well for thousands of years. The guy running the Su Embroidery Studio has been raising his prices like there's no tomorrow but some product remains reasonable and highly recommended as gifts - it ain't your aunt Meg's needlepoint.

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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby AJC » October 20th 2017, 8:59am

Beijing Watch Factory

Zhufeng

I've wanted one for a while.

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Yeah... My next two watches will be a Zhufeng and a Seiko Lord Marvel 5740-8000 with the linen dial in good, original condition.

I stole these pics from the interwebz.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby Pubbie » October 20th 2017, 9:16am

There will always be your pureblood, old-Europe, Swiss-only, purist, "depuis 1485", ancient-brand watch-dick who claims you can only make good watches if the brand has been around since forever (or 1485) employing bearded gnomes in the Juras rather than a massive, two year old CNC machine in a sprawling industrial complex off the E44 outside Geneva which is what they all actually do. The sort of snobbish tede who thinks in-breeding is the only thing that will save European high culture. I say fuck that, if the Chinese have good enough nous to make modern Hamiltons and bracelets for Omegas, they're good to go!
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby AlbertaTime » October 20th 2017, 10:16pm

conjurer wrote:[W]e have our differences with China, but politics are really a pretty weak thing. Me and Alain broke bread this week with Cod and Mark, with whom we certainly differ in our politics, but we were able to have a fine dinner with these fine fellows, and that's the important thing.


You maybe have no idea how much that cheered me up. I often say--because it's true--that the best thing about watch collecting and, in my case, my interest in Chinese horology specifically--is the people.

And I'll say this because it's true: I always wish Slowpo and I could have gotten along. He had his good side.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby conjurer » October 20th 2017, 10:19pm

AlbertaTime wrote:
conjurer wrote:[W]e have our differences with China, but politics are really a pretty weak thing. Me and Alain broke bread this week with Cod and Mark, with whom we certainly differ in our politics, but we were able to have a fine dinner with these fine fellows, and that's the important thing.


You maybe have no idea how much that cheered me up. I often say--because it's true--that the best thing about watch collecting and, in my case, my interest in Chinese horology specifically--is the people.

And I'll say this because it's true: I always wish Slowpo and I could have gotten along. He had his good side.


I don't know if I'd go that far. I mean, let's not get nuts!
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby AlbertaTime » October 20th 2017, 10:20pm

Hawk wrote:
AlbertaTime wrote:[u]s old mossbacks can't help but remember that Hyundai once made only an execrable copy of the Ford Pinto - inferior in most particulars.


I loved my old Hyundai Pony. Ran like a top, easy to drive--especially in northern Alberta winters, and cheap on gas. Fast too, all things considered.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby AlbertaTime » October 20th 2017, 10:20pm

conjurer wrote:I don't know if I'd go that far. I mean, let's not get nuts!


I often thought he was funny as hell, Had a great sense of ha-ha, really.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby AlbertaTime » October 20th 2017, 10:23pm

AJC wrote:Beijing Watch Factory

Zhufeng

I've wanted one for a while.

Image


Me too. The *original* Beiijing Zhufeng model. Damn, one that I didn't pay enough attention too when the getting was easy.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby koimaster » October 20th 2017, 11:07pm

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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby Hawk » October 20th 2017, 11:26pm

AlbertaTime wrote:I loved my old Hyundai Pony. Ran like a top, easy to drive--especially in northern Alberta winters, and cheap on gas. Fast too, all things considered.


The Canadian Pony was sold from 1985 or thereabouts with the domestic Pony, which I encountered in numbers while in Qatar, being first produced in 1975. I suppose that it could have exploded itself into a form of evolution by the time y'all got them.

But you made me look and I would have to acknowledge that some Canadian auto reviewers exhibit a wonderfully funny turn of phrase.

http://driving.ca/hyundai/pony/auto-new ... umble-pony
The Pony was thousands less than a Civic or Corolla, and only slightly more expensive than Eastern Bloc drudgery like the Lada.

It had a decent warranty, sipped fuel, and even handled highway driving just fine. It was also surprisingly roomy, and, if not quite roomy enough for you, just wait five minutes and the door would fall off.

Despite selling some 20,000 examples in 1984 and 25,000 more in 1985, you hardly ever see one of these cars on the road today. That’s because they started disintegrating the second their recycled ship-steel construction felt the first crisp bite of that cold Canadian air. If you listened quietly, you could actually hear them rusting.


The ones I'm familiar with had the soul of a Trabant in a Pinto wrapper.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby AlbertaTime » October 21st 2017, 2:20am

koimaster wrote:http://www.good-stuffs.com/Beijing-Zhufeng-S-hand-winding-mechanical-watch-SB18-_p_235.html


It's nice but a very different look than the original, which had the dot indices around the edge, harkening back to early 60s VCMs There have ben a couple (I think) interim Zhufeng models but with date windows, too.
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Re: The state of Chinese watches

Postby AlbertaTime » October 21st 2017, 2:26am

Hawk wrote:
Despite selling some 20,000 examples in 1984 and 25,000 more in 1985, you hardly ever see one of these cars on the road today. That’s because they started disintegrating the second their recycled ship-steel construction felt the first crisp bite of that cold Canadian air. If you listened quietly, you could actually hear them rusting.


The ones I'm familiar with had the soul of a Trabant in a Pinto wrapper.


I had mine about 3 years or so, from about 1988, and it didn't rust in that time to any great degree that I noticed--but I wondered why there doesn't seem to be many left around. I had a sales territory that was...well, if you draw a line from Edmonton to Red Deer and then take a line to the Saskatchewan border, the entire column going up to the northern border was my turf, and I had zero issue driving through cold and snow that stopped a lot of other vehicles. Quite evidently, other folk's mileage varied ;-)
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