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Thread: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

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  1. #31
    Member lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    Part four - Assessment.

    I am not a Swissphile, most of the work I do is on stuff that professional watchmakers don’t have the time or inclination to do, which leads to a lot of Chinese and Japanese stuff and the low end vintage junk. So, I feel I am well acquainted with what the Far East can offer.

    With that preface, I will say this of the three 2824-2 we looked at, the ETA is the best of the three. The Rado was a NOS from the mid to late 1980's, and aside from the lower jewel count is just as good as the ones produced today.

    Does this mean the other two are inferior movements?

    Hardly, the deciding factors are not in the functional areas, but in the areas that are done because that is how you make a quality product, cleaning up the unseen and well as the seen.

    The Hangzhou is the better of the remaining two, in terms of workmanship. If you look at these two pictures:




    You will note that the underside of the screw hole is properly chamfered on the Hangzhou, while the Seagull it is not. This is typical of the work on the under side of all parts of the Seagull. The overall finish of the plates in general is better on the Hangzhou, there is an absence of tooling marks and tooling chatter.

    Chatter and tooling marks on the Seagull (left).


    Cleaning up little things like the pallet fork (Hangzhou - right)


    My estimate is that these two movements, the Seagull and the Hangzhou are priced about the same. The additional work done on the Seagull to decorate the external features is compensated for by skipping minor non-essential work in unseen areas. While the Hangzhou maintains a uniform dull workmanlike finish everywhere.

    Also, the Hangzhou is manufactured more like the ETA than the Seagull, every part and almost every machine cut is the same on the Hangzhou as on the ETA. It just has three more jewels (for a total of 28, same as the Seagull.)

    The Seagull, however, is not “just a copy” of he ETA 2824-2. It is a re-engineered version of the ETA 2824-2. Unnecessary, wasteful and difficult processes have been removed and a more simplified process put in their place. This is another way Seagull can spend more time on making the outside pretty, without increasing the production time and thus controlling the cost.

    Which one would I use in a watch, if I were to make one (on a mass scale)? The Seagull.

    Now, you may ask why would I pick the one that I have just ranked the lowest for my choice. There are several reasons, not the least is the name “Seagull,” which does carry some weight, in that it is known as a quality movement producer. The second reason is the Seagull just looks so much better that the poor plain Hangzhou. And third, there is no real performance reason not to. The Seagull is just as clean and nice where it matters as either the ETA or the Hangzhou.

    General notes on the overall design of the 2824-2 - The 2824-2 is the end of a long and involved evolution of movements. The end requirement was, apparently to make the least expensive movement possible, while maintaining reliability. Just about all of the springs are integrated into the parts that need them, this makes the 2824-2 one of the easier movements to work on.

    By using the design of the ETA 2824-2, the Chinese have copied one of the best (affordable) movements offered by the Swiss today. It is not a vintage Elgin, from say, 1950, (the pinnacle of movement making, in my opinion) or a Rolex 3135, but then these movements don’t cost what an Elgin did in 1950, or what a 3135 does today.

    Provided the watch manufacturer keeps fingers off the balance wheel and dust and debris from floating around the inside of the case, either of the two Chinese movements should provide an excellent engine for any watch.
    Last edited by lysanderxiii; December 29th, 2008 at 19:54.

  2. #32
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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    I guess this would be Part #4

    Thank you for taking the time to do a comparative photo study of these three movements. From what you've shown us and from your own experiences, it looks like any watch with either of the Chinese movements would be a good bet

    I do still have that one question about why Sea Gull didn't/doesn't oil their movements?
    Last edited by Pawl_Buster; December 30th, 2008 at 06:25.
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  3. #33
    Member lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    Quote Originally Posted by constellation90 View Post
    To get a watch maker to oil a watch would be about $60-100 can here. Since these where sold as finished products, I think it's more of a fair test not to oil them. I also noticed there is no grease on the chinese rotor bearings. It's small things like this that adds up to a value of a watch.
    The 3 questions I have, 1) How standardised is the chinese parts? eg If you had 10 of the seagulls, could you swap parts with each of them without problems or huge variations?
    2) Are they actually made from proper steel, or are they made from ceramics like miyotas?
    the reason I'm wondering, a friend told me In china, they test the movements. The ones that fail or are lousy are sold in the replica market. The better ones they use for themselves or the export market.
    3) What era are the ETA's being tested? Older tooling vs new tooling could explain some of the crudeness. Over the years the quality of a movement can change alot from the machienery that makes it wearing out. Or the lack of new technologys
    Any movement from the manufacturer should be oiled. Does it matter, as stated earlier, yes and no.

    These aren't car wheel bearings, they aren't packed in grease. According to ETA, a drop or two of fine watch oil (Mobius 9010, or equivalent) is all that is required. And yes, little thing like that add up to overall quality, but a long and detailed discussion of "the cost of quality" isn't really what I had in mind for this thread, maybe later.

    Your questions:

    1) The manufacture of anything these days requires the interchangeability of parts within the assembly line, I am sure that if you took one hundred samples of either the Seagull or Hangzhou apart and mixed all the parts up (with the exception of the balance and hairspring assembly), the reassembled all of them every one would work.

    What I am interested in is whether or not the parts for the Hangzhou and Seagull are compatible with the Swiss spares. It seems that they are.

    2) No ceramics, just gold and nickel plated brass and steel as far as I can see. However, I did not do any metallurgical testing on them, so I cannot state whether or not they are using the same grade or quality steel and brass as the originals. We will have to wait and see, over the next few decades, we will be able to examine articles that come in for service and see the wear, and assess if it is faster or slower than the originals.

    The counterfeit market has poor reliability, due to the simple fact that they have extremely poor quality assurance (again "cost of quality" discussion). These people are looking to turn high profits, therefore have dirty (ie not a clean-room type workshop, not that three week old food in in the corner of the workshop) assembly areas, don't take care to keep fingers and dust out of the case and other things that result in high infant mortality.

    Movement manufacturers don't really care what your putting their movement in, I have seen real ETAs in Omega counterfiets.

    3) The Rado was from the 1980s as far as I know. Not any better, and certainly no worse than current offering from ETA.

  4. #34
    Member lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha-Getty View Post
    I guess this would be Part #4

    Thank you for taking the time to do a comparative photo study of these three movements. From what you've shown us and from your own experiences, it looks like any watch with either of the Chinese movements would be a good bet

    I do still have that one question about why Sea Gull didn't/doesn't oil their movements?
    Most like explanation is it was a "quality escape." The balance was oiled, indicating there is a step in movement assembly to lubricate the watch, for some reason it just was not completely done.

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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    Quote Originally Posted by lysanderxiii View Post
    Most like explanation is it was a "quality escape." The balance was oiled, indicating there is a step in movement assembly to lubricate the watch, for some reason it just was not completely done.
    I just wondered because this isn't the first instance of unlubricated Sea Gull movements I've read about. A recent investigation into a Chinese chrono with the additional sub dial at the 6 o'clock position found the movement to be devoid of oil except for the balance. In that instance it was apparently done on purpose to reduce friction on the additional parts and allow the watch to keep running.

    One last question; do the Chinese movements hand wind as stiffly as the ETA? I imagine the Hangzhou probably does but wondered if the Sea Gull does as well.

  6. #36
    Moderator Martin_B's Avatar
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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    Quote Originally Posted by lysanderxiii View Post
    The problem with these image heavy posts is it is hard to keep track of all the things you are trying to show.

    That is one reason why I posted it, but would you like to know why it is off center?

    [....]

    Aside from the unsightlyness of the off-center hole, it really has no influence on the operation of the rotor, the screw that goes in the hole is only there to retain the inner bearing race.

    And, just as a point of reference, although it looks huge in the picture the screw hole is only off-center by 0.044 mm (or 0.0017 inches, for US.)

    Ah, I see. Blown up like this, it looks terrible,.
    Still, it makes you form an opinion about the care for all parts, essential or non-essential. I think that was also a conclusion from another side by side comparison: The finishing on places were it has no advantage for the functioning was better on the Swiss...

    That's why we need the accompanying text of a real expert

    Regards,

    Martin

  7. #37
    Member lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha-Getty View Post
    I just wondered because this isn't the first instance of unlubricated Sea Gull movements I've read about. A recent investigation into a Chinese chrono with the additional sub dial at the 6 o'clock position found the movement to be devoid of oil except for the balance. In that instance it was apparently done on purpose to reduce friction on the additional parts and allow the watch to keep running.

    One last question; do the Chinese movements hand wind as stiffly as the ETA? I imagine the Hangzhou probably does but wondered if the Sea Gull does as well.
    When one almost triples the number of gears in any mechanical device, one of two things is going to have to happen, 1) the power input will have to be increased, or 2) the drag due too friction will have to be reduced. The "el premero" 7750 (not to be confuse with the standard 7753 style layout[1]) simply runs the base movement at very nearly it maximum capacity.

    There are, however, a few other reasons one might what to not oil the train, 1) remove one step in production, 2) alleviates the need to have trained personnel to perform the oiling, and 3) prevents the possibility of over oiling the movement. Over oiling, will lead to more warranty returns than under oiling, due to oil getting on the balance spring among other things.

    I would never have characterized the winding of an ETA as stiff, not as silky smooth and a AS 1900 or as nonexistent feelings as a PUW 1361, but never stiff.

    But, to answer the question, all the hand winding was the same - enough resistance to know you are doing something, and too much to feel the mainspring slip when you reach the max-wind state.

    Notes:
    1. There are two different horizontal tri-compax automatic chronographs based on the 7750 available from China. One has the El Premero lay out with the running seconds at 6, and the minute and hour counters at 9 and 3 respectively. The other has the same layout as the base 7750, except the minute counter is moved to the 3 position; and unlike the ETA/Valjoux 7753, which shares the dial layout, the Chinese version manages to keep the quick set date function, big plus. This movement is the one to get if you need a horizontal tri-compax automatic chronograph. I have only heard of the "el premero" 7750 being used in counterfeits.

  8. #38
    Member Dapper's Avatar
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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    Quote Originally Posted by lysanderxiii View Post
    Well, that's it for the night, next we will address the final part of this study - The Assessment.
    Looking forward to it

    A great read so far, thanks very much

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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    Quote Originally Posted by lysanderxiii View Post
    ...

    I would never have characterized the winding of an ETA as stiff, not as silky smooth and a AS 1900 or as nonexistent feelings as a PUW 1361, but never stiff.

    But, to answer the question, all the hand winding was the same - enough resistance to know you are doing something, and too much to feel the mainspring slip when you reach the max-wind state.
    ...
    By stiff, I'm meaning compared to movements like the Miyota 8200, ST16 or my favourite; the Shangahi B.

    I have a couple of ETA 2824s, an AS1916 and an Eterna Matic 1424; all which have about the same level of 'stiffness' to manually wind. Compared to the Asian movements, it requires vastly more grip and torque to wind these Swiss movements.

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    Re: How do Seagull and Hangzhou compare to a ETA: An in-depth look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dapper View Post
    Looking forward to it

    A great read so far, thanks very much
    It's a little farther up the thread...
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthr...50580#poststop

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