Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?
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Thread: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

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  1. #1
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    Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    Background:
    I'm considering getting into low-production-run watch-making/selling. I would use the same hands, cases, and straps that makers like Getat, Wenping, Manbushje, that crazy dude on Kickstarter, and a zillion other small-to-medium makers and individual DIYers use. I would either use the same Chinese movements those same makers use (primarily 6497/8 and 2824 from Seagull or similar brands). For the Swiss movements (which those makers invariably eschew for some reason), I'd obviously use ETA. The unique nature of my watches would be primarily in the dials (about which I have several ideas) and to a lesser extent some potential ornamental modifications to the cases and/or the straps that I'm still fleshing out, but the dials would be the primary look-and-feel of my brand. I have seen practically nothing that looks like what I'm envisioning, so I think I've got a decent chance of offering something new...or perhaps the fact that the look I have in mind hasn't been done means no one wants it and there's no market for it .

    So, all that said...

    Consider the following scenario:
    You are looking at two watches for sale, literally side by side in a store or on a website. The hands, case, dial, and strap are truly identical -- in fact they are the exact same parts because they were made by the same maker. One watch has a typical Chinese movement and the other has an ETA. Like I said, most likely, 6497/8s, 2428s, things in that range.

    From the front, you can't even tell these two watches apart, they look exactly the same. From the back, assuming a display-back, you can obviously tell they're different, and depending on your level of expertise you are welcome to identify which watch has which movement, but just to be clear, both watches are already labeled with their movement's brand (and even country, just for clarification), so there is no need for the ability to recognize movements for this scenario; this isn't a test of scam-detection or anything like that...nor is any risk of dishonesty on the part of the maker/seller relevant to the scenario. That's not the point.

    For the purpose of this example, assume that you love the actual aesthetics of the watch and that it offers the features (complications) that you want (granted, the movements I'm referring too don't offer much in that regard, but imagine that it could go in that direction with other movements). You basically "want" the watch, that's a prerequisite of the scenario.

    Assume the watch with the Chinese movement is $150-$200 (or perhaps a little more if a slightly more complex movement is used) and the watch with the ETA movement is (I honestly don't know the price range for these) say, $400-$600? Or is that wrong? Would the equivalent watch cost $700-$1000 -- I honestly don't know. The difference in movement prices is only about $150-$300 of course, but I'm not sure if that difference would inflate in the final watch (Side-question: What would Getat style watches cost if anyone bothered to make them with ETA movements? Why are such watches so hard to find?).

    Three questions:

    • Which watch would you personally buy?
    • How many watch-shoppers serious about buying a good watch in these price ranges, but who lack real knowledge of the field, do you predict would take the ETA watch simply because it's the Swiss one, despite its increased cost?
    • How many really serious watch-shoppers, who understand that the Chinese ones actually preform comparably to the Swiss ones (see note below), and perhaps who even know how to identify the Swiss and Chinese movements when looking at the back (basically WUS-level knowledge), do you predict will take the ETA watch?


    I'm trying to understand whether there is a market for ETA-movement watches when an identical Chinese-movement watch is a completely real option, such as if both models are offered by the same maker with the same parts, right next to each other on the table (or on the website, whatever). Is there any point in buying and offering such movements or would the resulting watch be unsellable since an identical watch for a fraction of the price would be sitting right next to it? That's the core question here.

    Note:
    In defense of my claim that the movements are "basically mostly comparable", I refer to this thread: https://forums.watchuseek.com/f72/how...ok-216945.html . I prefer not to wander off on a tangent of standards one-upping and other borderline-argument if possible, but rather to speculate realistically on the purchasing behaviors of the three kinds of shoppers listed above -- basically the kinds of people who would actually consider spending money in these price-ranges in the first place.

    Thanks for all your help!

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    tc3
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    Re: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    Perhaps you can create a poll so that the results can be easily seen?

  3. #3
    Member tinknocker's Avatar
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    Re: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    Well, there is a few companies, I've read talk about, and can't think of them off hand, that do offer both. Not necessarily in the same model, but they sell some with ETA movements and some models with Chinese or Japanese movements.

    Guess it depends how much money you have. If I want Swiss, I'll pay the premium, If I don't have much cash I'll go less expensive.

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    Re: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    The trouble with things made in China is that people usually go there to have something made as Inexpensively as possible. While many quality products come out of China the stigma is that they make cheap products that don't last. For that reason, and ETA's long history of quality I'd much rather have a ETA movement over something Chinese.


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    Re: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    The point you miss here is that more than anything, the customer wants to know that he has the support of the manufacturer should he need of them, especially when the product itself is known to be of inconsistent quality.

    There are plenty of micro-manufacturers out there that use Chinese parts and movements in their watches that people happily buy because they trust the people behind the watches.

    The question here isn't where the parts come from but how do you ensure that they are of the best quality, how would you rectify any issues that may develop in your product, what is your capacity for repairing or is your fix just going to be a question of replacing?

    I have no issues with buying a Chinese movement because I know a watchmaker that I trust to be able to dis-assemble any movement and fix anything that might not be 100% with it.

    My question to you would be whether you can do that for your products before you sell them?

    The other question would be if ETA movements are too expensive, why not go to the other known reliable source that is Miyota?
    hidden by leaves and CCJ like this.

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    Re: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    Time factors made a gorgeous radiomir style watch, Using a Frickr case, with an ETA. IIRC, it was ~$550 USD.

    I generally associate higher quality with Swiss movements, so depending on the price difference, I might go Swiss. I wouldn't pay 2-3 x the cost, for only the movement difference though.

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    Re: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by tc3 View Post
    Perhaps you can create a poll so that the results can be easily seen?
    Sorry, that makes a lot of sense. I'll see what I can do. The cat may be out of the bag now that I already created the thread. People may not respond twice...but I'll look into it.

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    Re: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    I would not pay the premium for a Swiss movement unless the watch was from a reputable brand. Unfortunately, there are fakes of ETA 2824-2 movements that would be much less reliable than a legitimate Seagull ST21. Quite honestly, the Seagull movements are very good, and problems with these movements are often due to a lack of care when casing them. So, if the assembly process is substandard, the use of Swiss ETA movements will not appreciably improve the reliability of the resulting watches. I would consider paying a modest markup over the price differential in the cost of the Chinese vs. Swiss movement, but double to triple the cost is ridiculous if the only difference is the movement, as least if we're talking about a Seagull ST21 vs. an ETA 2824-2.


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    Re: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    I buy from brands I trust, with a heritage of watchmaking and who stand behind their product with quality service. I'm not saying Chinese made watches don't offer that level of comfort and quality, but I do know most Swiss brands do. So, for me personally, I'll buy Swiss or German as I know I'm buying something from a company who has stood the test of time.
    I am no longer active on WUS. If you would like to contact me, please feel free to email me: rbrylaw fifty five at yahoo


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    Re: Scenario: How many people will pay for Swiss over Chinese given identical side-by-side watches?

    The Chinese make excellent products it's just that you really have to give more allowance for defects. Their concept of quality control is just not in the same level of the swiss and japanese.

    In other words its definitely possible to get both flawless and crappy products from them. Not saying the swiss and japanese don't make crappy products but the frequency would be less.

    Plus aftermarket support is far superior with the swiss. With asian watches, it's more AD dependent.



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