What is considered to be an inhouse movement?
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Thread: What is considered to be an inhouse movement?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    What is considered to be an inhouse movement?

    In most of the threads here, an inhouse movement is frequently trumpeted as one of the attributes to look out for when considering the purchase of a new watch.

    I was wondering what exactly constitutes an inhouse movement. Certain calibers are marketed as "fully developed inhouse". Others are "derived/based off XX movement eg Piguet, Lemania, ETA etc".

    Would movements in the latter category be considered "partially inhouse"?

    Thinking a bit deeper, I also considered the following scenarioes.

    1) The subsecond dial of an ETA movement is shifted from the 6 o'clock position to 9 o'clock.
    2) A watch brands grafts its proprietary chronograph movement onto a base ETA caliber.
    3) Gear transmission mechanism of an ETA movement is replaced by
    a) A different combination of gears constructed using some revolutionary new alloy
    b) A fusee-chain system
    4) An additional mainspring barrel is somehow squeezed into an ETA caliber to improve power reserve

    Would any of the above be deviant enough to be considered as an "inhouse movement", or would they merely be classified as ETA-derived calibers?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Re: What is considered to be an inhouse movement?

    I have some rudimentary knowledge of how watches work through this excellent video Watch Movements: "How a Watch Works" 1949 Hamilton Watch Co 20min - YouTube.

    As a related offshoot of this thread, given that the basic premise of mechanical watches revolve around a few critical components such as the mainspring, escapement, gear train etc, there must surely be a finite number of permutations in how these parts can be arranged, for a simple time-only watch?

    Would it be possible for a 3-hander watch to be significantly different enough from another ETA 3-hander, to the point where I can lay claim to an "inhouse movement" for the former? For the sake of argument, we ignore differences in watch finishing and materials used.

    My knowledge of how watches work is very, very basic so it is completely possible I am overlooking something major here.

  3. #3
    Member Will_f's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Anchorage, Alaska

    What is considered to be an inhouse movement?

    It's a fuzzy concept. Some watches are pretty unequivocally in house such as Rolex and Seiko. Some are a little bit less (in house developed and manufactured, with major parts such as the balances and springs purchased from others), then you have in house manufactured, but derived from a historical movement, followed by movements that are modified in house but purchased from somewhere else, movements that are modified by a third party as part of an exclusive arraingement, etc. In addition, you have conglomerates that own watch brands and movement makers (such as Swatch group and ETA).

    Frankly, I don't worry too much about it. It has almost no real meaning outside of marketing brochures. Buy quality for price.

    Last edited by Will_f; January 2nd, 2013 at 04:06.
    copperjohn and RBrylawski like this.
    Owner of a bunch of cool watches.

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  5. #4
    lvt is online now
    Member lvt's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    The dark side of the Moon

    Re: What is considered to be an inhouse movement?

    If you make the hairspring and mainspring by yourself, it's in-house.

    Yes Seiko did it all.
    Ball - Casio (G-shock) - HMT - Longines - Parnis - Seagull - Steinhart - Tissot - Victorinox - Yema

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