(I'd like to thank every contributor--Contributions have come from Watchuseek.com, Broadarrow.net, PMWF.com, Timezone.com, Equationoftime.com, and other forums.)
I have been intrigued by mechanical movements ever since I discored the difference between them and a quartz--that's obviously not groundbreaking for a WIS, but what I did find odd was the disparingly and alarming difference in prices of watches that have the exact same movement. Oops! Did I say exact!? That has taken some time to educate me on this rather bizzar and underworld like phenomenom of "finished" and "ebauche" movements. As WISs we begin to make assertions about movements as soon as we find out a little about them--and of course the sellers of the watches do too. But by now, you must know, there are differences in these movements for which you have to, it is a must, have a trained eye to know just what it is that you are looking at--and more intriguing still, is the fact that market forces; such as overstock, supply and demand, may play as big a part in the game. Here is my original post, and some of the answers I have received:
<B>The Two 2824-2 ETA movements-- I have had a few questions about these two movements--What? You didn't know there were two versions? Well, there are. I doubt that the difference between the two movements will be noticeable in any way to the untrained eye--save for the gold plating on one of them. I also think, that the differences will be noticed after some wear and time--say 5-7 years etc.. However, folks, I'm not qualified to answer what the real difference is--other than price, and would like to know just exactly it is that you get when you step up to the higher priced one. Here they are: Source Ofrei.com:
ETA 2824-2, Gold Plated 25 Jewels
ETA 2824-2 (GP25)
11 1/2 ligne, Gold Plated with 25 Jewels, Incabloc shock protection, sweep seconds, automatic, date at 3 o'clock. Hand sizes 90/150/26, 28,800 BPH
11 1/2 ligne, 25 jewels, Incabloc shock protection, automatic, sweep seconds, date at 3 o'clock. Hand sizes 90/150/26, 28,800 BPH ETA-2824-2.2
As you can see, there's no difference given here, except the price. Reto, of PMWF, communicated with me a bit--and I remember him saying it has something to do with certain parts being refined and perhaps finished a little better. What is no secret is that ETA will make this very movement much more refined at request (not from me of course), but from say, Tudor--when they are done with it that way, it will be better finished, and all the little things like adjustments, dust build-up etc..will be improved. What do you know?
I stop by and visit TZ tool shop time to time for my needs and talk with Bob Frei about where he getting the movement supplies, mainly concerning about materials for the TZ watch school.
As a parts supplier, he has connections all over the world and not only buying direct from ETA all the time, close out watch company or surplus from the parts stock which no longer they need made up their inventory as well. I think that's reflect price differnce accordingly in this case. Just like when you go to the restaurant and see the item with no price, it only said "seasonal".
*. The Prices Have Gone Way Up!
*Not including gilt finishing, which is available as an extra on all four versions. The four versions are:
EC - Economique (nickel plated with Etachoc shock protection)
ST - Standard (also with Etachoc shock protection and ETASTABLE)
EL - ɬabor饠(with Incabloc shock protection and basic decoration)
T - Top (based on the 鬡bor饠with "assortments chronometer")
You may be surprised at how many watches costing $500 or more only use the Economique version. Gilding of the movement costs less than one dollar extra when a minimum of one thousand movements are purchased.
*...the cheaper version you show has an Etachron eccentric fine regulator, whilst the more expensive version as shown has a standard regulator. Why the cheaper version has the more refined regulator, I don't know.
From the images I can't see if there is any difference in the balance assemblies, but this could account for some price differential.
*... eccentric adjuster, which is preferable IMHO. Some variation in production, some buyers specified gold finish and didn't use all their stock....
*Hi Rafael -
I can't address the specific differences between these two movements but do know that ETA makes movements available in FIVE different quality levels. These are determined by a number of features, including the quality level of components used, such as different mainspring and balance springs, etc, as well as the the degree to which the parts have been finished and adjustments have been made to the escapement for positions, etc.
ETA also will selll movement kits to makers such as IWC or Breitling. These companies then do the finishing and assembly themselves, as well as adjusting. IWC significantly changes the 2892, for instance, replacing many of the ETA parts with others of its own specification.
The often heard statement that, "it's the same movement", simply isn't true. There is a world of difference between the 7750 in a Fliegerchrono and the 7750 as used by Fortis or Revue-Thommen.
The following was contributed during the the tenth month of 2003
Blued screws used to serve a dual purpose. First, they indicated the screw had been hardened, which meant it would last longer. Second, it would signify the movement maker was willing to go that extra step to finish the movement. For the most part, today's blued screws are simply blued using chemicals, and they just look pretty.
I would like to make a couple of points regarding Rolex movements. First, Rolex uses some design features that are just more expensive, and not found on most 2824 movements. For example, the Breguet overcoil hairspring, which I do not fully understand; and the Kif shock absorber, which I have heard some say is more reliable than Incabloc.
You are certainly right that in some situations, a 2824 will perform better; namely, when you pay your bill for a service or movement replacement.
Some of the differences so I have heard: The difference between say the standard versus the elaborated movement is a higher grade of shock protection and a better overall performance accuracy wise. This means a difference in accuracy of about +/-6 to +/-20 seconds a day. The primary difference so I have heard between the elaborated movement and the chronommeter grade is the higher grade balance wheel. There may be other differences but I don't know what they are. By the way as many of you may or maynot know the quality of the balance wheel will determine the accuracy of the movement in the various positions, which I can can only guess will make a movement easier to get to meeting chronometer standards.
Hope this helps and some others can fill in the blanks.
Well For the most part, today's blued screws are simply blued using chemicals, and they just look pretty.
I'm under the impression that on higher end watches, heat-blued screws are still the norm. To take an example, here's a pic of my cal 7912.
You can see that the slots haven't been blued. So, this means that the screw is actually nickel-plated, and heat blued. The top of the screw has been polished, to reveal the steel, but they didn't, or were unable to polish the slot, so it didn't blue. (Nickel doesn't turn blue without added chemicals) Had it been chemically blued, everything would be blue.
First, Rolex uses some design features that are just more expensive, and not found on most 2824 movements. For example, the Breguet overcoil hairspring, which I do not fully understand
From what I remember, the cheapest watches in current production that use a Breguet overcoil is the Rolex cal 3135, IWC cal 5000 a Chopard.
So, here's a pic of my JLC Cal 488/SBr which has a Breguet overcoil. (The above Cal 7912 has a more common flat hairspring) (Tell you the truth, I dunno why I'm point this out, you can't really tell from either of these pics)
Anyways, so the basic difference is the flat spring, as it were, is 'flat'. Everything's planar. The Breguet overcoil's outermost coil bends "up" a bit, and passes over the rest of the coils. This is supposed to give better performance in different positions, because, somehow, the hairspring ends up having more mass towards the center. This is much more expensive to make, so most manufacturers shy away from it.
If I'm wrong about any of this, someone please correct me
Actually, the tell tale sign of chemically blued screws is the exposed slot. If you see that, you've got a chemically blued screw. Just a guess, but I think they leave the slot the natural color because it would get marred up as soon as you took a screwdriver to it. If you've seen both in the flesh, it's easy to pick real vs. chemically blued screws simply by looking at the color. The difference is immediately obvious as real blued screws have a deeper and less flourescent tone to them.
As was mentioned, screws were originally blued to both harden the steel and improve corrosion resistance. With today's high grade stainless steel, it's not necessary. In fact, if you tried to blue a modern screw today, you couldn't because the high nickel content actually prevents the screw from blueing.
IWC have given the same...explanation as Francis, above. They state that their screws are heat blued but that the nickle slots are not affected by the treatment. I guess the sight of an exposed slot is no longer an infallible way to determine between heat and chemically blued screws.
The only time I have had to work with a blued screw is on a Zenith El Primero chronograph. The eccentric screw to adjust the regulator is completely blued. As a reasonably high end (or at least expensive) watch I expected the screw to be heat treated. It was in rather an awkward spot for access by a screwdriver and yes, I did manage to mark the slot with a tiny scratch. Afterward I touched it up with the tip of a fine, blue overhead foil marker pen.
"The screws are made blue in the traditional way, BUT:
During the production of the screws they are completely nickel-plated.
Then the head is polished so that the nickel-cover is polished away only
here. Than the screws are made blue in the traditional way. So the
finished screw has only a blue coloured head and the slot is "white".
The nickel-plating is done to prevent the screw for corrosion. Btw: IWC
did not made screws. We ordered them at specialised factories."
for the most part, as in, most of the lower-priced watches with decorated movements. The ETA-decorated version has chem-blue screws. I would hope that watches at the level of IWC and up would have real blued screws, if they appear blued at all.
The differences between , say a Rolex or Patek and an ETA are not really subtle Those two companies have very expensive balance/hairspring assemblies with adjustable timekeeping weights as opposed to the modern ETA with a one piece balance. The Rolex hairspring is also quite different. The ETA can be made into a chonometer grade watch, the Rolex and Patek are designed and built to be chronometers. I would love to know what the Rolex scrap/failure rate is for their movements that are pushed through the chronometer certification test. I'll bet it's quite high. But that's their thing. I personally find this obsession with accuracy to be kind of silly. One disassembly and cleaning and a "Certified Chronometer" has all bets off. If a person want absolute accuracy, buy a quartz watch for $50.
An expenditure of time and adjusting on the wrist will get pretty acceptable accuracy out of any good modern watch.
ETA 2824-2 in a St. Moritz I am wearing a Bill Yao dialed St. Moritz Sub with an ETA2824-2 movement this morning, and when this string popped up, I had to look at the movement. Not hard, because it has a %^&*$# display back that I would love to get rid of. It is a gilded movement, and I see that some of the screws are blued, with the bottoms of the slots appearing to be white metal, but most appear to be stainless steel. This movement is very accurate, especially after Bill laid his hands on it. I set it Sunday morning, and it is now four (4) seconds slow.
Beyond finish, there are only so many places to upgrade That movement is a maturation of the 2700 series and uses an almost identical self wind system, has the later style cannon pinion/drive wheel and quick set capability. The wheels and pinions will all be the same as will the winding/setting group. The only places I see for an upgrade would be the balance/regulator group, the quality and number of jewels and possibly the rotor assy. My guess is that the price difference on the two movements shown is not great and the prices are a result of a smart purchase by the reseller. The cheaper model has the better regulator and finish. Unless they offer a titanium barrel with kryptonite mainspring, I just don't see much difference.
Any comparison to the ETA/Valjoux 7750 is unfair since that chronograph movement has way, way more parts and lots more points of upgrade.
Actually on a percentage basis the difference can be quite large between the quality levels. But its all relative. This obviously means more for the mid-priced autos than the higher end stuff like an Omega or a Breitling or IWC.
Absolutely Ten or twenty percent on 10,000 units is a big deal for sure. I've been told that in the past, you could have just about anything you wanted and they would make it if the number of units was high enough. I find it remarkable that such a high quality piece as an ETA 2824 can be had for under $60. The level of quality, even today, is amazing.
Kryptonite mainspring!!?? Love it! (nt)