About a year's journey into -mostly- Chinese mechanical watches
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  1. #1
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    About a year's journey into -mostly- Chinese mechanical watches

    About 4 years ago, I bought a Tissot Le Locle with a white dial and black leather strap. I was in love with that dial and this was my first "expensive" watch around the 500 euro mark. Before that I had Casios until I was ~22 then Swatches and in 2008 I bought a Swiss Military Hanowa chronograph which was too expensive for my budget then (around 300 euros) but became my daily beater for almost a decade and it still operates well (apart from the inability to source any more the original strap and have it on a black fabric one).
    And then something changed. The Tissot got me in a brave new world. Moreover, it was a dress watch, I could not wear it on a daily basis (I do not wear suits to work). I started a fund for an "expensive" watch again, this time targeting between 2000 and 4000 euros. But what to get? Can internet searches and a couple of minutes wearing it in a store be enough for such a big cost? And then I came across cheap chinese mechanicals. I thought why not buy homages of the watches I liked to see how they grew on me, like a try before you buy period. And to begin with, I was considering watches like the Tevise T801 around the 20 euro mark, which was actually the first I bought.
    At least that was what I had in mind initially. The reality is that I got 11 watches just the past year. Only 5 of these could fall in the category of "checking whether I like it enough to buy the expensive one". The rest were watches I simply like and I would never pay more to get. For example I always liked flieger watches, but I would never wear one everyday. I got a nice Parnis one. I wear it occasionally and I really like to see it. For ~50 euros I paid, it is simply great, I would never spend more. Or on the other hand a watch like the AP Royal Oak. I will never be able to buy one (and even if I am able to buy one, I will spend the money elsewhere) - the Didun is just perfect.
    Of course, very soon I learned that you cannot get a descent mechanical watch for 20 euros. You need to spend more than 50 to get a descent working movement, sapphire glass, nice straps, all stainless steel cases.
    One year down the road, I have spent 500 euros for these 11 watches and I enjoy every euro I spent (ok a couple of watches were not that good :) ). Will I buy more? I have at least 2 in my waiting list, but to be honest I think I will spend more time enjoying the ones I already got. Will I buy an expensive one (2k-5k)? Probably at some point in the future, but it will be with air miles covering most of the cost and not hard cash.
    I have also started enjoying learning more about maintaining my watches myself. I fixed a broken stem, I changed a crystal and I have a movement in the post coming to exchange a broken one (a quartz miyota OS90 in a Festina which was a gift and enjoyed it for 1 week only before it fell on the floor and the movement failed).
    And do I have a grail? Yes, but it is something I could get even today, if only I could find one. Back in 2006 I fell in love with a Tag Heuer Link, which at the time had a dial I really loved (WJF2110).

  2. #2
    Member mythless's Avatar
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    Interesting journey. Thanks for sharing.
    -Are we having fun yet?
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  3. #3
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    Re: About a year's journey into -mostly- Chinese mechanical watches

    Sounds like a lot of fun. The watch hobby often is, bit needn't be, expensive. Your enjoyment is evident and infectious. Also, it's great that you are so comfortable with yourself, enjoying watches on your own terms. Thanks for sharing!

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

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  5. #4
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: About a year's journey into -mostly- Chinese mechanical watches

    Thanks for sharing! What started as a simple mission turned into a multi-facetted journey. I suspect that may be true for many others here.
    AlbertaTime likes this.
    Chascomm
    Moderator, Russian Watches & Chinese Mechanical Watches Forums
    (no, I am not going to list all my watches here)

  6. #5
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    Re: About a year's journey into -mostly- Chinese mechanical watches

    Thanks for sharing! Very interesting indeed. I myself only started looking into Chinese watches seriously last month. I just received a BJWAF BG051513 today after snapping it on Taobao's mid year sale. It is my second Chinese watch.
    I bought a Parnis Portugeiser homage many years ago and frankly it was a great watch despite the crappy strap but still it got quite a fair bit of attention. The seagull movement was also surprisingly accurate as well.
    Like you, I have a target for far more expensive watches but I really love the uniqueness and current rarity of Chinese watch brands outside of China. Where I reside , there is still a very high stigma of Chinese products. Their loss I'd say. :D
    Casertano69 likes this.

  7. #6
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    Re: About a year's journey into -mostly- Chinese mechanical watches

    Quote Originally Posted by faviator View Post
    Thanks for sharing! Very interesting indeed. I myself only started looking into Chinese watches seriously last month. I just received a BJWAF BG051513 today after snapping it on Taobao's mid year sale. It is my second Chinese watch.
    I bought a Parnis Portugeiser homage many years ago and frankly it was a great watch despite the crappy strap but still it got quite a fair bit of attention. The seagull movement was also surprisingly accurate as well.
    Like you, I have a target for far more expensive watches but I really love the uniqueness and current rarity of Chinese watch brands outside of China. Where I reside , there is still a very high stigma of Chinese products. Their loss I'd say. :D
    there is still a great stigma about Chinese watches, unfortunately the majority of users who approach Chinese watchmaking only know unreliable brands (Jaragar, Winning, Forsakeen ..), but do not know the high level Chinese watchmaking, there would like a greater watchmaking culture in order to appreciate the Chinese one

  8. #7
    Member sf4d74's Avatar
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    I agree, I've just come across ArtelierMillesime.com a massive massive improvement over any Chinese watch I've ever wanted beforen
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  9. #8
    Member ronkatct's Avatar
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    Re: About a year's journey into -mostly- Chinese mechanical watches

    I like the inexpensive Chinese watches. Except for Starking, most of the other brands are reliable enough. But shipping from China is very iffy. To save cost, the shipper skims on packaging; I have had damaged watches because of insufficient packaging.

  10. #9
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: About a year's journey into -mostly- Chinese mechanical watches

    Quote Originally Posted by sf4d74 View Post
    I agree, I've just come across ArtelierMillesime.com a massive massive improvement over any Chinese watch I've ever wanted beforen
    Just curious; how much Chinese is in this watch? The website is a bit ambiguous about origins apart from the all Swiss movements. And how do you think this watch will compare to other Chinese watches of around 2850 USD once it is built?
    Chascomm
    Moderator, Russian Watches & Chinese Mechanical Watches Forums
    (no, I am not going to list all my watches here)

  11. #10
    Member WichitaViajero's Avatar
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    Good for You! I’m pretty sure you are one of the happiest collectors!

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