Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?
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  1. #1
    Member TomAdelstein's Avatar
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    Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    I bought, I'm ashamed to say, several KS (Kronen and Shone) models and dismantled most of them - three beyond normal watchmaker standards. I wouldn't attempt to reassemble those. I scraped the gold plating, took movements down, cut leather straps, timed them. The hardest part of the process involved finding the movement manufacturer. I had help from a friend in Hong Kong - my Parnis supplier.

    I'll make this short and sweet. The cases are 304 grade stainless steel, they use hardened mineral glass, PVD plating, bands are either stainless or leather. They use standard fold-over, wisp and single deployment clasps.

    The movements: Liaoning.

    I have yet to acquire a Liaoning catalog, so I cannot give you model numbers. They have similar configurations and complications as DG's. I cannot cross reference them. The movement has "Liaoning Watch Factory" stamped on them in Chinese.

    Another analyst did a comparison of DG, Miyota, Sea-Gull and ETA. The lower priced Chinese movements had dust and tissue particles in the movements. Sea-Gull, the Japanese and Swiss movements were clean. That is attributable to the presence of "clean rooms". My Hong Kong supplier said that Liaoning was a lesser quality movement than DG. I found other opinions that saw no difference. Liaoning also makes Tourbillons.

    I compared KS prices to the competition. KS has a 5/1 cost to value rate, e.g. a comparable competitive model selling $100 would cost $20 if KS. Their prices are predicated on two factors. 1) They sell BtoC. (Business to consumer). The don't manufacture, but get deep discounts over Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ) at their OEMs. 2) The have low profit margins. Some of their watches list at my cost with a MOQ of 100 to 500 units.

    All those stores KS calls their retail outlets, they are all hosted by the same web site na-chuan. They are also registered to the same man in Hong Kong. I did a "whois" on the domains, ran trademark searches and checked that out with eBay.

    Other sellers of similar watches are sold through channels BtoB -> BtoB -> B2C.

    That's as brief as I can get. BTW. I like all but one of the KS models I tested.
    Last edited by TomAdelstein; October 13th, 2014 at 03:33.
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    Re: Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomAdelstein View Post
    I compared KS prices to the competition. KS has a 5/1 cost to value rate, e.g. a comparable competitive model selling $100 would cost $20 if KS.
    Now you are exaggerating somewhat.
    KS is in the same league as Winner, Jaragar, Goer ... , which means if you get a properly functioning watch and use it with caution it may work for some time, even years. But miracles should not be expected for that price.
    BTW, the only KS I got was defective on arrival - probably a factory defect (the watch was also insufficiently protected for transport).
    Last edited by PhantomACE; October 13th, 2014 at 16:58.

  3. #3
    Member TomAdelstein's Avatar
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    Re: Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    Thought I replied to your reply. Winner, Jaragar, Goer....I think Weide and AK Kimme should be added to that fine list of junk. You're right, I'm sure I exaggerated somewhat. All in the heat of the moment ;).

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    Re: Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    Hello, I'm Pinchas from Israel and I'm new on this forum. I am building a modest collection of wristwatches with a full Roman Numerals display (not just III, VI, IX and XII and no numeral hidden behind a date window or whatever). I purchase my watches on eBay or .........s, mostly mechanical automatic or manual winding, some skeleton, some with solid dial, some with date, some not. From my experience, most cheap Chinese mechanical automatic watches do not keep time accurately (but I may be wrong and you may have other opinions). Mechanical watches are in many cases larger and thicker than battery-operated ones and they have a more robust look. Because I prefer battery-operated watches with stainless steel strap, immediately after each purchase I go to my favorite watchmaker whose customer I am for over 30 years. He converts all my mechanical wristwatches into battery-operated timepieces, and if the watch comes with a leather strap, I choose a matching stainless steel replacement. For converting a mechanical movement into a battery-operated Japanese one I pay a fixed price of approx. USD 25 including work and a steel strap sets me back an additional USD 10-15. The watches with a solid dial will look identical after the conversion, and the interior design of a skeleton watch will obviously look entirely different.

    Several of my wristwatches are of the K&S brand, one other has a preudo-Breitling logo and all the other are of different brands, including Winner. I wear a different watch every week and enjoy the beauty of each one.

    Until now all my converted watches - K&S, Winner etc. - work flawlessly and run on time just like the German railways. Interestingly, a few of my K&S purchases came in packages with the "Deutsche Post" (German Postal Service) "Posthorn" logo, so they were definitely mailed from Germany.

    In my opinion, if you are not hooked on expensive brand names, such as genuine Breitlings, Chinese look-alikes are a perfectly legitimate alternative. If collecting and proudly wearing a fantastic looking but inexpensive watch makes you feel good, then my advice is: "Just Do It!"

    However, I do differentiate between look-alikes and fakes/counterfeits/forgeries. In my opinion, many so-called "ROLEX Replicas" are in fact counterfeits, and I'll never wear such a watch, whatever beautiful and inexpensive it may be.

    To summarize, when I see a beautiful, large, robust and inexpensive Roman Numerals wristwatch on eBay or .........s and I like it, I buy it. And when - after conversion - it continues to run perfectly and keeps its good looks, I'm perfectly happy and wear it with pleasure.

    I hope you do too!
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    Re: Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    Hi there,

    What do you mean by conversion?

  7. #6
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    Re: Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomAdelstein View Post
    I bought, I'm ashamed to say, several KS (Kronen and Shone) models and dismantled most of them - three beyond normal watchmaker standards. I wouldn't attempt to reassemble those. I scraped the gold plating, took movements down, cut leather straps, timed them. The hardest part of the process involved finding the movement manufacturer. I had help from a friend in Hong Kong - my Parnis supplier.

    I'll make this short and sweet. The cases are 304 grade stainless steel, they use hardened mineral glass, PVD plating, bands are either stainless or leather. They use standard fold-over, wisp and single deployment clasps.

    The movements: Liaoning.

    I have yet to acquire a Liaoning catalog, so I cannot give you model numbers. They have similar configurations and complications as DG's. I cannot cross reference them. The movement has "Liaoning Watch Factory" stamped on them in Chinese.

    Another analyst did a comparison of DG, Miyota, Sea-Gull and ETA. The lower priced Chinese movements had dust and tissue particles in the movements. Sea-Gull, the Japanese and Swiss movements were clean. That is attributable to the presence of "clean rooms". My Hong Kong supplier said that Liaoning was a lesser quality movement than DG. I found other opinions that saw no difference. Liaoning also makes Tourbillons.

    I compared KS prices to the competition. KS has a 5/1 cost to value rate, e.g. a comparable competitive model selling $100 would cost $20 if KS. Their prices are predicated on two factors. 1) They sell BtoC. (Business to consumer). The don't manufacture, but get deep discounts over Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ) at their OEMs. 2) The have low profit margins. Some of their watches list at my cost with a MOQ of 100 to 500 units.

    All those stores KS calls their retail outlets, they are all hosted by the same web site na-chuan. They are also registered to the same man in Hong Kong. I did a "whois" on the domains, ran trademark searches and checked that out with eBay.

    Other sellers of similar watches are sold through channels BtoB -> BtoB -> B2C.

    That's as brief as I can get. BTW. I like all but one of the KS models I tested.
    I would rather use the sun to tell the time than a watch made in China. Just my opinion.
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  8. #7
    Member ShaggyDog's Avatar
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    Re: Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert View Post
    I would rather use the sun to tell the time than a watch made in China. Just my opinion.
    Pretty sure there are plenty of Chinese made parts in whatever watches you've got in your collection already....
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    Re: Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    I have two Winners that are +- 2 min./day. I have 3 K&S that are +-15 to 30 sec./day. Movement finish is better and the bracelets/bands. $15 vs. $30 does make a difference.
    I also have Seagull and miyota 9015 mov. watches. No comparison, but they do offer value for $30.
    Last edited by mike4761; July 21st, 2015 at 02:17.

  10. #9
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    Re: Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomACE View Post
    Now you are exaggerating somewhat.
    KS is in the same league as Winner, Jaragar, Goer ... , which means if you get a properly functioning watch and use it with caution it may work for some time, even years. But miracles should not be expected for that price.
    BTW, the only KS I got was defective on arrival - probably a factory defect (the watch was also insufficiently protected for transport).
    I would disagree with your assessment. While not top quality, KS watches are clearly a step ABOVE most Winner and Jaragar models. They have a solid feel, and don't have as many problems with their auto-winding. From what I've read, you can't get much worse or louder than Winner. The Jaragar auto-winders are largely ineffective. I don't have any experience with Goer, but I do have a Curren that's a piece of junk.

    My KS095 is still working well, and has received several compliments. Kronen & Sohne are not great quality watches, but they're hard to beat for $30 (or the $21.50 & $18 I paid). I don't think you can compare them to the cheapest Chinese brands, because some of the stuff out there is truly awful.
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    Re: Restart: Opinion on Kronen and Sohne?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomAdelstein View Post

    The movements: Liaoning.

    I have yet to acquire a Liaoning catalog, so I cannot give you model numbers. They have similar configurations and complications as DG's. I cannot cross reference them. The movement has "Liaoning Watch Factory" stamped on them in Chinese.
    The KS movements are mostly 17 jewels, and are automatics derived from Chinese Standard Movement designs (AKA- "Tongji" 统机). Liaoning was one of the large, Mao era watch factories, like Shanghai, Tianjin Sea-Gull, Beijing Watch Factory, Nanning, Hangzhou and Five Goats (Dixmont). While they produce these cheapo movements, they also manufacture Peacock watches and movements, which are well regarded. Their SL3000 series movements are ETA 2824-2 clones, and they have also developed versions with 70-75 hour power reserves.

    Dixmont Guangzhou (Five Goats) movements, of which the DG2813 and DG2803 are most famous, are derived from the Miyota 8200 series, and have 22 jewels. They are much more reliable and accurate than the KS movements.
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