A specially hand-finished Maison Celadon movement in collaboration with AHCI member Lin Yong Hua
In October 2018, I sent AHCI member Lin Yong Hua (https://www.ahci.ch/members/lin-yong-hua/) a couple of stock Beijing B18 movements, as well as a Celadon Imperial from one of our clients who had just had his watch serviced. After meeting Lin Yong Hua (LYH) at the Shenzhen watch fair in June 2017, we had kept in contact and discussed potential collaborative opportunities to advance Chinese horology together.
When he had some free time in the autumn of last year, LYH began work on our little project, to hand-finish a Celadon-Grade B18 (CG18) to the highest possible standard, as the first exploration of how we could further improve our movements. And so our client's Imperial travelled from the BWAF workshop in Changping village, after its spa treatment in the shadow of the Swallow Mountains and the Great Wall, to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen where LYH bases his atelier...
Myself with LYH at the Shenzhen watch fair in June 2017
So having received free rein from both myself and our client to finish the movement to his fancy, LYH set about doing just that. And six months later, he finally sent me these photos...
Anglage (bevelling) done by hand the traditional way, as it has been by watchmakers before the 20th century
Perlage and anglage applied to all surfaces where possible
The 3/4 plate and baseplate were freshly electroplated by LYH
A comparison between a stock B18 and LYH's hand-finished CG18 movement
The finished product
After finishing this first experimental movement, LYH remarked that he wasn't able to lavish the fullest treatment of his skills, because this movement had already been finished in Beijing and certain processes, such as re-doing the scroll stripes on the 3/4 plate in a better way, would erase the Chinese calligraphic engraving. The 3/4 plate, being quite thin, also presented a limit as to how much anglage could be applied, but the bevelling is nonetheless clear and ostensibly done by hand if one looks closely. Also, while a good and reliable movement and head and shoulders in finishing and aesthetics above any other movement in its price class, the B18 is not in the tier of high horology, not that I have ever purported it to be. We will eventually field a Celadon high horology movement, and it is a goal that I am working towards every day, but that is for another chapter...
So in conclusion, I will be sending him some of my personal Maison Celadon watches with the CG18 and CG24, as well as two clients who also want their CG24 watches finished by LYH. It will be doubly exciting to see what he can do with that even more complicated movement. Any client of Maison Celadon is more than welcome to contact me to arrange this finishing as well. LYH is still working out a feasible fee for his time and skills (his own watches start at 10,000 USD in steel), and I would advise a great deal of patience as he has a full plate of work until June. But I am glad to have made a further contribution to Chinese horology in this small way... And hopefully cleared a path for greater things to come... Onward and upward!