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Thread: More VCMs

  1. #21
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    Always amazed by the knowledge! Thanks for taking the time to share. Hadn't seen either of these before.

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  3. #22
    I couldnít resist this 1120. The brand name is in my favourite Shanghai script, and itís in very good condition.

    Sometime before Shanghai Watch Factory ended production of its 10/11 series in the early 1970s, a new logo was adopted and a different style of hands were used. As far as I can see, all of this watchís parts are appropriate for a late 1120, including the high batch number on the caseback...

    ...and the newer logo on the thin crown.

    The 18,000 bph SS1ís date code is FA (January 1971). In the past Iíve said I believe 1970 was the last year 1120s were produced. Evidently I was incorrect.

    The seller also had an 1110, with the new logo and hands, in very good condition.

    The 1110 is pretty much the same as the 1120, except itís in a bulkier chrome-plated base metal case. This oneís white dial is quite unusual, as 10/11 series watches usually had silver-coloured dials. It has an even higher batch number than the 1120 above.

    New logo on the crown

    The 18,000 bph SS1ís date code is FJ (October 1971).

    Because the edges of the crown and ratchet wheels arenít bevelled, itís a movement Iíd expect to find in an 1123. The batch number, 506, is the same batch number found on the back of my 1123 (its movement was made in November 1971, the next month). Afaik there never was an equivalent of the 1123 in a chrome-plated case (I suppose it would have been the 1113). What does all this mean? It appears possible that 1110s continued to be manufactured after 1120 production ended.
    My collection of Vintage Chinese Mechanicals can be seen at

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  5. #23
    Iím a big fan of VCM mysteries, and this Shanglin provides several.

    Mystery 1: What factory produced Shanglin brand watches? Iíve speculated that it could be one of the factories in Shanghai that cased watches with imported movements before China had a homegrown watch industry. This mystery factory appears to have continued to assemble watches into at least the 1970s using a variety of Swiss, Russian, and Chinese movements. Iíve had one with a Shanghai Watch Factory tongji for a few years.

    This oneís case, back, and crown donít look like they belong with a tongji, however.

    Mystery 2: the movement

    Iíve never seen anything like this two-tone slow-beat SS1. Its date code is FK (November 1971). Other than its colour, it looks similar to movements found inside contemporary Shanghai 1123s.

    The mere fact that the movementís an SS1 makes the dial unusual. Most SS1 watches had either silver or white dials, and colour dials are very rare. But something else about the dial is puzzling.

    Mystery 3: Chinaís first export watch was the Sea-Gull ST5 in 1973. If this Shanglin is an earlier product, why the English text?
    My collection of Vintage Chinese Mechanicals can be seen at

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  7. #24
    Almost a year has passed since I bought a watch. However, there are two watches I never mentioned Ė until now.

    I was very pleased when I found a Zhongshan with a double dragon dial almost 3 years ago.

    Itís in good condition, so clearly there was no reason to get another, especially one in worse shape.

    So why did I get it? Because the dragons are in a different position.

    While the SN2ís date code in the first watch is IF, this oneís is IH.

    Itís hard to believe Iíve had this rare Zuan Shi prototype for six years.

    Itís in NOS condition with its original hang tag, so obviously there was no reason to get another in used condition.

    So why did I get it? Because I wanted one I could wear and open up to examine the movement without worrying about damaging it. This example is the only Zuan Shi SM1 watch Iíve ever seen with the hanzi on the dial. The letter S on the back is thought to stand for shizhi, a prototype or trial product. (You might recognise the Zuan Shi shizhi S from my avatar.)

    Inside is a slow-beat (18,000 bph) version with smaller jewels than the 21,600 bph SM1A-K which was introduced a few years later. Unlike every other SM1 movement Iíve seen, this one isnít signed.

    My collection of Vintage Chinese Mechanicals can be seen at

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  9. #25
    Itís been a while, but finally I have new acquisitions to report. In this case, two watches I bought for no other reason than I like the way they look.

    First, a Taihang. The brand was named for a mountain range near Shijiazhuang, where it was made.

    It looks older than the late 1980s and early 1990s Taihangs in my collection. The caseback is different too.

    Under the balance: BK above ZJS. I assume BK is a date code. Late 1980s and early 1990s Shijiazhuang-made ZJS movements have four-digit date codes (yymm). The one inside my Sanyu, which to me looks like a product of the early 1980s, has the code FB. BK suggests that this is an early example. However, one of my Taihangs, which looks like it could have been made in the late 1980s or early 1990s, has a movement with the code BH.

    Second, a Zhongshan. The brand was named for a mountain on the east side of Nanjing, where its manufacturer, Nanjing Watch Factory, was located.

    I hadnít seen this textured dial before, and I donít remember seeing a second hand like this oneís in a Zhongshan. Maybe it isnít original to the watch?

    The code on the sturdy, reliable SN2 is IK. I still donít know the start year of SN2 date codes.

    My collection of Vintage Chinese Mechanicals can be seen at

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  11. #26
    Tongji watches were produced in every Chinese province (except Hainan, which didnít become a province until 1988). One of the provinces whose watch output doesnít get much attention from Western collectors is Hunan. There were a surprising number of factories in this southern Chinese province. A few months ago I found an article with a list of Hunanís mechanical watch factories and brands with pictures of some examples. Its author said it was incomplete. The list (translated):

    Changsha Watch Factory1, Changzhen (Long March) brand, Changsha brand2

    Yiyang Watch Factory, Lanhua (orchid) brand
    Yueyang Watch Factory, Yueyang brand
    Xiangtan Watch Factory3, Yinhe (Galaxy) brand
    Shaoyang Watch Factory, Baoqing brand
    Liling Watch Factory, Xiangdong brand, Xianhe (crane) brand
    Zhuzhou Watch Factory, Yinyan brand4
    Chenzhou Watch Factory, Bin Lu (deer?) brand, Chenzhou brand
    Hengyang Watch Factory, Furong/Lotus brand, Nanyue brand, Yanfeng brand5

    1The factory name on the casebacks in the pictures is 长沙表厂 (Changsha Clock and Watch Factory).
    2My list also has a Youyi brand, but Iíve never seen one.
    3On my list, the factory name is 湘潭市仪器厂 (Xiangtan City Instruments Factory), but name on the caseback in the picture is 湘潭手表厂 (Xiangtan Watch Factory).
    4My list also has a Yinjian (silver arrow) brand, but Iíve never seen one.
    5Iíve seen a picture of a Shigu brand watch from Hengyang too.

    Of course, most of these watch brands are rare. According to the article:

    Due to various reasons, only the Furong brand line watch produced by the Hengyang Watch Factory was approved for batch production.

    I donít necessarily believe that. While Hengyangís upgraded SN2 and SN3 watches are easily found, Changsha Clock and Watch Factory, in Hunanís capital city, made watches with SS1 and standard movements, and, while not common, tongji Changsha brand models arenít exactly rare either.

    More recently, I found an article written by a worker from Wuhan who went to Changsha late in 1976 to learn how to build machinery to manufacture tongji movements. Itís an absolutely fascinating account of life in a provincial setting at a very interesting time Ė shortly after the death of Mao Zedong and during the fall of the Gang of Four. More relevant to this post, it describes in some detail the challenges of designing precise equipment to manufacture standard watch movements. Even though the author consistently called the factory Hunan Watch Factory and said it was 20 km away from the city, I canít imagine it would be anything but Changsha Clock and Watch Factory, especially considering the fact they were manufacturing movements.

    (On an aside, it appears possible that Wuhan Watch Factory wasnít making tongjis at this time. If thatís true, itís quite impressive that, reportedly, Wuhan brand watches were given a Grade 1 rating in 1980. By 1983, however, they were downgraded to Grade 2. No Hunan-made watch brands appear in the 1983 grade and price list.)

    Another article said the television factory in Shaoshan moved to Changsha and merged with Changsha Clock and Watch Factory in 1984. Itís possible mechanical watch production slowed considerably or even stopped at this time. Iíve never seen a Changsha-made watch that looks like it was designed in the second half of the 1980s.

    My new Changsha brand watch has an attractive textured dial.

    The movement is unsigned. It may or may not be original to the watch. Iíve seen other Changsha-made movements signed with the CS logo on the bridge and under the balance.

    A number of years ago, I saw a Yinyan brand watch on Taobao. I tried to buy it, but someone else grabbed it before the agent I hired got around to it. Since then Iíve seen a small handful for sale, but they were expensive and/or not in good condition. My patience was finally rewarded.

    Yinyan watches were manufactured by the watch factory in Zhuzhou, a relatively short distance south of Changsha. Literally translated, the brand name is silver swallow. Itís an affectionate term for an airplane. The choice of brand name could have been related to the Chinese aviation industryís presence in Zhuzhou since the early 1950s, but I donít know how significant it was. Unfortunately, I couldnít find any information about Zhuzhou Watch Factory.

    The movementís finishing and the inscription under the balance, M82, is consistent with the movements inside my Songshan and Shaolin brand watches from Luoyang.
    My collection of Vintage Chinese Mechanicals can be seen at

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  13. #27
    Iím pleased to announce that has a new home and a new look. More tweaks are required, but the important stuff is there. It should be an improvement over the old site. Any feedback is welcome, whether it be here or in a pm.

    The first new-to-me watches to be added to the new website were purchased for small amounts, rationalised with I was buying something else from the seller anyway, and thereís no added shipping cost. Both are new brands to me.

    Iíve seen many Chunlan (spring orchid) watches for sale. Apparently nobody wants them.

    Not long after receiving it, I noticed the hands arenít aligned properly. I was surprised, because this is something I look for in sellersí photos. I guess I didnít this time; theyíre improperly aligned in the sellerís picture too.

    On the back is the factory name,
    手表四厂 (Dandong City No. 4 Watch Factory). I donít know much of anything about it, but it appears it was one of many factories in Dandong which manufactured watches using movements made by Liaoning Watch Factory.

    Under the balance of the Liaoning-made Peacock tongji: 0277L (February 1977). I remember reading somewhere (was it the factory website?) that Peacock/Kongque brand was introduced in 1978. I even added it to the Chinese Watch Wiki. A Peacock-branded tongji with an early 1977 date code calls this into question.

    Another thing Ė two and a half years ago, I compared the date codes of my watches with peacocks on their dials.

    Quote Originally Posted by saskwatch View Post
    ...when were my other peacock dial watches made?

    Huanghe movements donít have date codes, and we donít have a start year for the Zhongshan SN2. The others:

    Baoshihua: February 1977
    Hongqi: March 1977
    Suzhou: June 1977
    Shanghai: July 1977

    Xian: August 1980

    Once again a peacock and 1977 show up together.

    The second I-was-buying-something-else-from-the-seller... purchase is this San Huan.

    San Huan (three rings) watches were made at Beijing No. 2 Watch Factory.

    Something unexpected happened when I pulled out the crown to set the time Ė a piece of it came off! I didnít know it was even possible.

    The movement is what Iíd expect Ė a 20-jewel Beijing-made tongji.

    The watch works fine, but I havenít decided what to do with it yet.
    My collection of Vintage Chinese Mechanicals can be seen at

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  15. #28
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    New site looks great! Will give it a proper look-through later on.

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  17. #29
    Watches with the brand name Haiyan were produced by two factories Ė Shanghai and Tianjin. While the tongji Shanghai version is seen occasionally, Tianjinís ST5 Haiyan is less common.

    A literal translation of Haiyan is sea swallow. However, a Baidu search told me itís a storm petrel. There are a number of species of this seabird, and I donít know to which one Tianjin referred. The name reminds me of a mystery Chascomm brought to the CMW forumís attention at the other place in 2012 Ė a vintage Chinese world time watch with the brand name Petrel. Sadly the picture no longer appears in the thread.

    I donít know where Haiyan fits into the timeline of ST5 watch brands, but the 18,000 bph movement suggests itís older than any Sea-Gull. Almost certainly it was manufactured during the Cultural Revolution.

    Cultural Revolution era watches are my favourites, so itís no surprise that I like this Guangzhou SG3A.

    The style of the hands is typical of late 1960s Chinese watches, but very few colour dials were produced by other factories at this time. Iíve seen early 1970s SG3As with colour dials, however.

    The movement is an 18,000 bph SG3A. The inscription appears to be a date code Ė something I hadnít seen before on an SG3A. Itís 66-3, suggesting a production date of March 1966, just before the Cultural Revolution began. So the movement and hands appear to agree chronologically, but the lack of colour dials in other factoriesí watches at this time causes me to question whether this watch originally had this dial. On the other hand, itís quite possible Guangzhou bucked the trend and did produce colour dial watches in the 1960s. The only thing I can say with certainty is I donít know.
    My collection of Vintage Chinese Mechanicals can be seen at

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  19. #30
    Mmmmmm DJW GB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Cambs UK
    Wonderful write up again, thanks for sharing.

    Billy super duper

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