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Thread: SOTCC - State of the Chinese Collection

  1. #1
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    SOTCC - State of the Chinese Collection

    Now that I have finally sourced straps for all my recently acquired VCM's and I have no immediate plans to get any more, I thought I'd do a SOTC of my Chinese collection.

    Let's skip the actual first Chinese watch and take that at the end. It makes for a better story...

    It all started in a WRUW-thread over on f71 on WUS. Ric Capucho posted a pic of a watch I knew immediately that I needed to have. It had a textured dial, Chinese characters on the dial and it just glistened. It was the black dialed Beijing Zun Jue.

    Sadly, I learned when researching, I was too late. They were impossible to find. They had been available via a strange site called TaoBao (which was all in Chinese) and Jun from good-stuffs.com had ran out of his stock...

    I resigned to the fact I would never own one, but the experience did open my eyes to the world of "proper" Chinese watches (apart from the homages) and the history of the Chinese watch industry. I found F72 (The Chinese Mechanical Forum) and started reading. I learned abbreviations like VCM (Vintage Chinese Mechanicals) and pinyin like Zuan and Fangshen. After a while I found Ron's guide to Taobao and started searching myself. It took many hours before I started to actually get any proper search results. I tried different combinations of the Chinese characters I copied from Ron's list.

    Then suddenly. There it was. The elusive black Zun Jue. My heart started racing. I quickly opened a new tab and I switched to researching Taobao-agents. Found one that seemed OK and went on to order the Zun Jue. This was all late at night in Sweden and no one from the agent was working at the time. I went to sleep happy knowing the watch was ordered. Then in the morning disaster struck. Message from the agent saying the item was out of stock. My spirits dropped reading the message. But there at the end... "Item is available in white, do you want to order this instead?" I did and that was the start of my Chinese collection.


    Beijing Watch Factory
    Zun Jue
    I still marvel when looking at this watch. The dial is superb. I don't even mind the date window anymore (sure it would be better without it). 40mm is a good size and it wears and feels thinner than its 10mm.



    Jun has managed to find a few more of these now (still no black ��). I've actually bought a second since the crown on the first was slipping.

    Zun Da
    One of the sportiest models BWAF make with it's bi-compax layout. Sub-second at 9 and power reserve at 3.
    Never tried the bracelet. It has only lived on natos and now lately on one of my priced possessions, the first ever iyonk-rally.



    Beihai LE
    Seems all Beihai's have gone to collectors on the forums. What else can be said? A fantastic dress watch, understated without being boring.


    Hongru 16d (B078201445S)
    Beijings take on the pilot's watch. Have done a full thread on this elsewhere here. (http://www.intlwatchleague.com/showthread.php?p=233149)


    BS-2 silver
    This is most likely a Franken of sorts. BS-2 inside but a dial that's probably from a SB5. Still really like the silver dial and it's in great shape for its age. As with most Beijings no production codes on movement.

    Mvmt:


    BS-2 gold
    A really good exemplar of a bs-2. This is exactly the type of watch I like the most. Simple and elegant. There's damage to the dial at 4, but nothing that's an issue day to day

    Mvmt:


    SB5 gold indices
    See comment about bs-2 above
    This will get lots of wear.

    Mvmt:


    SB5 cross dial lume dots
    From what I have gathered a rather rare Beijing SB5 with lume dots on the dial. Have not seen many of these.

    mvmt:

    caseback:


    SB5 line dial
    Simple silver dial with the early Zhongguo Beijing marking.

    Mvmt:


    Shuangling double calendar
    Great brushed dial and a 20 jewel day/date ZB1 (sometimes the day/date is designated ZB-SK, no markings here though) inside that runs well. Instant day/date change right at midnight, something much newer and expensive movements struggle with (looking at you Seiko)

    Mvmt:

    Caseback:


    I also have a red Shuangling that I one day will get fixed... (one day)

    Shanghai watch factory
    581
    Not a genuine 581. Case is right, dial is not. Also a 611 movement inside (upgrade from 581 with added shock protection). Even if Shanghai never did a 581 with this dial it's a striking watch. Again a textured dial. My smallest watch at 34mm. I was a bit hesitant about the size, but since the lugs are quite hefty and the watch is all dial it still works.

    mvmt:



    611
    Same as with the 581, this is a later replacement dial. Movement is however right for case in this one.

    Mvmt:


    Baoshihua Peacock
    What's not to love about this dial? Tongji inside. Unfortunately not running at the moment. Took a fall and hands got dislodged, also issues with the crown. I'm looking to source a spare tongji mvmt and get this fixed, it's too nice not to.



    Sea-gull
    ST5 Green
    The ST5 is most likely put together from NOS parts and not vintage, but it's a great vibrant green colour and a fun watch.

    Mvmt:



    DongFeng 21600 bph
    This was actually bought as a donor watch. Was cheap and why not have a spare ST5 at home. When it arrived I really liked it and after a good cleaning it has gone into the rotation. I'll find an spare ST5 somewhere else. This has the newer 21600 bph version of the ST5 inside.

    mvmt:

    Caseback:



    Dongfeng 18000 bph
    Another Dongfeng ST5. This has the earlier 18000 bph version of the ST5

    mvmt:


    Other VCM's

    Suzhou
    Fell in love with the plum blossom dial of the Suzhou when I saw it. Still one of my favourite VCM's. Simple indices and hands, but a great dial and quite a bulky case. Tongji inside marked ZSZ and production code OK. Not been able to find conversion for Suzhou between codes and year.

    Mvmt:



    Hai Shi
    Just a great example of the quirkiness I love about the old Chinese watch industry. Who would name a watch brand Sea Lion today? Just look at that caseback! Movement 3SZI production code BA

    Mvmt:

    caseback:



    Then we have the actual first Chinese watch I bought. As many others my first venture into Chinese watches was a Parnis.
    Parnis Big Pilot
    It's big, orange and full of faults (winding sometimes feels like there's gravel in the movement, the glued on orange pieces on the markers are crooked among other things). Not getting much wrist time anymore.



    Then there are the ones that have left.
    Sold:
    Guangzhou
    Nice dial, but caught in between dress and sport. Too shiny for a sporty watch and not thin or elegant enough to be a dress watch. Not special enough to stay in the end.


    ED1963
    In theory I love this watch. I'm just not a chronograph guy. I preferred to let someone else enjoy it. A watch too good to lay unused in my watch box.


    Alpha
    Wanted to try a one-hander. I did, quite enjoyed it, but this was too big.



    If you're still reading then thank you! I appreciate any comments or corrections on my information. I've tried researching the VCM's as well as possible, but there are many others here with way more knowledge than me.
    Last edited by meijlinder; Jun 26, 2017 at 07:44 AM. Reason: better pics

  2. #2
    Mmmmmm DJW GB's Avatar
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    Fantastic write up , and some really nice ones . I shall have to share mine although not as vintage as your's .Thanks for sharing.

    Sent from my XT1032 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Beautiful collection Magnus. It was fun to read your story and introduction to Chinese mechanical watches.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJW GB View Post
    Fantastic write up , and some really nice ones . I shall have to share mine although not as vintage as your's .Thanks for sharing.

    Sent from my XT1032 using Tapatalk
    Thanks D. Please do share yours, you have some stunners yourself.

  5. #5
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HKEd View Post
    Beautiful collection Magnus. It was fun to read your story and introduction to Chinese mechanical watches.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks Ed. I've still some way to go to get to the level of you and some of the other guys here, but I'm working on it. Hopefully I can inspire someone else to dive in to the sea of beautiful Chinese watches.

  6. #6
    Thanks for posting Magnus.
    First pic. ... didn't know you'd a black ZunJue, then, oh, still work in progress. Pity about the date window, stunners for sure
    Hope you can get the peacock up 'n running mate. Cheers

  7. #7
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strela167 View Post
    Thanks for posting Magnus.
    First pic. ... didn't know you'd a black ZunJue, then, oh, still work in progress. Pity about the date window, stunners for sure
    Hope you can get the peacock up 'n running mate. Cheers
    Thanks Dave. We're all still waiting for your SOTC 😉

    A tongji should be easy to source and then hopefully I can do a dial swap by myself. I'll practice on the red Shuangling before.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by meijlinder View Post
    Thanks Dave. We're all still waiting for your SOTC 

    A tongji should be easy to source and then hopefully I can do a dial swap by myself. I'll practice on the red Shuangling before.


    Forgot about your red dial, needs fixing post haste for sure.

    Think it may be Soviet on the other side that has a sub-collection of 581's, wods, as in wods, many dials were made. Some dials are very similar in other models, some models are very similar to other models too.... doh

    s-l1600.jpgs-l1600.jpg

    quick google found 611 and 581

  9. #9
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    From what I read Google translating Chinese (mainly iwatch365), the spirograph 581 and 611 are later replacements, but I'm happy to be proven wrong

  10. #10
    Over 100 dials , wish hadn't seen some of these

    http://forums.watchuseek.com/f72/col...-post5423.html

    the hollowed markers look a little odd, seen on sites before and thought iffy, guess legit

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