Are Chinese Automatic Movements Worth Buying?

First of all, what is Chinese movement watch?

(Also known as China movement watch.)

Chinese movement watch is a mechanical watch movement that was developed in the Republic of China.

It started in the mid 1950s when a group of engineers were appointed by the Chinese government to work on the first mechanical movement watch to consolidate the industry.

During that time, quartz movement watch has not existed. With the help of the existing Swiss and Japan movements in the market as reference, they successfully created their first mechanical movement.

Mass Production

It was then the "Chinese Standard Movement". New factories were built to cater the demand by supplying these Chinese standard movement.

At that time, around 80% of Chinese watches produced in the early 80s are using standard movements.

And there comes the quartz crisis, but that's another story. This affected the watchmaking industry, from supply to production.

Watch movement itself is very complicated. It consists of many parts, from the ratchet, spring barrel, escape wheel pinion, crown wheel and to the balance spring. 

Mainspring by Coup De Coeur

We take the mainspring of the watch movement for example. A mainspring is a spiral torsion of metal ribbon. It is the power source in mechanical watches. By winding the movement, it stores energy to keep the movement moving.

Something so simple yet it is probably one of the most important part in a mechanical movement. Getting the perfect torque, material, size isn't something you can do without years of research and development.

Quartz Crisis / Revolution

Japan started watchmaking in the late 19th century while the Swiss's history of watchmaking goes all the way back to the 18th century. Talking about history!

The movement in watches today is frequently seen in its skeletonized and simple automatic variants.

Summary : Is it worth it?

Well it depends! Do you foresee to use the timepiece for another 5 years? or even 10 years?

If yes, you might want to consider investing on a higher quality mechanical movement. The places of the products being manufactured aren't necessary indicative of the quality.

Making high quality mechanical movement does not come overnight, it takes years of dedication and R&D. These movements tend to have higher precision and more detailed finishing.


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  • Arild Gjeldnes on

    It looks like the Chinese have about given up the production of high quality watch movements of domestic disign.

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