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The ST18 look-alike rotor confuses a bit but makes it more dressy. b-)
 

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Claro has an interesting address and interesting neighbours...........

Claro Watch SA
Salzhausstrasse 5, 2303 Biel, Switzerland
Phone : +41 32 328 10 25
Fax : +41 32 328 10 29

Ernst Benz Switzerland
Salzhausstrasse 5, 2503 Biel, Switzerland
Phone : +41 32 328 10 20
Fax : +41 32 328 10 29

Semag Manufacture AG
Salzhausstrasse 5
2503 Biel/Bienne, Schweiz
032 328 10 23

G. J. von Burg SA
Salzhausstrasse 5
2503 Biel-Bienne
Switzerland

Tel: +41 (0) 32-328-1025
Fax: +41 (0) 32-328-1029
 

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Sean779,

The situation is really complex. Take Zeiss for example, since the company first started making photographic lenses, they were active in the licensing business, allowing selected lens companies to make lenses to their designs and specifications, and these days it's no difference: those built by Cosina, and the earlier ones by Tomioka, were indeed of Zeiss design but no Zeiss content. But those on Sony, and even Nokia cameraphones, are not. When Sony digital cameras first sported Zeiss-marked lenses, Zeiss were asked point-blank how much input they had in them, but after paragraphs extolling the virtue of Zeiss lenses, the bottomline answer was like, "these lenses are up to the Zeiss standards".
Thanks for the info. I expected it was something like that: how else could Zeiss/Germany "take on" massive production of lenses for Sony cameras?
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
The latest from another forum site is the official confirmation that the MF01 is a 'Claro'. Also this from Fitzroy's official spokesperson regarding the MF02:

"The story on that movement is similar to the Claro but it's not sourced from Claro so I don't know this info at present. I believe I will have much more info regarding the movements which I can share in the next two to three days. "
The above quote was yesterday amended by the Fitzroy rep to remove the following sentence:

"The story on that movement is similar to the Claro but it's not sourced from Claro so I don't know this info at present."

And today the following was posted:

"Here is what I can tell you regarding the movements.

MF01 AUTOMATIC SMALL SECOND MOVEMENT
MF01 is an exclusive Swiss made automatic mechanical movement made and assembled in the Neuchatel canton for Fitzroy by a network of independent manufacturers/suppliers.

MF02 AUTOMATIC CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENT
MF02 is an exclusive Swiss made automatic mechanical chronograph movement made and assembled for Fitzroy in the Neuchatel canton by independent manufacturers. It is inspired by the vintage Landron chronograph movement.

The bottom line is there are multiple companies involved with the production and assembly of both these movements. Not just a single brand."


So sadly it looks like they have taken fright and retreated to the traditional Swissophile view. Either that, or they are simply repeating the story given them by the movement supplier. Actually I think the latter is more likely.
 

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Well, scratch Fitzroy off my list.

They know exactly what the movements are and where came from...I guess they want us to run and get back on the cheese truck; they think we must have just fallen fell off :-d
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
Unpacking the statements a little more:

"The story on that movement (MF02) is similar to the Claro but it's not sourced from Claro so I don't know this info at present."

"The bottom line is there are multiple companies involved with the production and assembly of both these movements. Not just a single brand."

The multiple companies would be:

- Sea-Gull for the design and manufacture of the ebauches
- Claro for the finishing of the MF01 (although the Fitzroy rep has now retracted his 'Claro' comment)
- Another company, 'not Claro' (Semag perhaps?) for the finishing of the MF02
- Several specialist component manufacturers for hair-springs, mainsprings and various other precision components.

"The movements are not ETA or Sellita for example. Were we to use such movements our prices would be substantially higher ."

"MF02 is an exclusive Swiss made automatic mechanical chronograph movement made and assembled for Fitzroy in the Neuchatel canton by independent manufacturers. It is inspired by the vintage Landron chronograph movement."

'Landron' (or 'Landeron' ;-)) is not the 'inspiration' for this movement. :rodekaart The MF02 is in fact a direct descendant of the Venus calibre 175, sold to the Chinese for Project 304, put into production as ST3, resurrected and upgraded in the 21st Century as the ST19 and last year given auto-winding as the ST1945. The old Landeron chrono movement is visually similar to the Venus, but the lineage of the MF02 is clear.

Is it really more plausible that a new (and unknown) Swiss manufacturer suddenly developed an entirely 'new' movement based on a 60 year old design(!), and then added an auto-winding movement to it, to sell at a cost less than the ETA 7750(!!) and then put it into production coincidentally a year after Sea-Gull started selling watches featuring a visually identical movement? :roll:

For a company who states "Given our market focus we are putting more of our effort into the external style and detail rather than putting great emphasis on the watch movements" they have inadvertently struck gold. The ST1940/MF02 is an excellent movement with more heritage behind it than anything from ETA or Sellita. And yet we see the usual smoke-and-mirrors o|
 

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I am betting that one would find even with all those items that the cost of this chrono is a fraction of the 7750. For if it were not then wouldn't they have just used the 7750? Also how hard is it for those outside Swatch land to source a 7750 especially a company that has not previously done any business with ETA?

My understanding is the only way to go for a start up like this to get these is via the gray market. I am sure many brands do but maybe they were not willing to go there so to speak.

Oh and for those that throw out the Sellita 500. I am betting you would find out that was not option if you go way back to when this new company actually started designing these watches and spec'ing out the movements etc. I mean that could have been done 2 years ago for all we know if only a year ago would the people designing those have known about the Sellita 500 and would that have been even available when these watches were actually built? Maybe they were I don't know. But even if they were maybe they did not know?

Bingo!


That's right, the only non-7750-type automatic chronograph in the 'affordable' price range is now being assembled and finished in Switzerland and finding its way onto European wrists!

This is a big surprise to me. the ST16 I can understand as a raw ebauche costs peanuts, but an automatic chronograph with column-wheel adds up to a lot of precision parts, and matching the value with Swiss parts would be a more difficult proposition if the final product is to be priced competitively against watches using ETA and Sellita movements.
 

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Also how hard is it for those outside Swatch land to source a 7750 especially a company that has not previously done any business with ETA?
Should be no big deal. A new and small brand in Germany (Uhr) just launched the new 7750 collection, the UHR-283 is selling for 399 Euro (- VAT). It is feasible though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but. I thought that Claro only offered the 888 which is not a Chrono?
That's my understanding.

It is feasible that if they are already buying ebauches from Sea-Gull then they are favorably positioned to start bringing in other lines from the same source. But as Fitzroy themselves are saying that there are different companies involved that pretty much rules out Claro for the MF02. Of course I am assuming Claro for the MF01 because it is visually identical to the CL888 and ST16.

The hand-winding ST19 ebauche has already been used in some fairly high-end Swiss chronograph watches, so there's no surprise that Sea-Gull is able to package up the auto version for 3rd party assembly/finishing/enhancement. I just wish I knew who in Neuchatel was doing the work. I mean, I'm confident it will be good, but it's nice to know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I'm bumping this old thread because there have been enquiries recently about watches using the Sea-Gull ST1940 auto chrono movement.

There's a Fitzroy MF-02 for sale on ebay for 'only' $595 (pre-owned) :) The real-world photos give a clearer impression than the stock art.

Nice clean dial


Movement manufactured in Chna and finished in Switzerland (although that's not what they want you to think):


The side view gives an impression of how thick the watch needs to be to take a 1950s chronograph movement with an auto-winding module
 

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I'd like to ask the members of this forum, especially this thread, for some advice. I have been exploring the idea of launching my own line of casual/sporty auto-chronos using the ST1940 (TY2940) movement. The first designs (targeting spring of 2013 to hit the market) will sport diving bezels, leather straps, mineral glass and transparent casebacks, one-year factory warranties and be water resistant to 100 meters. We will not be trying to imply some vaguely Germanic heritage with the brand, but rather be very up front about the watches' being just what they are - reliable and attractive yet affordable. I'm curious what you'd say "the market will bear" for the final product. Daily searches online (mostly eBay, Amazon and Google Shopping) don't seem to turn up much competition selling for much less than $500, but I'd like to ask for others to weigh in here with their thoughts. Do you think $475 USD is outrageous considering it's a start-up brand using Chinese (albeit well-regarded) components and assembly (from an OEM factory with a good reputation)?
 

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The whole thing stinks to high heaven. 'Professsional obfuscation' if one is a marketting man. Lying to the rest of us.
"Designed in London"?
Big deal!
By a Russian on a laptop in a Little Chef just off the M25? By a Czech on an iPad in a B&b in Chiswick?
It's all meaningless drivel.
 
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