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Discussion Starter #1
A box of watches which I recently acquired just for 1 piece movement continue to produce some doozies. Here is a pocket watch with Chinese ZCQ movement. Perhaps there is someone on this forum who can id when it might have been made? I don't think it's very old - 2000's? I admit I know nothing about Chinese watches. For all I know the same ZCQ movement has been made for the last 20-40 years? so it would be difficult to say with any degree of certainty.


ZCQ_125853 - Copy.jpg ZCQ_153228 - Copy.jpg
 

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no "doozy" here. That is a no-name Chinese made pocket watch with a cheap tongji movement.

Here is a link to a ZCQ 17 jewel tongji movement that is in your watch for sale on Taobao for 25rmb, which is $3.50usd.
https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1z10.5-c.w4002-18913756282.19.e94e4214cQ36BQ&id=567634155526

You can read more about the tongji movement (also called the Chinese standard movement) here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_standard_movement
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no "doozy" here. That is a no-name Chinese made pocket watch with a cheap tongji movement.

Here is a link to a ZCQ 17 jewel tongji movement that is in your watch for sale on Taobao for 25rmb, which is $3.50usd.
https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1z10.5-c.w4002-18913756282.19.e94e4214cQ36BQ&id=567634155526

You can read more about the tongji movement (also called the Chinese standard movement) here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_standard_movement
Thanks Mate, you definitely misunderstood but there is no "bubble bursting" here. Doozies a (plural of doozy) in my part of the world is often used to describe something problematic. So it is often used in the context of something being troublesome, difficult (simply negative) but can be used positively as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ZCQ is the movement code for tongjis made by Chongqing Clock and Watch Company. It looks like there's a date code under the balance of yours. If I see it correctly the first two numbers are 86, indicating the movement's year of manufacture was 1986. Two more numbers after it will tell you which month.

The Chinese Watch Wiki is a useful resource:

Chinese Standard Movement - Chinese Watch Wiki

Chongqing Clock & Watch Company - Chinese Watch Wiki
Thanks - made in 1986? Wow, if that is so it's a real "vintage watch".

I also came across this old WUS ZCQ post here https://forums.watchuseek.com/f72/chongqing-built-vintage-kunlun-zcq-536716.html.
 

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While cheap this watch is still fun and cool to carry around!
 

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no "doozy" here. That is a no-name Chinese made pocket watch with a cheap tongji movement.

Here is a link to a ZCQ 17 jewel tongji movement that is in your watch for sale on Taobao for 25rmb, which is $3.50usd.
https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1z10.5-c.w4002-18913756282.19.e94e4214cQ36BQ&id=567634155526

You can read more about the tongji movement (also called the Chinese standard movement) here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_standard_movement
As this watch was made in 1986 (at least movement was), it would be a tongji after the economic reforms started - but private enterprises were still in their infancy. Was this movement/watch made in one of the state owned factories and up to good old standards, or assembled from dumpster diving by a Hong Kong based company with the legendarily poor finish?
 

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As this watch was made in 1986 (at least movement was), it would be a tongji after the economic reforms started - but private enterprises were still in their infancy. Was this movement/watch made in one of the state owned factories and up to good old standards, or assembled from dumpster diving by a Hong Kong based company with the legendarily poor finish?
That is a very good question, and something that Saskwatch or AlbertaTime might have more information about; from what I have read, the golden age of the tongji was in the 1970's; production has gotten subsequently worse since then.(per Wikipedia)
China was also hit with the quartz crisis.

Realize that each factory made a version of the tongji. Some were definitely better than others.
The best vintage examples of Standard(tongji) watches include Shanghai, Chunlei (Shanghai), Shuangling (Beijing), Polaris (Yantai) and Xihu (Hangzhou). -source: China Watch Wiki

Also, some factories didn't have to make the tongji. Sea-Gull had the ST5, ZuanShi had the SM1AK ( an incredible movement), and ZhongShan had a 9 jewel SN2 movement, which happens to be my least favorite movement to work on. I have bungled two of those movements trying to get the train wheel bridge and the train of wheels to meet up. Luckily. they are only 25rmb for a new movement, and now I have lots of extra SN2 parts.
 

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...Also, some factories didn't have to make the tongji. Sea-Gull had the ST5, ZuanShi had the SM1AK ( an incredible movement), and ZhongShan had a 9 jewel SN2 movement, which happens to be my least favorite movement to work on.....
While we're talking wristwatch-movement pocket watches, did you know that Zuanshi also used the SM1AK in a pocket watch, and that SN2 movements have been used in Hong Kong assembled pocket watches?

As for the origins of the Valro pocket watch; I'm getting more of a Hong Kong vibe from that. If there are any markings on the case back either inside or outside, that should answer the question.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
While we're talking wristwatch-movement pocket watches, did you know that Zuanshi also used the SM1AK in a pocket watch, and that SN2 movements have been used in Hong Kong assembled pocket watches?

As for the origins of the Valro pocket watch; I'm getting more of a Hong Kong vibe from that. If there are any markings on the case back either inside or outside, that should answer the question.
Negative Chascomm, no markings that I can see.

View attachment 14386069 ZCQ_160655 - Copy.jpg
 

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That is a very good question, and something that Saskwatch or AlbertaTime might have more information about; from what I have read, the golden age of the tongji was in the 1970's; production has gotten subsequently worse since then.(per Wikipedia)
China was also hit with the quartz crisis.

Realize that each factory made a version of the tongji. Some were definitely better than others.
The best vintage examples of Standard(tongji) watches include Shanghai, Chunlei (Shanghai), Shuangling (Beijing), Polaris (Yantai) and Xihu (Hangzhou). -source: China Watch Wiki

Also, some factories didn't have to make the tongji. Sea-Gull had the ST5, ZuanShi had the SM1AK ( an incredible movement), and ZhongShan had a 9 jewel SN2 movement, which happens to be my least favorite movement to work on. I have bungled two of those movements trying to get the train wheel bridge and the train of wheels to meet up. Luckily. they are only 25rmb for a new movement, and now I have lots of extra SN2 parts.
I believe the highest quality tongjis are the early versions, but standards remained high well into the 1980s. The quartz crisis hit China later than other countries in a large part because of the success of the tongji. It was less expensive to manufacture than a quartz movement, and overproduction in the early 1980s meant there was a plentiful supply. Repairs cost less than replacing batteries. It took a few years for market conditions to change.

There were differences in quality between tongjis. In an old thread, soviet shared a price list from 1983 which also indicated the grade levels of a large number of watches. Different watch brands were assigned a grade based on quality and performance. There were four different grades -- grade 1 was the highest and grade 4 the lowest. Only 10 watch factories made grade 1 watches that year. That included Sea-Gull and ZuanShi, so only eight factories made grade 1 tongjis in 1983. They were Shanghai, Shanghai No. 2, Beijing, Liaoning, Guangzhou, Xian Hongqi, Shijiazhuang, and Chongqing. But not all of the movements produced by the "grade 1" factories could meet the standard. They found their way into watches with other brand names, made either by the same factory or outsourced to another.

All of these watch factories were still state-owned at this time. Chongqing Clock & Watch Company is an interesting case. From another old thread:

The fact that there is no factory name on the Shanhua and, unlike the Kunlun, it has an unmarked crown caused me to wonder whether the watches were made by the same factory. I noticed that the name on the back of the Kunlun is not Chongqing Watch Factory, but Chongqing Clock and Watch Company. I decided to try to find more information about it. I knew I wouldn’t find anything in English, so I searched in Chinese. The only thing I could find was that the factory closed at some point.

Not expecting to find anything useful, I searched in English as a last resort, and to my surprise I struck gold. Google Books has lengthy excerpts from Chinese Industrial Firms under Reform, a 1992 World Bank Publication. One of its case studies was Chongqing Clock and Watch Company, chosen in part because it was an early experiment in financial reform of a consumer durables producer. There are pages and pages of information. Much of it is about the effects of reorganisation on the company in the first few years of the 1980s, but there is a significant amount about the Chinese watch industry in general too. I found a copy and bought it for less than $5 plus shipping.

From the book: Chongqing Clock and Watch Factory was founded at the site of the failed Chongqing Musical Instrument Factory in the early 1960s. Experimental watches were produced beginning in 1970, but full-scale production wasn't approved until 1977. It became an enterprise-type industrial corporation in 1980, adopting the name Chongqing Clock and Watch Company. This unique status at the time involved merging with seven enterprises and a significant amount of investment in some others. Some of its watch parts were produced by these associated factories. It sold parts to factories in other cities in Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou, and was by far the largest producer of watches in southwest China.

Shanhua watches were introduced in 1981 and sold very well. Due to some machinery problems beginning in the same year, the company had difficulty meeting the national standards for its grade 1 Shancheng brand watches, and in 1982 it used these substandard movements to create a new grade 3 brand, Kunlun. With the cooperation of Chongqing’s municipal government, the company sold Kunlun brand watches for RMB 45 each, below the minimum price (RMB 50) set by national authorities for a grade 3 tongji watch, thus undercutting its competition. There are a number of examples of the company similarly bending other rules. Kunlun watches were a huge success.

Once Chongqing worked out its mechanical problems, it found another way to get around fixed prices: it changed its product mix by increasing the proportion of Shanhua and Kunlun watches it produced. In order to achieve this, the company upgraded the quality of all of its brands. For example, Shanhua dials and casebacks were put on watches that would otherwise qualify as grade 1, while the very best movements were reserved for the Shancheng brand. The resulting increase in quality of all grades of Chongqing’s watches improved their reputation, and as a result their sales. This practice was not unique to Chongqing, and in the 1980s some other factories did the same thing. After price reductions on all grades in 1984, demand for grade 2 and 3 watches dropped. By 1985 Chongqing was producing grade 1 watches almost exclusively.
I suspect the ZCQ tongji in the pocket watch would be a grade 2 or 3 movement outsourced to a different factory. Which factory? I don't know, but Chascomm's Hong Kong suggestion is plausible.
 

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I believe the highest quality tongjis are the early versions, but standards remained high well into the 1980s. The quartz crisis hit China later than other countries in a large part because of the success of the tongji. It was less expensive to manufacture than a quartz movement, and overproduction in the early 1980s meant there was a plentiful supply. Repairs cost less than replacing batteries. It took a few years for market conditions to change.

There were differences in quality between tongjis. In an old thread, soviet shared a price list from 1983 which also indicated the grade levels of a large number of watches. Different watch brands were assigned a grade based on quality and performance. There were four different grades -- grade 1 was the highest and grade 4 the lowest. Only 10 watch factories made grade 1 watches that year. That included Sea-Gull and ZuanShi, so only eight factories made grade 1 tongjis in 1983. They were Shanghai, Shanghai No. 2, Beijing, Liaoning, Guangzhou, Xian Hongqi, Shijiazhuang, and Chongqing. But not all of the movements produced by the "grade 1" factories could meet the standard. They found their way into watches with other brand names, made either by the same factory or outsourced to another.

All of these watch factories were still state-owned at this time. Chongqing Clock & Watch Company is an interesting case. From another old thread:



I suspect the ZCQ tongji in the pocket watch would be a grade 2 or 3 movement outsourced to a different factory. Which factory? I don't know, but Chascomm's Hong Kong suggestion is plausible.
This is such a trove of historical facts about an interesting time!

Which brings another question. Since there were so much surplus of tongji during the transition of BOTH the watch industry and the Chinese economy, the 1980s. Could it be possible that today's cheaply made tongji watches are STILL using very old movements from then, buying for almost nothing truckloads of extra movements that are now 30+ years old and putting them into today's cases?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I believe the highest quality tongjis are the early versions, but standards remained high well into the 1980s. The quartz crisis hit China later than other countries in a large part because of the success of the tongji. It was less expensive to manufacture than a quartz movement, and overproduction in the early 1980s meant there was a plentiful supply. Repairs cost less than replacing batteries. It took a few years for market conditions to change.

There were differences in quality between tongjis. In an old thread, soviet shared a price list from 1983 which also indicated the grade levels of a large number of watches. Different watch brands were assigned a grade based on quality and performance. There were four different grades -- grade 1 was the highest and grade 4 the lowest. Only 10 watch factories made grade 1 watches that year. That included Sea-Gull and ZuanShi, so only eight factories made grade 1 tongjis in 1983. They were Shanghai, Shanghai No. 2, Beijing, Liaoning, Guangzhou, Xian Hongqi, Shijiazhuang, and Chongqing. But not all of the movements produced by the "grade 1" factories could meet the standard. They found their way into watches with other brand names, made either by the same factory or outsourced to another.

All of these watch factories were still state-owned at this time. Chongqing Clock & Watch Company is an interesting case. From another old thread:



I suspect the ZCQ tongji in the pocket watch would be a grade 2 or 3 movement outsourced to a different factory. Which factory? I don't know, but Chascomm's Hong Kong suggestion is plausible.
Thanks Mate - I just didn't expect the innocent question regarding the origins of my "2 bob Chinese watch" movement would stir up such bubble bursting a debate. But you know what - I'm glad I've asked. |>
 

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Which brings another question. Since there were so much surplus of tongji during the transition of BOTH the watch industry and the Chinese economy, the 1980s. Could it be possible that today's cheaply made tongji watches are STILL using very old movements from then, buying for almost nothing truckloads of extra movements that are now 30+ years old and putting them into today's cases?
What a great question! I wish I knew the answer.

Thanks Mate - I just didn't the innocent question regarding the origins of my "2 bob Chinese watch" movement would stir up such bubble bursting a debate. But you know what - I'm glad I've asked. |>
I'm glad you asked too. :)

A correction to my previous post:

Only 10 watch factories made grade 1 watches that year.
I forgot that Shanghai brand women's watches were made by both Shanghai and Shanghai Third Watch Factories. So it's likely there were 11 of them. These women's watches didn't use the tongji.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I keep finding more "troublesome" Chinese pieces in the recently received lot of steampunk stuff. I'm pretty sure it's the last Chinese watch though. ;-) Another Valro (wouldn't you know it) this time quartz. Would it possibly be from a similar period as the ZCQ - mid to late 1980-1990's?

VLQ_123652 - Copy.jpg VLQ_123611 - Copy.jpg
VLQ_123803 - Copy.jpg VLQ_123822 - Copy.jpg
 

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I keep finding more "troublesome" Chinese pieces in the recently received lot of steampunk stuff. I'm pretty sure it's the last Chinese watch though. ;-) Another Valro (wouldn't you know it) this time quartz. Would it possibly be from a similar period as the ZCQ - mid to late 1980-1990's?
Old Navman,

I seriously doubt any connection to mainland China with this watch, and I now doubt any mainland connection to the previous Valro except for the tongji movement; which I suspect is a NOS movement put in a watch that was created at a later date than the movement's production date ,and at a location outside mainland China.

The fact that I can't find any reference to a "Valro" on Baidu, Taobao or Salty Fish confirms my suspicions that this is a non-mainland watch. Heck, I can't even find reference to another Valro on Google or using the waybackmachine either, which I am sure you have tried to do as well.

BTW, I find it very hard to believe that a Chinese watch company(especially in the 1980's or 1990's) would state "Japan Mov't" on their watch dial or even use a Japanese movement during the 1980s.

I will go with Chascomm on this and state that this is likely a watch made in HK or maybe even Japan or...
At the end of the day, these are no-name, inexpensive pocket watches. If you like them, use them and be happy with them.

Lastly, if you want a real piece of vintage Chinese horology then search the f72 forum or PM Saskwatch or AlbertaTime or myself. There are many VCMs worth collecting that will bring you great joy and have actual Chinese horology. As has been stated, the other Valro has a 2nd or 3rd grade tongji movement; a 2nd or 3rd grade tongji does't have any horological value except for something like a rare double phoenix dial Zhongshan SN2 or other rare dial VCM.
My two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Old Navman,

I seriously doubt any connection to mainland China with this watch, and I now doubt any mainland connection to the previous Valro except for the tongji movement; which I suspect is a NOS movement put in a watch that was created at a later date than the movement's production date ,and at a location outside mainland China.

The fact that I can't find any reference to a "Valro" on Baidu, Taobao or Salty Fish confirms my suspicions that this is a non-mainland watch. Heck, I can't even find reference to another Valro on Google or using the waybackmachine either, which I am sure you have tried to do as well.

BTW, I find it very hard to believe that a Chinese watch company(especially in the 1980's or 1990's) would state "Japan Mov't" on their watch dial or even use a Japanese movement during the 1980s.

I will go with Chascomm on this and state that this is likely a watch made in HK or maybe even Japan or...
At the end of the day, these are no-name, inexpensive pocket watches. If you like them, use them and be happy with them.

Lastly, if you want a real piece of vintage Chinese horology then search the f72 forum or PM Saskwatch or AlbertaTime or myself. There are many VCMs worth collecting that will bring you great joy and have actual Chinese horology. As has been stated, the other Valro has a 2nd or 3rd grade tongji movement; a 2nd or 3rd grade tongji does't have any horological value except for something like a rare double phoenix dial Zhongshan SN2 or other rare dial VCM.
My two cents.
For a bubble bursting person I admit you did write a lot about these inexpensive watches. That fact they were inexpensive, which is something that was never in doubt, even my kids could tell.
And if you read my posts more carefully I've never asked or had the desire to know about the values. It was always about the dating movement an/or the watch. In any case, it's admirable
that for such obscure pieces you did bother checking out those facts as stated above. And thanks for offering your advise and volunteering the others regarding purchasing Chinese
watches - I think I'll stick with the US and the Swiss ones for now.
 
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