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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
People reading my little reviews know that I usually focus on 'oddballs' and cheap stuff, simply because that's all I can (actually "want to") afford and do like. My collection of wristwatches is neither serious nor valuable, but I do enjoy my unique models. Included are a few Citizen 'hawks', several genuine 24hr watches, antique and mechanical chronographs from Japan, Russia etc. .

This article describes my newest addition, the weird Haas & Cie "Miro" MCH415 date/moonphase chronograph with its fairly complex ISA 8171-204 quartz movement.

If you want to skip this somewhat lengthy report ('Where is the beef?'), scroll down to the pictures and Summary right away, otherwise read on:


About Haas & Cie:
The company was founded 1848 in Geneva, Switzerland and focused on complex specialty calibers, right from the beginning, e.g. double chronographs,perpetual calenders etc.
Haas & Cie even survived the first 'fallout' in the 1980s, when cheap and reliable quartz watches replaced the mechanical movements and killed many Swiss watch manufacturers.
But it eventually collapsed in 1997, just shy of its 150s anniversary, and went belly up. The remainder and name rights were acquired by the Korean based Samsung Watch Company SWC. Today the Koreans keep manufacturing watches with the 'Haas & Cie Swiss 1848' label, although they are 100% Asian made. Many if not all utilize quartz movements of the Swiss ISA group, assembled in Switzerland and also in Asia AFAIK.
Visit the Haas & Cie website for details:
http://www.haas-cie.com/main.asp


About the ISA quartz movement:
In the 1950s ISAswiss was founded as "FABRIQUE D’EBAUCHES de SONCEBOZ", producing mechanical calibers.
With the introduction of cheap quartz movements the company jumped on that band wagon and abandoned the production of mechanical calibers in the 1980s. Later the company became the 'ISA group' with subsidiaries in Europe and Asia. Since 2006 the company focuses on complex quartz movements (e.g. the ISAspeciality series), with a variety of watch complications combined into single, battery operated calibers.
I could not find out if any movements are indeed assembled in Switzerland today, or if they are all made in Asia?
The 8171-204 is probably their most sophisticated design, using a patented double rotor motor. It emulates the full funcional features of the Russian caliber 31679 (extended 7133 resp. 7734) in a similar arrangement: Time, single date at 4, moonphase window at 6,30min chronograph at 10 and decentral seconds at 2. BTW: these two subdials are swapped on the 31679. This feature-rich movement is quite popular with many watch manufacturers and is found in many, sometimes quite pricy, quartz chronographs today. I saw this caliber in brands like Maurice Lacroix, Haas & Cie, Hirsch, Altanus, Nicolet, Badec to name a few. The raw movement can be had for ~25Euro ($33), some finished brand-name watches with this movement are offered and sold for several hundred Euros!
Visit the ISASwiss website for details:
http://www.isaswiss.com/en/home.html,
and especially about the 8171-204:
http://www.isaswiss.com/public/ftp/mouvements_docs/technique/8171-204.pdf



About the Haas & Cie "Miro" MCH415:
Of all current Haas & Cie quartz watches this is their weirdest and most dubious moonphase chronograph, for many reasons:

  1. It is NOT listed on their website, although the company offers a variety of 8171-204 based chronos in their collection.
  2. It is mainly sold through mail order companies (the big "A") and of course on the auction sites (the big "E"), the MSRP is isted around 110Euros, the street price appears to be 50-60% of that.
  3. This specific model is in fact a production 'goof', with a serious design flaw in all subdials!
The latter may be the reason why the existing lots of Miros are auctioned off these days and few dealers offer it.


Apparantly three "Miro" versions exist (BTW all have the same subdial errors): a chrome plated model with white or black face and a rose gold plated white faced variation (maybe a black faced one as well?).
I acquired the black model in a German online auction (the big "E"), for a low and attractive price of less than 45Euro ($60), a real steal for a 8171-204 based watch! Probably the cheapest one on the market, considering the price of the raw engine! The production errors became obvious after receiving the watch and testing it.
Several written inquiries about the unique error of this model at 'Haas & Cie' all ended up in the hands of the European dealer in Essen/Germany, the very same and single person that sells these watches through German auctions! He claimed to be unaware of the problem (!), later he stated that the producing company had been notified about the mistake and that production was therefore stopped (WHEN??!). A refund was offered if I return the watch. I decided to keep this 'Miro' anyway, albeit its flaw will prevent any serious usage of the chronograph function. A real pity as I tend to use my stop watches, alarms, timers and slide rules regularly.


So how does this 'Miro' look and feel?:
It arrives 'with fashion', in a rather stylish, huge and real stitched "leatherette" box, velvet pillow and all, meticulously polished and protected, quite a surprise for such a cheap watch.
Chrome markers and hands are used throughout, as well as silver markings for all scales and the tachymeter scale. The tach scale reaches up to '400', faster than any production vehicle will roll on streets - my scooter only reaches 70km/h, so I am all set!
Roman numerals (just 12 and 8) and bars are applied as hour markers, also 1/4sec fine scales for the stop watch. The large crown mimicks the "Basilika" style of Buran's mechanical big brother. A genuine leather strap with regular buckle is standard; the leather is a little stiff but will probably 'give' over time. Case lugs for the strap are not drilled through, as with many low-end watches,
A slightly curved, hence reflective 'hard mineral' glass is covering the face, the stainless steel back is screwed on, marked 'water-resistant', whatever that may mean these days. Carton, box, pillow, watch face, booklet, all carry the markings of 'Haas & Cie Swiss 1848' and their trademark, the bunny ("Hase", short "Has'" means "rabbit" in German).
The first impression is definitely:"Wow, not bad - if it fakes a "Swiss MADE" watch, it clearly does it with style!"
Size and weight are appropriate for such a difficile multi-complication watch: I found it to be around 40mm in diameter and about 10mm thick, weighing in at 65g, including the strap. It fits even to smaller wrists, unlike many fat chronographs out there today.
Setting time, date and moonphase is described in detail in the booklet I found at the bottom of the box.
The coupling of the moonphase with the date makes setting the correct phase tedious, but a quick-set function for the date does exist. Nice that the second hand stops when the crown is pulled, it allows for perfect syncronisation with standards like radio 'atomic' clocks.

I do miss the wonderful "moon age" scale and hand that the 31679 utilizes - there you can set/tell the age of the moon by numbers 1-29! Easy to achieve by simply adding a hand to the moon wheel, few manufacturers do this, oh well...
Although I usually dislike the 'bent' date position at 4, it is still more useful than a date window at 12. There it would be covered by the parked second hand of the chronograph. Most Poljots/Burans/MAKtimes have this "issue".
The accuracy of the movement is flawless as it should be for a 32.768kHz quartz based quartz driver.
The daily deviation is less than 1/10sec in my case, so the watch will only need attention when adjusting the date every 2 months. The movement needs about 1.3uA in normal mode (10x that with the stopwatch engaged!), and is fed by a standard and fairly cheap silver oxide SR927SW battery. Its capacity is around 45mAh, so the watch 'should' run at least two years, if the stop watch is rarely used. And the stop watch of a Haas & Cie MCH415 WILL hardly ever be used - read on!

And now the incredible flaw - I could not believe my eyes:
HOW MANY SECONDS iN A MINUTE, HOW MANY MINUTES IN HALF AN HOUR??
Would you believe it, the Koreans do not know the hexagesimal system, they printed THIRTYSIX markings into the 30min subdial and created 36 intervals in the second subdial as well!
While the error in the sweeping second dial are of no real importance, the problem with the stop watch totalizator renders it almost useless: of course the minute hand of the movement advances in increments of 60sec, so the hand will fall in between these odd markings at most times. Try to distinguish 2,3 or even 4 minutes on such a scale - your egg may boil hard or soft, you will never know! Every 5min the hand aligns with a marking, all other steps fall in between two others. JEEZ!
I have no clue what moron or apprentice designed such a dial, most likely (hopefully!) he did NOT live in Switzerland...
This ridicilous error is only topped by the idiot at Poljot, who added a HALF, i.e. single!, E6B slide rule scale to the otherwise quite nice white-faced 31679 Lunar Chronograph. Flashy numbers make it look complicated, but: try clapping with one hand... Zens brood over this for centuries, but I digress...
Astonishing is the fact that many owners of this specific MCH415 seem NOT to mind or even realize the misprint. I found many positive feedback entries on the auction site, must be the unique and less distinguishing group of customers, easy to please, eating their eggs raw...

Another, less dramatic but still annoying, issue of this black-flaced Miro: the readability of the chrome hands against the dark face is quite bad. Depending on the viewing angle and light reflections the hands seem to disappear totally. High contrast or even colored hands (as on many other chronos) would have improved the visibility a lot.

So I am not really happy with my latest acquisition, it will probably end up in my display case and become the laughing stock for visitors: "Look how the SwAsians in Korea design a watch!"
Luckily the investment was mild and I learned something new: never trust Asian watch makers and German auction sellers, esp if 'Swiss' is involved!


Summary:
The Haas & Cie Miro MCH415 is a feature-rich, low budget quartz chronograph with date and real moonphase. The movement itself and manufacturing/material quality of the watch is flawless.
Despite its misleading 'Swiss' markings this Asian made watch wears and operates like higher priced models using the same caliber.
Its biggest and most serious problem is the flawed design and misprint of both subdials with their improper 36/30 scales. This renders the functionality of the chronograph useless, a real pity.
I can NOT recommend this watch for this reason alone, despite its low street price, currently around 50Euro.
Instead you may want to take a closer look at the remaining models of this manufacturer, using the same ISAspeciality 8171-204 movement and proper subdial markings.

High resolution pictures (12MP) of my Miro and the mentioned erroneous 1/2 E6B slide rule Poljot can be found and downloaded at:
http://www.box.net/shared/ypqujya7xz

michael, Germany

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2WatchAndStrapS.jpg

3WatchS.jpg

4WatchFaceS.jpg

6WatchBackS.jpg
 

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Excellent review :-!
Although I own several chronograph watches, I seldom use them to time anything, so I think the subdial mistake gives it an interesting quirk!

Wear it in good health (or maybe leave it in the display case if you're boiling eggs! ;-))
 

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i'll be damned if i can see the problem you mentioned. i counted several times: the 30 subdial (left) has 30 markings, and they seem equally spaced too, so that shouldn't be a problem (at first glance), the only problem i see is that the seconds (60, right) subdial is a direct copy of the first one, so it too has only 30 markings, only it is labeled "60,20,40" instead of "30,10,20", which is annoying for sure, but shouldn't be that much of a problem (not uncommon to cut some markings on small subdials, to make them more readable). or maybe the dial just doesn't align with the hand properly? really curious for a clarification, maybe i just don't see.. :)

very nice review overall, and very nice catch

ps: agreed about the poljot. such a shame. reminds me of fake intercooler intakes on the hood of cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i'll be damned if i can see the problem you mentioned. i counted several times: the 30 subdial (left) has 30 markings, and they seem equally spaced too, so that shouldn't be a problem (at first glance), the only problem i see is that the seconds (60, right) subdial is a direct copy of the first one, so it too has only 30 markings, only it is labeled "60,20,40" instead of "30,10,20", which is annoying for sure, but shouldn't be that much of a problem (not uncommon to cut some markings on small subdials, to make them more readable). or maybe the dial just doesn't align with the hand properly? really curious for a clarification, maybe i just don't see.. :)

very nice review overall, and very nice catch

ps: agreed about the poljot. such a shame. reminds me of fake intercooler intakes on the hood of cars.
You did not count the markings correctly!
Maybe you made the same mistake as the designer?
Note the large marking in the center between 30 (0) and 10min. It is supposed to mark 5min (and it does indeed!)
What does that lead to for the other 2 large markings in that interval on the left and right? Well, 2.5min and 7.5min!! Even worse are the 2 submarkings in between the large ones, dividing these 2.5min (150sec) into intervals of 1/3: 50seconds!!
The minute hand will only align with ANY marking every 5 minutes! Any other position is off and does hardly allow for any correct reading of the elapsed time without counting or interpolstion!

The root cause of this design flaw is in the ignorance about the OMMISSED markings around the numerals!
m
 

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so between 30 and 10, according to the picture, the big markings should be 2,5,8 respectively. following is a marked 10, big markings 12 and 15 (15 being at the 6 o'clock of the dial). every small marking should account for 1 minute. put another way: between 30(0) and the second big marking (5) there are 5 spaces (some marked by short ticks some by long, in this case, the 2 is marked by long: two spaces at the "left" of the 2, 3 at it's right). now, as far as i understand, the hand doesn't actually align with those markings as one would expect? this might be, as i said above, a misalignment of the dial, but as in the picture the hand seems to fall on a marking pretty well, i guess it would have to be a movement issue (movement not working properly, like, either not really 30min for one full sweep, or not evenly distributed over the sweep -- but i understand the movement is a "serious", proven one...)

as far as counting, i'm serious, i did it several times, can't figure out where i'm going wrong :/

it looks "right" to me. i'm not saying it makes sense (the arrangement of large and small markings make it, i think, very very difficult to actually read the dial without thinking/counting), so from an ergonomic point of view, i agree with you, it's a pain. but it _seems_ form the picture every small marking should account for one minute on the 30min dial, respectively 2s on the seconds dial. isn't that so?

--
nanok, scratching head in confusion
 

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i looked again at the pictures, and your explanations. i think i may understand where the problem is now: shortly, the markings are decorative only (the dial is.. useless :( ). i'll try to explain it (please confirm if i got it right): if one looks at the markings only, and count them (including the numerals), it all looks normal enough. however, if you look at any numeral, closely, you realise that you cannot count just one tick mark from the numeral to the next mark, there has to be one more in between, on either side of the numeral, to account for the space. this is, i think, why you say "36 ticks" (you add two on each side of the numeral).

so if we start from 30 (0) and go to 5 (the second large tick, which you confirmed marks 5 minutes), there are 6 tick spaces (middle_of_30-blank; blank-tick; tick-large_tick; large_tick-tick; tick-tick; tick-large_tick[the five] -- now my head goes tick). so if you go by their spacing on that dial, each space accounts for 50 seconds -- 300s in 6 spaces; nice. i don't want to think what this mean for the seconds hand...

is that it? if so, i have to concur: a very unique timepiece indeed :) (hope you don't mind, can't hurt to joke about it ;) )
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i looked again at the pictures, and your explanations. i think i may understand where the problem is now: shortly, the markings are decorative only (the dial is.. useless :( ). i'll try to explain it (please confirm if i got it right): if one looks at the markings only, and count them (including the numerals), it all looks normal enough. however, if you look at any numeral, closely, you realise that you cannot count just one tick mark from the numeral to the next mark, there has to be one more in between, on either side of the numeral, to account for the space. this is, i think, why you say "36 ticks" (you add two on each side of the numeral).

so if we start from 30 (0) and go to 5 (the second large tick, which you confirmed marks 5 minutes), there are 6 tick spaces (middle_of_30-blank; blank-tick; tick-large_tick; large_tick-tick; tick-tick; tick-large_tick[the five] -- now my head goes tick). so if you go by their spacing on that dial, each space accounts for 50 seconds -- 300s in 6 spaces; nice. i don't want to think what this mean for the seconds hand...

is that it? if so, i have to concur: a very unique timepiece indeed :) (hope you don't mind, can't hurt to joke about it ;) )
YES! Obviously EQUAL spacing was implied when referring to the 36/30 segmentation, we all use linear time on this planet, except Einstein..
As I explained the large markings divide the 10 minute interval into FOUR equal 2.5min segments, and each segment is further divided into THREE 50sec sub-segments. Go figure...
Impossible to use as a stopwatch, pure decoration and an utter waste of the otherwise marvelous ISAspeciality movement, which is even installed in $300 Lamborghini watches.

The sad part: I should have caught the error in the large ad pictures. It is enough reason to reject such a nonsense piece, just the hassle of returning was what kept me from giving it back to the Koreans.
The sadder part: not a single customer ever complained about this flaw openly on the web or after auctions, all appear to be happy and rave about it.
Meaning: no one buys seems to buy these watches for USAGE, WTF?

Reminds me of the guy who can't even fly a kite, wears a fat 10k$ pilot watch and cannot set it to DST, leave alone calculate MPG with its E6B slide rule.
Or the fellow with a 10atm diver's watch who can't swim...

Back into the display case, next to my Poljot Lunar II, but not the one with half a slide rule! That one I skipped as soon as I glanced at it!
m
 

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michael, it's easy to be fooled by the images (optical illusion, your brain wants to think there's one tick space between numeral and next tick, because it makes sense), i sure was fooled. but about people not seeming to mind after, i agree: many people will never use some features, sliderules are another example, there are many people even here who didn't notice their orient (for instance) is off, and thus unusable (talking about the e6b), many have even pointed out that they don't care, as it's only for looks. it makes me sad, but i can't blame these people, i guess it's thanks to them that i can still buy an e6b watch (as in: if only people who use the e6b would buy them, there wouldn't be nearly as many choices on the market, and cheap choices in particular).

coming back to the subject: i think the watch is worth the price, for the movement alone, and this blunder they made only makes it more special. "rare swiss movement timepiece, korean assembled, comic mistake on the dials, a real collectors treat" i can see the add 50y from now ;)

thanks a lot for your patience in helping me figure out the problem with the dials, btw. i know i can be a bit annoying at times when i want to understand stuff :)

ps: i have an e6b on my wrist, always wanted one, since i found out they existed. i can fly, but don't (it costs money, life got in the way, blah blah), it is also 10atm wr (though i think you meant 100, like some of the sinns, as in 1000m wr, a 10atm is not a diver), and can't swim (i should fix that :) ). i do use the sliderule and i do dunk it in water every day though. my point is, it's not b&w, there are shades of gray "don't be angry" ;).
 
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