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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I posted this in the Chinese watch forum some time ago, and it seems to have gathered all the opinions it can. I hope that by posting it in the Luxury section, I can gather some new opinions and insights.

Essentially, the question is as follows: Seagull (which produces a quarter of the world's mechanical watch movements, and has been manufacturing watches and movements since 1955), has recently introduced high-priced tourbillions, which can be bought for $4000-$5000. The watches come with a lifetime guarantee. For example this is one I'm interested in.



At $5000, you're paying roughly the same for, for example, a mid-end Swiss watch like a Rolex or some of the lower-ends of the higher-ends.

The question is simply, is this a wise purchase?

I'll try and summarise some of the main conclusions made in the other thread:

  1. Other Seagull factories create similar tourbillion movements and sell them to 'mushroom brands'. Essentially, similar tourbillion watches can be had for 1/4 the price, with the same movement. However...
  2. According to some people, the main Seagull headquarters handles all the high-end stuff. So you can expect the best finish and quality control to come from them.
  3. A big factor in the price is the lifetime guarantee. Is it worth an extra $3000?
  4. There is virtually no reliable data on these watches. Few people have bought one, and few people can comment on their long term reliability.

For me, this is a beautiful watch with a beautiful complication. If I can be assured that movement is sufficiently robust, with a lifetime guarantee, I think $5000 is a reasonable price to pay. However, I have to keep in mind that for $5000, I could buy a Swiss watch (albeit without any complications), but with a proven track record.

I hope that this forum can offer me some new insights, especially since the people here are also quite knowledgeable about what can we expect from spending $5000 on a watch (not to say that they aren't in the Chinese section!)
 

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It's a beautiful watch with a very interesting complication, one that you seem to like very much. There are very few assurances in life and it does have a lifetime guarantee. If it breaks it probably will take as long to get fixed in China as a Swiss watch takes in Switzerland. If you like it and can afford it buy it you will certainly have a unique timepiece.
 

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I agree. I would think these movements are inished and assembled by highly skilled and proud watchmakers.
If they have Musly ar a bowl of rice for breakfast makes no difference for me.

These watches might lose more % as 2nd hand. Made in PRC is still a negative aspect.

$5000 sounds quite high, is the markup in you country included?
You can get a Swiss made Tourb. for around $35000, I think.
 

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I agree. I would think these movements are inished and assembled by highly skilled and proud watchmakers.
If they have Musly ar a bowl of rice for breakfast makes no difference for me.

These watches might lose more % as 2nd hand. Made in PRC is still a negative aspect.

$5000 sounds quite high, is the markup in you country included?
You can get a Swiss made Tourb. for around $35000, I think.
Janne, you can get the Swatch Diaphane One (with the carrousel tourbillon) for under Euro 3000 ... granted, it's a Swatch, even then it's very pretty ;-)
 

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I have no first hand experience of chinese watches at all. From what I read in the literature - partly reader's letters relating their first hand experience - chinese watches are much cheaper, not as reliable but on the whole good value for money. The most negative aspect is accuracy. The Chinese have yet to get anywhere close to the micrometer accuracy in making parts that the Swiss watch industry has made it to and the daily rates show it.

One of the cheapest Swiss tourbillons around is also one of the best. When the JLC Master Tourbillon came out, priced at around 38000 Euros, it made the competition cringe since it was distinctly cheaper than most others on the market. Personally, I think tourbillons are vastly overpriced, living off their status from those days when making a very delicate tourbillon cage entirely manually made the whole thing truly expensive. JLC have shown that those days are over and one could knock a fair amount of the price these things go for nowadays. At the same time, the Master Tourbillon was good enough to win the most recent Chronometer Competition - which not only involved testing accuracy in positions but also after some more rigorous treatment, e.g. simulated enthusiastic clapping (of hands, that is). Although 38000 is still rather more than 5000, I suspect that the quality difference will justify it.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Well, while I maintain that the price difference reflects the quality difference, there are good enough reasons for getting the chinese tourbillon. There are also good reasons for not doing so. It is up to you to decide which weigh more heavily for you. If it's down to a case of getting the chinese one or getting none at all, if you are happy with what you are getting for the cash, go for it!

Hartmut Richter
 

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The watch is beautiful on the picture. On the page you indicated there are insuficient technical data. No size, no accuracy etc. Since for this price you can get a very good Swiss watch, accuracy +/- 1 sec per day, buy the Seagull if you believe you are getting the same performance and reliability. If not go for a cheap Chinese turbillon.
 

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This thread is a little old but as it's been resurrected I'll chime in. There have been Chinese flying tourbillon watches on the market for a number of years. I believe they have been made by Seagull. They have been commonly available for less than $1000.00 so the $5K price on this one unless it is a good level of hand finish above those previously mentioned is heavily inflated even though it adds a few complications.

I had one with an offset guilloche dial. It was very nice for the money but undoubtedly the finish was done by machine and not by hand. It ran fine but not exceptional as a fine tourbillon should.
 

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first you need to understand that the words 'high-end' and 'Chinese watches' do NOT go

together in the same sentence. Maybe they will in 100 or 1000 years. For now, 'counterfeit' is unfortunately the word that pops into people's minds with 'Chinese watches'. Thus, nobody will be interested in it if you want to part with it in a few years. A true high-end watch might bring a strong percentage of its value in 10 years, with Rolexes or Pateks maybe as much as 100% or in rare cases more. A Chinese watch, no matter how ambitiously conceived, might bring $5 at a yard sale.

Thus, you're buying novelty, and that doesn't last. Sorry to say, but that's pretty much the reality of it.
 

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I can talk to you about Chinese watches. I have a lot of experience owning Sea-Gulls and they are definately a cut above the homage Chinese watches that most people cut their teeth with.

Also Kevin Ma and Sea-Gull USA is a class organization who will go to bat for you should you have any problems.

You can buy sub $1000 USD Tourbillons with the Sea-Gull ST8000 movement in them and I have done just that:




This "Chinese" watch shares a watchbox and wrist time with a Ulysse Nardin, Omega Planet Ocean, Grand Seiko, Spring Drive and other cool watches. It also competes with much more affordable watches I like as well.

Also, like ETA, Sea-Gull produces different levels of movements. The top grade/tier are saved for Sea-Gull branded watches.

You might want to try out one of the Sea-Gull chronographs as well. They have the awesome in-house ST19 movement.



BTW, my Tourbillon was +33 secs per day when I got it. Archer Watches regulated it to 6 positions and now it runs about +11 secs per day. I suspect that Sea-Gull Tourbillons would come regulated versus a mushroom brand Tourbillon like I have.
 

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This is an interesting topic as it is analagous to what's happening in my other hobby and passion... high end audio. There is some very interesting gear - tube amps, turntables and speakers coming out of China that are supposedly made in the same factories that supply the big name brands (equivalent in prestige to say PP, VC, JLC etc). The level of craftsmanship and finish is top notch and they are also priced at less than half of the brand name gear. Some people have bought the Chinese gear and have been happy with them, but the problem is resale. At this point, the Chinese gear simply doesn't have the cache and reputation that the gear from Western countries and Japan have. They may be screaming bargains with great value, but you're gonna get killed on the resale value if you flip it, which is what I suspect audiophiles and watch fans are prone to do eventually.
 

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$5000 is a lot of money for a Chinese watch. The re-sale value would be very poor.If it were me, I would buy a sterile Chinese Tourbillon with a movement made buy Liaoning and can be bought for around $500. These watches are beautifully finished and are of excellent quality. The design of the dial and case is very classy.
I understand a certain Swiss company was using these base movements for their tourbillons and were sold for many thousands until they got found out.
Having spent $500 on a tourbillon, that leaves $4500 to spend on a Swiss watch. For me that would be a Chronoswiss model.
I would think that would be $5000 well spent
 

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Please post a pic of the $500 Tourb.
Would be interesting to see how they look like!
 

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I think that Sea-Gull branded watches are developing a very good reputation worldwide for quality and reliability. The fact that their lower-grade movements turn up in bad watches all the time damages this perception, however. I own a Sea-Gull chronograph and think it is great, but know that its long-term resale value is likely to be poor, as it has substantially the same movement as any number of fakes and Invicta junk pieces (a tautology if there ever was one...).

One suggestion that I might make is that, if you were to buy a Sea-Gull cased in a noble metal (solid gold is the most common, although I believe they do some platinum), it would be much more likely to hold its value both in terms of the case material and as a collectible timepiece. These pieces are rarer and very nicely done. The movements in them are also likely to be first rate and they generally come with a lifetime warranty. They cost roughly double your budget, but would probably be a better choice.
 

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I would never buy a Seagull (or any chinese) priced over $1k.

This tourbillon at $5k, even if cheaper than the less expensive Swiss one, is still priced as a luxury good... but it lacks the resale value and this is a huge drawback, because if you get tired of it you would loss too much. Also it has scarce brand recognition and no prestige... so it's definitely a bad choice in the luxury market. <|
Maybe it make sense for a new rich of chinese origin which takes pride in a watch of his country, like Grand Seiko is primary targeting JDM... indeed many if not most europeans/americans wont buy a GS (that has 1000x good name than Seagull) fearing the loss of value and the classic "just a Seiko" remark... and Seiko has definitely proved to be as worthy as the swiss are.
 

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i couldn't imagine the quality is that good to be honest. I would buy a Millionsmart toubillon for $1000, and spend the extra 4 on something else.
 

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i couldn't imagine the quality is that good to be honest. I would buy a Millionsmart toubillon for $1000, and spend the extra 4 on something else.
 

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i couldn't imagine the quality is that good to be honest. I would buy a Millionsmart toubillon for $1000, and spend the extra 4 on something else.
 
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