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Moderator: F72 and F71
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Discussion Starter #1
back in March on WUS, Chascomm said "Every collector of vintage Chinese watches needs a Zhongshan in their collection."

Well, I try to pay attention.

Not a Zhong Shan with a fancy dial (like WUS collector Soviet displays, for example), and not one of the early "no anti-shock" versions, and nothing unusual about the case, but still...









...now I have one.

And what a cool, even though very basic, watch. Wore it all day since arrival this morning...took it outta the box it came in, unwrapped it, wound it up, and it kept killer time all day--<i>maybe</i> 2-3 seconds out over 7.5 hours. It's comfortable and a nice size on my puny wrist -- 35mm by 43mm (lug to lug). It's got a 9 zuan movement and was evidently known in China as a "poor man's watch". If that's the case, then I think poor men in China got to wear a very serviceable watch back in the day.

As always, any details or comments on this piece are welcome, especially since I'm new to dealing with the seller...
 

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Mod. Russian, China Mech.
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CMW & Sales Moderator
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And here is mine, but it is in need of a cleaning and adjustment.









Cheers,
gigfy
 

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CMW & Sales Moderator
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Over 10,000 posts. Wow!

When do you find time to eat? :-d

Cheers,
gigfy
 

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Mod. Russian, China Mech.
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I said it elsewhere and I will say it again here. That movement is built like a tank and built to last...
For those who like the technical stuff...

Attached are photos of a few movements of somewhat similar design. They are listed in chronological order.

The first one (if they've loaded in the correct order) is the Anglo-Celtic TY introduced in 1956 for Smiths and Ingersoll. I believe that this movement may have been the inspiration for the original Nanjing SN-1. It is a simple design; part-jewelled 4-wheel train, pin-lever escapement with right-angle lever, hour and minute hands driven by friction clutch on the barrel. Jewelled lever was available as an option (must have been an unusual design to fit).

The next one is the Nanjing SN-1 Zijinshan, with all the same features as above, but with jewelled lever.

After that is the SN-2 Zhongshan, revised with modular escapement for ease of assembly and maintenance. The balance is bigger and it now has a straight-line lever ('ancre' in the Swiss parlance). The polishing and fine hatching on the lever cock shows they took care even with this poor man's watch.

Finally is the popular Swiss generic Semag ES series, with all the same features as the SN-2, except available in a wider range of specification from 1 jewel to 17. I used to think this was merely similar to the Zhongshan, maybe sharing some common inspiration, but the closer I look at the details, the more I think somebody at Claro-Semag had a Zhongshan in their hand when they designed the ES.

Interesting isn't it? :think:
 

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Hi Ron,

Another nice piece. :-!
I actually like the movement. Even though it might be rough, it reminds me of the 3/4 plate designs you see in the expensive Unitas modifications. Just put some 'perlage' on it, some Geneva Stripes, and some gold filled engraving saying it's adjusted in sixhundred positions, and there you go ;-)

Regards,

Martin
 

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Mod. Russian, China Mech.
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Ok, here's mine:
I love that textured dial. It looks like one of the earlier shockproof models. Mine is the same case and back, but different dial and crown. I'm not sure what the correct one would be. yours seems to suit it better.
 

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Moderator: F72 and F71
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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, here's mine:
Both are beautiful, charming pieces.

The effort and care that went into these "poor man's" watches, with their variety of dials and embellishments (not to mention the basic, but dependable and durable movement) is remarkable.
 

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I just learned recently that the stainless steel for Zhongshan's case is a special one that is easy to cut to save production cost.|> A young worker still had to save a few months from his 30-40 RMB salary for this RMB 28 'poorest man's watch.;-)
 

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When I picked the Zhongshans up I knew nothing of their history, I just thought they looked cool, I was surprised they were known as the "poor man's watch", they look a lot better than that (although the movement is obviously very basic).
 

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I just learned recently that the stainless steel for Zhongshan's case is a special one that is easy to cut to save production cost.|>
I'm impressed that the case appears to be cut from a single piece of steel even on such a low-cost watch. Steel cases are one of the unusual features common to most vintage Chinese watches. Back in the 1960s only the best Western watches were made that way. Evidence perhaps that the Great Leap Forward steel production program wasn't the total failure that the history books claim, at least in the production of steel for light industry.
 

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Mod. Russian, China Mech.
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While we're talking Zhongshans, does anybody know how to interpret date stamps on the movement?

Mine is stamped:
JG
SN-2

I'm guessing that JG is some kind of production date code.
 

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While we're talking Zhongshans, does anybody know how to interpret date stamps on the movement?

Mine is stamped:
JG
SN-2

I'm guessing that JG is some kind of production date code.
I guess if they used the same system as Shanghai's 7120's, the 1st letter would mean the year, and 2nd the month. But I have to find out when was the 1st production year of SN-2 Zhongshan.:-s
 

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Moderator: F72 and F71
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Discussion Starter #19
Found a couple more last night (I really need to get my collection in order), newer "NOS" Zhongshan's:
Both are lovely, but the white one calls my name...I can hear it...
 
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