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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have finally found some time to upload pics of some of my Zhongshan watches. This brand has to be one of the best VCMs when it comes to textured dials. Enjoy. T.

And off course all these watches are powered by the seemingly indestructrable tractor called SN2.


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Great collection. I really like the swirl pattern on the dial of #14. I've always liked the look that the red bead on the second hand gives these simple dress watches as well.
 

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Wow! That was totally awesome!


Here's a little friend saying hello to all your Zhongshans:
 

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Very nice textured dials, but there's something about them that makes them look...well...really old. Probably the vintage style markers and hands.
 

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Wonderful post!! Yes, it's a stunning and very entertaining collection of some of the finest Zhongshan textured dials but, as you noted, these also all contain the elegantly simple and very effective SN-2 movement with it's surprising accuracy and power-reserve. And the cool Zhongshan casebacks. Here's a few variations...

zhong_shan_2_back.jpg

six_pandas_caseback.jpg

zhong_shan_1_back.jpg
 

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:p A stunning collection!

I like that even the many different dial designs can have variations. For example, we've seen a few 8 deer dials here at WUS, and so far they are all different.

Thanks for posting the pictures. :)
 

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Wow! Wow! Wow! That is an exemplary collection!

I was going to collect all these wonderful watches but it looks like you grabbed them all ;)

I may still try.
 

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Just bumping this thread. It's too nice to be lost in the sands of time, and deserves a look from newer members like me. I might be a foolish romantic, but I'm beguiled by these small gentle artworks and the people around them in Mao-era China (unless it was a bunch of self-entitled elites). Pity there's no pics of open cases to show the SN-2 movement mentioned in the thread.
 

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Zhongshan was a relatively low-cost, low-grade brand. It appears to me (and I may be incorrect) that "self-entitled elites" would desire a more prestigious brand, especially Shanghai.
It's funny how perceptions have changed. I feel like today Shanghai is certainly the least prestigious of the Big Three, and Beijing the most. But "back in the day" Shanghai do seem to have been the top-tier brand. It's well known that Zhou Enlai wore a Shanghai watch (a prototype calendar model if I recall) - I want to say that Mao wore one too but I'm not 100% sure we have solid evidence for that? Meanwhile, Beijing's output was far lower than most other factories. Today this probably serves them well, being suggestive of lots of high quality hand working, rather than mass production, but at the time I wonder if perhaps this wasn't a small source of embarrassment.
 

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Soviet and Chascomm are founts of knowledge. Some selected quotes from old threads:

Soviet:
Beijing Watch Factory was also established in 1958 along with Tianjin (Seagull) and Shanghai. But it was only in a name as Beijing had no watch industry before that so Beijing Watch factory had a much weaker capability than either Tianjin or Shanghai.
Soviet:
I believe that high offcials wish to make a showcase of Chinese watch industry in Beijing, so that there was an order that no watch should leave the factory if it was not up to the Swiss quality standard when the Swiss production line was imported. Many peope believe that Beijing BS-2 watches are of highest quality products of the same time period compared to Shanghai A581 and Tianjin WUYI. I have no production number of WUYI watches, but compared to Shanghai A581 and A611, the production number of BS-2 is much smaller. It appears that less than 2,000 watches were made per month.
Today, it is difficult for a Chinese watch collector to find a BS-2 watch outside Beijing area in any conditions. :)
Chascomm:
As I understand it, the Beijing Watch Factory was a project sponsored by the mayor of Beijing and was under his influence until control was handed to the Ministry for Light Industry shortly before the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.
Soviet:
In the past, shanghai watch factory was by far the largest Chinese watch maker in the 1950-60's. Quality wise, a Shanghai A611 and 1120 mgiht not be better than Tianjin's Dong Feng ST5A or Beijing BS-2, but everyone knows about Shanghai watches, epecially when Zhou Enlai personally promoted Shanghai watches.

Mao and Zhou personally disliked the Mayor of Beijing. They called Beijing an "indepent kingdom" inside China. So Beijing watch's image was never as high as that of shanghai watches. :-D
Chascomm's reply:

Ah, yes; was that the guy who found himself effectively under house arrest 'for his own ' protection' after some violent demonstrations at the start of the Cultural Revolution? This makes me wonder whether the decision to pioneer the Standard movement in Beijing was a way of undermining the 'elite' method watchmaking that characterized their earlier watches?

I know that largely contradicts my theorizing on this subject last week O| but I still think that politics lies at the heart of understanding Beijing watchmaking in the 1960s.
Soviet's reply:

I would agree to the assumption because there was a sharp turn of policy from those"elite Beijing BS-2s" to those poor Shuanglings, Great Walls, etc. and prduction volume increased by many folds.

Peng Zhen had offended Mao and Zhou by creating a "kingdom" that is so tight from outside influence that even "water can't get through" quote Mao.
 

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Thanks very much for taking the time to collate those quotes! I was totally unaware of this political component of early production at Beijing Watch Factory.

Shanghai really were the stars of the show in those days, as evidenced not only by their high output, but consider how many factories which opened after 1958 but before the introduction of the Tongji started out making SS1s, compared to those making movements designed at Beijing or Tianjin. Shanghai also seem to have been the original development place of many military projects later carried on at other factories.
 

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Pity there's no pics of open cases to show the SN-2 movement mentioned in the thread.
Zhongshan SN-2 with 9 jewels accompanied by 16 and 17 jewel versions assembled by a couple of other factories:



A close-up of the stripes on the pallet bridge:



And "Hello Panda" :)

 

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I'm very jealous of you all! Finding one of these in such clean condition these days is no mean feat, and you can forget about really fancy designs like pandas...
 

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Can I ask for a rough range of what people would pay for an old Zhongshan like these? At some point I will come across someone selling old watches and want to be ready. :)
 
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