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Does anyone have some insight into the quality of materials in Chinese watch movements, in particular the factories other than Sea-Gull? Are any of the balance wheel and hairspring materials comparable to that of their Swiss/Japanese counterparts? Is there a Chinese glycodur balance wheel, or nivaflex hairspring? And how do the factories rank in terms of quality of stamping the components, and making good screws? DG, Hangzhou, Liaocheng, etc.

If anyone has any background on these, let's hear it.

Thanks!
 

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Does anyone have some insight into the quality of materials in Chinese watch movements, in particular the factories other than Sea-Gull? Are any of the balance wheel and hairspring materials comparable to that of their Swiss/Japanese counterparts? Is there a Chinese glycodur balance wheel, or nivaflex hairspring? And how do the factories rank in terms of quality of stamping the components, and making good screws? DG, Hangzhou, Liaocheng, etc.

If anyone has any background on these, let's hear it.

Thanks!
Hairsprings, mainsprings and screws are amongst the components that are reportedly locally-sourced by the Swiss Claro-Semag company for assembling Sea-Gull ebauches in order to make the requisite Swiss percentages, however abundant on-line anecdotal evidence suggests that the finished product does not actually perform any better than the all-Chinese examples.

I would also be very interested to hear about the current state of precision component manufacturing in China. In the old days, the entire watch was made under the one roof. Now I am certain that it is no longer true, even for the more vertically-integrated companies like Sea-Gull. So who are the main makers of springs and escapements in China?
 
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I have read many posts on this forum stating that chinese movements have a good quality, comparable with swiss mainstream ETA movements. If you search a little you should find some threads with tear off and comparison of equivalent movements.
 

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Hairsprings, mainsprings and screws are amongst the components that are reportedly locally-sourced by the Swiss Claro-Semag company for assembling Sea-Gull ebauches in order to make the requisite Swiss percentages, however abundant on-line anecdotal evidence suggests that the finished product does not actually perform any better than the all-Chinese examples.

I would also be very interested to hear about the current state of precision component manufacturing in China. In the old days, the entire watch was made under the one roof. Now I am certain that it is no longer true, even for the more vertically-integrated companies like Sea-Gull. So who are the main makers of springs and escapements in China?
In general, it is a long process of development from importing key components, parts, materials, to locally sourced and made parts and meterials, and then to exporting some parts ( for example, jewels) to foreign watch makers. So it depends on what time period your are referring to. In the very early years, you may find Swiss parts in some Chinese watches (early Shanghai A581s for example), or later Shanghai 7120 model watches with all China made parts that are comparable in quality to that of foreign ones, but I read that quality of Chinese stainless steel was not up to Japanese quality until fairly late.
I believe that there must be a reason for some top brand watches that are sold for many times price to a similar Chinese one. These must have used much better materials.
 

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In general, it is a long process of development from importing key components, parts, materials, to locally sourced and made parts and meterials, and then to exporting some parts ( for example, jewels) to foreign watch makers. So it depends on what time period your are referring to. In the very early years, you may find Swiss parts in some Chinese watches (early Shanghai A581s for example), or later Shanghai 7120 model watches with all China made parts that are comparable in quality to that of foreign ones, but I read that quality of Chinese stainless steel was not up to Japanese quality until fairly late.
I believe that there must be a reason for some top brand watches that are sold for many times price to a similar Chinese one. These must have used much better materials.
And yet we have movements like the SM1A-K and the ST-5 which were made in the 70s and 80s that were as well made as their Swiss counterparts. Judging by the number of these old watches that are still in circulation compared to Swiss pieces of the same era; the materials couldn't have been all that inferior...unless old Swiss watches are just considered as throw away when they stop working.
 

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...I believe that there must be a reason for some top brand watches that are sold for many times price to a similar Chinese one. These must have used much better materials.
I keep going back and forth on that hypothesis. :)

Some days I agree, and other days I think it's just marketing. (Can apply to almost anything, I think.)
 

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Materials isn't everything... Under the right circumstances, any type of stainless steel can be made to rust, for example.

Build quality is likely to be very similar in both cases, but the Chinese usually lack quality control. Older machinery, or poorly maintained one, low tolerances on parts can all lead to poor fitment and thus poor functioning of all moving parts. If a machine has become unadjusted through use, and nobody bothers to verify the parts it puts out are up to snuff, those parts will find their way in many, many timepieces, which will fail prematurely or run poorly.

I think one needs to look at the whole picture, from design to final assembly, to actually see the supposed "swiss quality".
 
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