While a lot of Swiss watch companies are more or less household names, that isn’t true of Chinese watch manufacturers. There are good ones and not so good ones, and chances are you haven’t heard of any of them.
That’s because the Chinese watch industry is having a rebirth and many of the companies making watches in China, even the big ones, aren’t yet that old. One good example is Parnis.
Parnis makes watches for consumers as well as movements used in other brands. The company was founded in 2005 by three people with a long history of manufacturing and marketing. They wanted to create a high quality watch brand that could still be sold at a favorable price point.
Parnis has done well that way, and today they make a number of different models in automatic, manual-wound, and quartz styles. Most are surprisingly affordable; the company’s brand has models that start at U.S. $129. For that price, you get either a Japanese Miyota or Chinese Seagull movement, a 316L stainless steel case, and sapphire crystal. You also get good water resistance, which is not often found in Chinese watches.
Styling of Parnis watches seems to be inspired by traditional Swiss designs, so you’ll see styles that look familiar to you if you’ve been shopping for Swiss watches. A few of their models seem inspired by Rolex and others by Breitling. Most of the designs seem to be aimed at men, though you might see a few unisex models among the company’s offerings.
You’ll find some good features inside Parnis watches, too. Aside from the good build quality, you’ll find models with calendars that show the month, date, and day of the week. At first glance, you might think that the watch was a chronograph, though Parnis offers those, too.
Many of their mechanical models offer a power reserve indicator, so that you can see how much longer the watch is likely to run before it needs more movement or rewinding.
Unlike most watches from China, Parnis watches also offer a good warranty – in fact, most are sold with a warranty of 24 months from the date of purchase, which is a very good warranty and is quite unusual for Chinese brands. Many of the lesser brands from China do not come with a warranty at all.
It is nice to see well-built, attractive watches with nice features that are sold for prices that range in the hundreds of dollars, rather than in the thousands. Admittedly, there is no luxury in Parnis models. They all have stainless steel cases and they do not yet sell models with gold cases or with diamonds embedded in them.
I also have not yet seen a tourbillon in any of their models, though those may come at a later date. As I have mentioned before, a tourbillon is a very popular feature to include in watches from China, and many of the better brands include them.
Still, if you are looking for an attractive mechanical watch that looks good, comes with a good warranty and includes some nice features, you might want to look at Parnis watches.