The better-known Chinese watchmaking companies usually engage in mass production, and sell to both the public and to other watchmaking companies. Seagull, also known as Sea-Gull, for instance, produces one quarter of all of the watch movements made in the world.
While many of the mass-produced movements go into inexpensive, mass-market watches, a few of the companies that offer movements on an OEM basis also work with small shops that produce limited edition, high quality watches.
Perpetual Watch is one such company. This Chinese watchmaker is small, and has only four employees. With such a small company, they do not design their own movements. Instead, they buy high quality movements from other manufacturers and install them in watches of their own design.
This way, they can offer a quality watch in limited editions at a fair price without the high overhead that comes with designing movements in-house.
The company tests all of their movements thoroughly, and those that do not meet the minimum acceptable standard of being accurate to +/- 15 seconds per day are discarded.
Though they are a small company, Perpetual Watch is able to offer mechanical watches with an automatic movement, sapphire crystal, and 30 meters of water resistance, complete with free shipping, at prices that would shock most buyers who are accustomed to seeing sky-high price tags on the popular Swiss watches.
The SC-01, for instance, includes an automatic movement, a case made from 316L stainless steel, sapphire crystal and even a transparent case back. All of this is offered for less than U.S. $200, which is quite a low price.
The watches sold by Perpetual Watch are limited editions and they do sell out. They also require that you preorder, as the watches are likely manufactured on an as-needed basis.
Recent models included the PR-01, an automatic watch with a power reserve indicator, which quickly sold out.
Other current models include a chronograph that also has a moon phase indicator as well as a small seconds dial and the date.
Perpetual Watch also has made several models that include a tourbillon, which has now become something that Chinese watch companies feel that they have to include in their product line. That they make a watch with a tourbillon is not unusual. What is unusual is that they make one that sells for only $1500 or so.
That particular model includes sapphire crystal, a 41mm 316L stainless steel case, and a 25 jewel manually wound mechanical movement.
Perpetual Watch also provides a two year warranty and a 7 day money back guarantee.
It’s nice to see some small companies entering the watch market from China that are making some good quality mechanical watches. Most of the Chinese watches that the public sees are low-quality quartz models that sell for just a few dollars.
Those watches are just fine, for what they are, but when you see so many inexpensive plastic watches on the market, it is easy to forget that there are also companies that work hard to produce a good quality watch at a reasonable price.