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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A recent article on Worldtem**** begins,

Mao Zedong wore one; Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai, too. Shanghai brand watches were for decades a status symbol among China's Communist Party elites before they were elbowed aside in the 1980s by Swiss and other foreign luxury imports. Now, Shanghai is planning a comeback, with a little help from Hong Kong and Swiss friends.

With a new marketing structure, a new logo by the Hong Kong master designer Tommy Li - the old Chinese characters for Shanghai have been replaced by a stylized triangular representation of the Shanghai skyline - and a new dial, designed by the Swiss watch designer Eric Giroud, Shanghai is readying a bid to reclaim its fame.

Giroud is a rising independent designer who recently worked on the HM1 watch for Maximilian B眉sser & Friends. His design for the Harry Winston Tourbillon Glissi猫re won the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Gen猫ve this year in the Technical Watch category.

He has just completed the design for the dial of an enlarged Shanghai watch case, which should be unveiled early next year, and is working on a case and dial for a second new watch for the company.


Rather then get in trouble for posting a link that might have watches on them.........:sneaky2:




Mao Zedong wore one; Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai, too. Shanghai brand watches were for decades a status symbol among China's Communist Party elites before they were elbowed aside in the 1980s by Swiss and other foreign luxury imports. Now, Shanghai is planning a comeback, with a little help from Hong Kong and Swiss friends.

With a new marketing structure, a new logo by the Hong Kong master designer Tommy Li - the old Chinese characters for Shanghai have been replaced by a stylized triangular representation of the Shanghai skyline - and a new dial, designed by the Swiss watch designer Eric Giroud, Shanghai is readying a bid to reclaim its fame.

Giroud is a rising independent designer who recently worked on the HM1 watch for Maximilian B眉sser & Friends. His design for the Harry Winston Tourbillon Glissi猫re won the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Gen猫ve this year in the Technical Watch category.

He has just completed the design for the dial of an enlarged Shanghai watch case, which should be unveiled early next year, and is working on a case and dial for a second new watch for the company.

"They are very serious about wanting to make a mark at the international level," said Carson Chan, managing director and watch specialist at Bonhams, Hong Kong. On Nov. 24, Bonhams auctioned Shanghai's first Orbital Tourbillon, which features a twin spring barrel providing up to 72 hours of power reserve, as well as a flying tourbillon - a cantilevered design that is one of the most intricate and difficult to create - with a balance wheel that oscillates at a rate of six times a second. The watch sold for 500,000 Hong Kong dollars, or $64,200, with the proceeds going to the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation.

Set up in 1955, the state-owned company is credited with developing and producing the first Chinese mechanical watch.

"In the '60s and '70s, people had a real hunger for these watches because of the limited supply. At the time, you couldn't buy a watch without a government-issued coupon, and it was not easy to get one," said Leonora Yung, president of Shanghai Nationwide Treasure Watch, a joint venture incorporated in 2004 and owned by Shanghai Watch and Yung. "Such a watch was a symbol of status. No girl would even marry you if you did not have a watch coupon or a Shanghai watch."

Yung herself was born into that elite, inheriting her love of watches, she said, from her father Yung Hongren - brother of Rong Yiren, dubbed China's first communist tycoon and vice president of China from 1993 to 1998 - who at one point owned a collection of more than 50 of the hard-to-come-by timepieces.

In the 1970s, a Shanghai watch typically cost around 120 yuan - or $272 at the then-official exchange rate that valued a dollar at 2.267 yuan - compared with an average monthly income of 36 yuan. But in the 1980s, the company ramped up production and held down prices to meet broad demand - and in the process, despite technical improvements, lost its exclusive franchise to foreign rivals.

Today, the company, still partly owned by the government, continues to mass-produce inexpensive watches. But Shanghai Nationwide aims, with its high-end line of grand complication models, to set itself apart from other Chinese brands like Rossini, Seagull or Five Star.

According to a recent report in the semiofficial China Business News newspaper, Chinese-branded watches account for 70 percent of the domestic market by volume, but high-end foreign watches account for 70 percent of sales value. Chinese industry data show that domestic factories produced some 870 million watches in 2005, or about 70 percent of annual world output, for sale under Chinese or foreign brand names.

Chinese manufacturers have even been making low-priced tourbillon mechanisms since the 1990s.

"It is a fact that many top-end watches being made today carry some kind of component made in China," Chan of Bonhams said. "This means China's workmanship is rising to international levels. It is just a matter of time before a Chinese brand attains international awareness."

Yung intends that brand to be Shanghai.

"We're planning to concentrate on Tourbillon at first and produce only a few hundred pieces a year, focusing on workmanship and crafts," she said. "Shanghai watch will be in the high-end market segment and become a leading brand in China. The brand will be targeting innovation and technology as the main goal. We believe this will appeal to many watch collectors, who just want a quality product and don't really care where it is being made."

International Herald Tribune / Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop / www.iht.com
 

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"We're planning to concentrate on Tourbillon at first and produce only a few hundred pieces a year, focusing on workmanship and crafts," she said. "Shanghai watch will be in the high-end market segment and become a leading brand in China. The brand will be targeting innovation and technology as the main goal. We believe this will appeal to many watch collectors, who just want a quality product and don't really care where it is being made." International Herald Tribune / Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop / www.iht.com
Not sure I agree with this assessment. Particularly when it comes to Chinese movements. At least right now.
 

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I'd like to see it before I make any opinion.

No one does their manufacturing in China right now because Chinese made goods are the best quality. They manufacturer there for the lowest cost, with the most loose pollution standards, and no need to provide benefits to workers. There is a similar situation in India for services.

Still, it would be fun to see where they place their stake in watch world.
 

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My father had one from his college days, and it lasted him for 25 years without a single servicing. This particular brand is special, and shouldn't be associated with the pile of garbage that constitutes the majority of chinese watchmaking.
 

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My father had one from his college days, and it lasted him for 25 years without a single servicing. This particular brand is special, and shouldn't be associated with the pile of garbage that constitutes the majority of chinese watchmaking.
Thanks for the first-hand insight, Wally.
That watch wouldn't still be kicking around, would it?
I'd love to see photos.
And there arose a mighty cry from the people:

"PICTURES PICTURES, POST THOSE PICTURES....."

seriously, would be great to see some if available.
:biggrin:
 

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This link should show what their offerings are now or perhaps in the past. I'm not really sure.

Look at the URL. I think that's good for a laugh.

http://www.shwatch-clock.com/english/products_b.htm

Maybe their motto could be:

The watch worn by the most prolific mass-murderer in human history--Mao Zedong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Clones and knockoffs. Not terribly impressed at this point.
Thanks for the link, grady


check out the auction site and type in the shanghai name. Some older watches with interesting artwork.:laugh:
 

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Hi Guys,

I just asked my dad about his Shanghai, and he said it finally broke last year. He was working in his lab and noticed it suddenly stopped ticking one day. Apparently, the water resistance finally gave out after being neglected for so long.... Preferring not to use foreign parts to fix the 100% Chinese-made movement (possibly the best 17-jewel movement in the history of Chinese mass-production watchmaking). Since that Shanghai keeled over, my dad's been wearing Titoni exclusively.

I'll try to snap a photo of the watch next time I'm home from school. From my understanding, although authentic Shanghais were the most expensive Chinese-made watches produced in that era, they've always been relatively affordable to compared to high-end Swiss brand. However, since Shanghai is somewhat a quarter of a century removed from its glory days, finding an authentic vintage Shanghai could be very difficult especially due to counterfeits flooding the auction market.

@ Koi, thanks for sharing the article. it's very interesting the author began with a reference to the communist regime. My grandfather was a "party member" and as a result, my father grew up in the heart of Beijing a few blocks away from Tiananmen. I think my father got his Shanghai as a graduation present upon completing his degree at Beijing Medical. Those Shanghais were party relics indeed...
 
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