As far as these pages are concerned, any watches made in China and any dependencies come under this heading. The Chinese watch industry produces large quantities of inexpensive movements of various types and has also made watches for it's domestic market for many years. Some of these manage to make it out of China, usually via Hong Kong or Singapore, and can represent an interesting buy for the watch collector.
Very much cheaply mass-produced items, but cheap as a bag of fish and chips, even with transport costs figured in. Note though, you may get "caught" by Customs Duty on occasion!
One or two makers are establishing a worthy reputation as suppliers of exceptionally good value pieces, notably Alpha, with a range of Submariner and other look-a-likes, now becoming very popular amongst collectors, size, colours and weights are very good, but longevity and reliability remain to be seen. I hold one of these, the Blue Alpha further down the page below, and likely will source more, they really are great value for the money.
SEAGULL Automatic (above Left)
A recent NEW purchase from Hong Kong, Goldtone and Stainless finish, complete with SS/Goldtone bracelet. Automatic Movement. Dial Champagne, signed SEAGULL with logo and signed on rear with Seagull, engraved logo, Water Resistant. Stainless Steel Screw back. Excellent time keeping. Watch is substantial, bracelet thin and spoils the item, but is original. In 2007, less than £13.00, delivered in 11 days. Makes an excellent everyday watch. Movement ? (back not removed yet) 40mm inc Crown, 20mm lugs, 40mm lug tip to lug tip, 12mm thick. Weight 83g inc Bracelet.
Shanghai Watch Factory
Classic dress watch design from around the 80's. Small supplies of NOS are trickling through the marketplace, priced ar ound £8.00 ($16.00) delivered in 2007! Gold or Chrome. Screw Back. Dial signed, China Made at 6 0'clock position, and Shanghai in English and Chinese character. Back signed Shanghai Watch Factory. Date in red, red spot sweep seconds hand. Dial is off white towards cream. Movement - 19 jewel Shock Resist. Signed 19j. (Dust cover inside, pull out stem to remove) 38mm inc crown, 18mm lugs, 44mm lug tip to lug tip, 11mm thick. Weight 42g with strap.
Alpha 1993 Watches
As you can see, very much a homage to the Submariner (Rolex) design. There are various colours of this design, including Black obviously. The watch is substantial, and the bracelet likewise, in all, a very creditable effort to reproduce the Submariner design at an affordable, and everyday price. These watches are available in the UK delivered for around £30.00 or less direct from the makers website, that's as little as $60.00 each. Dial and Crown are signed "Alpha", on the crown using the Greek letter Alpha, as is the bracelet. The bracelet uses screw pins (as per the Rolly design), these need to be checked for tightness occasionally, or perhaps tightened with a locking fluid in place. I've never had a problem, but I did take out a link and tighten all the screws when I received the piece.
The dial on this example is a Bright Blue with matching bezel, the bezel "correctly sets" using 120 clicks anti-clockwise only. Screw down Crown, hacking movement, quickset date. I WILL undoubtedly buy another example - or two - or more! GMT and Daytona versions plus others (Monsters) are also available from the makers. Movement - unknown (you need a Rolex type back tool to open the case!) Automatic, Water Resist 3 atm. 44mm inc Crown. 20mm lugs. 48mm lug tip to lug tip, 13mm thick. Weight 127g inc. bracelet
Alpha 1993 Explorer
Once again, a very obvious homage to an iconic watch. This example has a dark blue dial. The whole watch is substantially made and well finished. Again, the watch has a Rolex type screw back, and the dial, screw down crown, backplate and bracelet are all signed Alpha (again using the Greek letter). I admit that I like it. This watch came to me as a purchase from a fellow Watch Forum member, and is currently an excellent timekeeper. Movement - unknown (again, you need a Rolex type back tool to open the case!) Automatic Water Resist 3atm. 38mm inc Crown. 20mm lugs. 44mm lug tip to lug tip. 12mm thick. Weight is around 97g inc. bracelet. All Stainless Steel.