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Some less common brands from Jiangsu

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October 27, 2011 03:42PM
Jiangsu is a densely populated province in eastern China. It has been speculated that there were more than 20 watch factories in Jiangsu. I have examples from eight of them, including watches I have already posted here from Suzhou, Yangzhou, and two factories in Nanjing. The rest of my Jiangsu watches are from smaller factories, and can be difficult to find. Because of that, some of them have parts from other factories, likely replacements required at some time to keep the watches running.

This watch was one of the first VCMs I bought.

I liked the Chinese text on it, even though I had no idea what it said. I spent a significant amount of time trying to figure out what it is. It turned to be a commemorative watch. The S in the circle was the logo for the Shanghai Crane and Conveyor Works. A couple of pictures I found on the internet:

Here’s what it says (with thanks to WUS member Seele):

大力神 in Chinese literally means "the god of great strength", so it could have meant a variety of things, including Hercules, Titan, etc; it really depends on the habitual convention of the locals there. For convenience we shall just use Hercules.

The lower half of the dial says 大力神集團成立紀念 meaning "To commemorate the establishment of the Hercules Group". So it could have been an example of a batch especially made, and given to staff members and associates of the company. Underneath it says, "China, Shanghai".

…back markings: at the centre it says 大力神集團 (Hercules Group), across the top it says 上海起重運輸機械廠 (Shanghai Crane and Transport Machinery Factory). Across the bottom it says 常熟分廠製 (made by the Changshu branch factory).

Based on the back markings, the Shanghai Crane and Transport Machinery Factory became part of the Hercules Group. A search online found some information on the company: it is based in Jiangsu province, founded in 2000, so it was made at that time. It is possible that Hercules Group acquired a watch factory in Changshu…

The movement inside is marked CSZ, the Changshu Watch Factory code. It is possible the entire watch was made there, but I read on a Chinese blog the factory closed some time before 2000, so I don’t know.

All the effort I spent researching this watch had me looking at a significant number of pictures of Chinese watches, and as an unexpected side effect I developed an addiction to them. Because of that, the Dalishen commemorative is one of my favourites.

Here is the watch on a new strap, thanks to AlbertaTime's excellent suggestion.

Here is another watch from Changshu.

Changshou is an alternate spelling of Changshu.

I think it is safe to say the Shanghai crown is not original.

I think Timon was the name of Changshu Watch Factory’s export brand.

Even though there is no indication on Timon brand watches of their origin other than Jiangsu, most of the examples I have seen have either a manual CSZ movement or a German Durowe automatic movement. Unfortunately, I can’t get the back off of mine.

The quality of all three of these watches is excellent.

Next we go to Wuxi. This is a Hongdeng (red lantern), made by the Wuxi County Watch Factory. It is very unusual to name a watch factory after a county.

Some of the letters on the back are almost completely worn away. I don’t know what the numbers between the words Wuxixian and Shoubiaochang are. They don’t appear in the (2) photos I’ve seen of other Hongdeng casebacks.

The presumably incorrect crown is from nearby Suzhou, but I knew that when I bought it.

Although I’ve never seen a picture of a Hongdeng movement, the SZ1CQ marking matches what WUS moderator Soviet said is marked on the movement of his Hongdeng. He suggested the movement could have been made in Chongqing.

When I looked inside, I could see the text stamped under the balance: BA above 3SZ1A – but 3SZ1A is the code for Shanghai No. 3 Watch Factory. It is possible that this movement accumulated parts from different watches, but again I don't know.

In the north of Jiangsu is Xuzhou. This is a Huaihai from Xuzhou Watch Factory. It is possible it was recently assembled from old parts.

Once again the Shanghai Watch Factory makes an appearance with the ZSH movement:

Original or not, it is a good-looking watch which functions well.

Finally, in northeastern Jiangsu is the port city of Lianyungang. Watches from Lianyungang are not easy to find.

The crown is unmarked, and I suspect it is not original. Under the balance on the movement is a mark I’ve never seen before. I can’t tell what the first character is. After it is 8104B.

I asked a friend who lives in Lianyungang about the watch factory. He said there was one, but it closed when he was a child – he doesn’t know why.

Some less common brands from Jiangsu Jpeg Attachments URL

saskwatch387October 27, 2011 03:42PM

Man, these watches are rare and fantastic Thumbs Up (n/t)

wodo125October 30, 2011 01:56PM

Smile Thank you everyone for your very kind words! >>>

saskwatch109October 28, 2011 07:57PM

What I know is that many watch companies, watch shops and maybe small manufacturers left >>>

Reto152October 31, 2011 05:44AM

That makes sense. It could be >>>

saskwatch134November 01, 2011 12:39AM

Your posts are incredible, congratulations clapping I love the way >>> Jpeg Attachments URL

Reto148October 28, 2011 06:12AM

And here is the automatic movement I found in three other Timon watches >>> Jpeg Attachments

Reto196October 28, 2011 06:17AM

I enjoyed reading this... Thanks! Thumbs up!Thumbs up! (n/t)

Need_Omega109October 27, 2011 08:52PM

Your Lianyungang caseback is beautiful...and, Jon, it's always a real pleasure to read your...

Anonymous User157October 27, 2011 06:12PM

Wow! Cheers! (n/t)

IF118October 27, 2011 06:02PM

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