Double Rhomb NOS 70ies Handwind with Chinese markings
The Story of those brandnew NOS Double
Rhombs goes like this
One day in July 2002 I got really lucky. I was as usual scanning small watch shops for NOS or vintage watches. I got already lucky in that shop finding a very nice vintage EDOX on beaded bracelet from the 80ies. But there was nothing new in the vitrines, so I walked to the back of the shop and suddenly spotted a card box containing very nice classic looking Double Rhomb watches.
Since my visit to the watch and clock museum in the Forbidden City in Peking, I was familiar with that Double Rhomb brand that seems to be ubiquitous around Peking. Also a watch I bought in Xian once, featured a Double Rhomb logo on the back even the dial said Hongye.
But what really surprised me, was the quality of those watches. The watch (the watch in the middle) I had bought in Xian was really a low-end watch and the finish was really only so so.
The shop owner then told me the story of those watches and why they survived in brand new condition for over 30 years. The watch shop was earlier - during the 1930ies - very popular in Mainland China and every big town had at least one outlet. 1949 things began to change dramatically in China (The Big Leap Forward in Communist terms) was only the first step in what should become a political, economical and social reform that nobody would have thought possible. During the next decades under Communist regime and a planned economy the watch shop chain had to close one store after the other. Today there is only one shop of this once very well known shop chain left, and that shop was in Hong Kong and that was the shop I was standing in! During the closing of the shops in China, those watches in Export quality had been sent to Hong Kong and kept there in the inventory. Of course time and taste had changed too and in Hong Kong there is almost no demand for Double Rhomb watches even in Export quality from Mainland China. New Seikos, Casios and Citizens for the young, Rolex and other Swiss and Geman luxury brands for the established were huge in demand during a booming economy in the 90ies. And that boom was soon to stop after the handover to China in 1997 after the lease of the crown colony Hong Kong to be British had expired after 149 years.
Now here I was standing looking at this treasure and of course I bought as many pieces as the Thai customs would allow me to bring back home.