The great watchmaking nations of Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Russia and China, all have their own respective well-known movement manufacturers. Watch brands that make watch movements exclusively for use for their watches are called manufactures. These are considered to be a special breed of watchmakers have such capabilities. However, the act of using watch movements that the brand does not make themselves does not mean that such movements are inferior. In fact, many of today’s watch movements, in the majority of watches, be they outsourced or made in-house, are already established and proven to be robust and reliable.
Possibly the most famous movement makers in the industry, ETA and Valjoux from Switzerland, are known to be the dominant suppliers of watch movements, namely automatic and chronograph movements. Russian movement makers such as Poljot (with its Poljot 3133) made their mark by creating variants of famous movements from Switzerland. Similarly, in China, manufacturers such as Seagull also produce movements in similar fashion as their Russian counterparts. They say copying is the greatest form of flattery and these Russian and Chinese movements have been known to perform just as well if not better than the Swiss movements that inspired them. In fact, due to the rarity of the original Swiss mechanisms or the fact that some of these Swiss movements are no longer being produced, the Russian and Chinese movements become highly desired as well.
Picture credit : miyotamovement.com
The Japanese have been known to take a different route in producing their watch movements. The big brands such as Seiko and Citizen have their own fair share of legendary timepieces and these brands have charted their own course in the history of horology with little or no influence from their Western counterparts over the past century. One can definitely trust Seiko’s NH35 mechanical movements as well as Citizen’s Miyota movements as being durable and able to perform accurately in the toughest of situations, for the watches that they power respectively.
Taking a step back for a wider view, the diversity in the choices available for brands to power their watches ensures that the watch market remains vibrant and also provides great insight into Man’s ability to artfully measure time via mechanical means.