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Made in China? Butch

plain text winter

Field Tests: No-name watches, bargains & watch special offers

As a lawyer and watch collector I understand very well why TrustedWatch don't wish to report about some watch brands – however, as a columnist I am allowed to do this.

Currently I am conducting a "field test", in which I consciously buy reasonably-priced automatic watches by auction. Famous name brands are listed, and the shops make countless promises – we intend to see whether these promises are being kept.

I begin with a watch, purchased at auction, which is produced by a watch manufacturer called Rothenschild. The model bears the name "Crusader" – which, in view of its weight, gives rise to an interesting hypothesis. It's so heavy that one would only wish the watch to be worn by one's enemy, hoping that he may injure himself with it. On Amazon, this model is currently selling for a price of 289.95 euros – the supposed original purchase price of 544.00 euros is crossed out. And just for your amusement: This watch is also on offer under the Scandinavian-sounding name of Astboerg at about 0.95 cents cheaper, for exactly 289 euros. It claims to incorporate the "Megalock" system, for which Astboerg apparently even own a copyright.

Note: Names are basically a diversionary tactic – it’s most probable that the country of origin of this particular chronograph is China.
I purchased the used watch for a little more than 70 euros and have ascertained the following:

The automatic movement (with open balance wheel) works – well, at least that’s something!

I don't really wish to report on the watch's operation – I don't really expect there to be anything here which remotely resembles a chronometer.

The connections of the different parts of the bezel have obviously been processed cheaply – the countersunk screws are partially damaged.

Though the "large date" is readable, the figures are not correctly positioned in the windows. 
The leather wristband is relatively good – here the skin of a dead cow has been mutated by means of a pressure stamp to look like a (still dead) crocodile.

The matted butterfly catch also fulfils its function.

Those who love a remarkable watch may be able to make do with such a calibre – but whether the watch is worth 544.00 euros or just 300.00 euros, you'll have to decide for yourself.

The experiment continues with a full calendar by the manufacturer "Feinwerk" – who still print "Germany" under their name on the dial. I also bought this watch at an online auction for approximately 80 euros – the shop delivered it promptly. The watch that was delivered really does have all of its advertised functions (the year is indicated, as is the month, the weekday and the date – the hand of the 24 hour display is connected to a disc symbolising day and night in a window design).

But the watch isn't suitable for passing on down as an heirloom – those who wanted to acquire the watch before 2007 wouldn't have been able to view the year because it can't be indicated, and wearers who wish to wear it after 2018 will also have the same problem, making it worthless. I myself own a full calendar by IWC (Da Vinci) and I know that such a watch is ideal to leave as an heirloom – with this one, it will have to go to the repairer's in the year 2199 to have the date changed, as far as I can remember. Up until this date the year is indicated mechanically and reliably. If one turns the "Feinwerk" over, one sees a simple movement through the glass, and can see an engraving which reads "Limited Edition“. The watch is supposedly guaranteed water resistant to 5 atmospheres, but I don't think I'll put it to the test. The leather wristband is rough and badly manufactured – the (unprotected) folding clasp looks "cheap", and it is. This impression is regrettably confirmed when wearing the watch due to the convex glass and polished bezel, as well as the fact that the "rose-gold coloured" case looks like copper.

But like every good columnist, I’ll keep my opinions to myself and register this example under the heading “Those who think it looks good should wear it!”