I Want a New Watch
Collectors are looking for watches that are the best and the finest that technology and jewelry can offer. There are countless gorgeous creations available today, particularly among Swiss wristwatches, which offer features and looks not available before, at prices not seen before. Most collectors, can afford one or two of the more expensive watches, and then look for more affordable watches to collect. The truth is that there are many affordable watches today that offer as much pleasure to the collector as the expensive watches. That is why I want to dedicate this page to affordable but fun watches.
Anyone looking for a low-cost mechanical watch might consider a new Gruen automatic watch instead. My watch required adjustment as it ran fast by thirty seconds per day, but the micrometric regulator made this relatively easy. Now it runs about three to four seconds slow per day, as accurate as I have seen in any mechanical wristwatch I have worn (including Seiko, Bucherer, Tissot, Omega, and Rolex). The mechanism is an ETA 2824 with 25 jewels. The automatic rotor has ball bearings, which are visible through the crystal on the back of the watch. These Gruen watches sell on Ebay for about $100. At this price, every watch collector should have one! Look for one with a white dial, which is easier to see, and a stainless steel band, which is more durable. Do a search on Ebay under "gruen 2824." It is no longer necessary to spend a lot of money to buy a fine quality watch. It is the best value I have seen in a new watch in the last twenty years!
Another watch to consider is the Seiko "5" automatic watch. For a slightly lower price, you could get a 21-jewel automatic Seiko with day and date. Seiko USA does not import these watches into the United States, but they are available in many other parts of the world, especially in areas where batteries for quartz watches are difficult to find. Look for a Seiko that says "automatic" and "21 jewels" on its dial. Avoid all others. For a small increase in cost, consider the Seiko S-Wave. The metal band is higher quality, with a better finish. The mechanism is the same, but it is visible in the back of these watches, a nice feature. They are available with dials in several colors. I got one with a black dial. Here are three photos I found on the internet and edited for this page. You can find them on Ebay: just do a search under "seiko wave" and look for one with a metal band (as these represent better value).
Having read a lot of positive and negative comments about the new Chinese mechanical watches, I decided the only way to judge for myself would be to get one from Ebay. Below is a skeleton watch from IKColouring. You can also find other styles of IKColouring watches on Ebay. I removed the partial dial to make more of the mechanism visible, and painted the hands white to make it easier to see the time. It is a fun watch to wear and keeps reasonable time, to about twenty seconds per day.
The biggest disadvantage in the Chinese watches that I could think of is the availability of parts. However, since it is now so much more difficult to find parts for Swiss watches than it used to be, I do not consider the Chinese watches to be at a relative disadvantage here. Below is a Romilly in a stainless steel case. The automatic rotor has ball bearings. Everything appears to be well made. The power reserve feature is terrific. Every watch should have one! The only problem I have had with this watch is that the crystal on the back of the watch was not properly sealed, so I had to apply crystal cement. These chinese watches should not be considered to be water resistant. This watch keeps unexpectedly good time, with an error of only about seven seconds per day.
Here is another Romilly with a visible escapement and a power reserve indicator in a very nice-looking watch!
Here is a Rousseau, as if it were of French origin, with a visible escapement, plus the day, date, month, and year. It is an attractive watch but the features are too small to read easily.