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The Black Watch

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  • The Black Watch

    No, not the UKs Highland Regiment, although I could tell you a lot of surprising things about them. The Black Watch is the title of one of my impulse buys.

    A while back, one of you guys, I think it was Tim, posted about a Chinese site that had some interesting watches priced a good bit under two hundred dollars. Just for the helluvit, I checked out the site and bought this one. Am I going to do it again? Probably not. The sales site, AliExpress, is a part of AliBaba, the Cinese equivalent of Google and a government enterprise with all that means. I found that out after I ordered. The Chinese government now has some of my data, which I regret. On the other hand, if I'm still on one of their lists, it's from forty years ago. Probably nothing to worry abut, but such is life. Think before you order.

    Anyhow, here it is. The pictures aren't the best, but these days I need a full setup to get a good picture. Handheld isn't doing it anymore.



    It's 42 mm wide and 15mm deep, but comfortable because it rides low on the wrist. The bezel is lumed as well as the dial, but the lume isn't all that long lasting - about normal for a five hundred dollar watch from one of the small makers. Comes with a good 22mm leather strap of a type I can't identify, but real leather because synthetic is a little more expensive in China. Quick detach spring bars, too. Actually very well made. I ordered the sterile dial on purpose. There's no engraving on the back, either. The dial says 300m WR but I wouldn't trust that simply because of where it came from. On the other hand, I don't swim or dive anymore. If I did, that's what the Pelagos is for.

    Surprise time. Build quality is absolutely excellent. The case and 120 click bezel are as good as watches costing a whole lot more. The ETA clone movement is running COSC at the moment, so it's been well regulated. Not fancy, but very comfortable and wholly satisfactory. Glad I bought it.

    Great beat around copy of an old BPFF type. Again, just what I wanted. By the way, this manufacturer isn't who Helson uses. There are minor differences and the Helson has longer lasting lume. On the other hand, Helson might contract with this company for watches made to their own specs. Examining this one, that thought isn't a knock on Helson.

    Oh, and it took five or six weeks for it to get here, probably due to the current trade kafubble.

    Now to see how long it lasts.

    Last edited by George W. Olney; 06-29-2020, 02:10 PM.
    Cardigan American Princess Celeste says, "It's too quiet. You guys get up off your butts and start doing things."

  • #2
    Very nice, George
    "So Many Watches / So Little Time"


    • #3
      I like that sterile dial a whole lot better than a Helson or "Fifty Five Fathoms" jobs I see around. Nostalgia beater at a great price.

      I need a new watch


      • #4
        Nice pick up, George! So balanced!

        They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.


        • #5
          Congrats George, it has a nice retro feel to it.

          The only watch I own that's openly chinese and funnily enough I bought it from a US military watch site (they sell military style watches, not the actual military) is actually my second most accurate mechanical watch. It doesn't have a swiss copy but rather a genuine Seiko R35 movement inside, I only know this because I had my watchmaker regulate it, unfortunately unlike yours it was running at +10s/d but is now consistently less than -1s/d. I was likewise impressed with build quality, in fact the only thing I don't like is the crappy font they used on their brand name. It's clear that these people are capable of producing high quality products and such a pity that they're held captive by a totalitarian regime. Alas, that's the world we live in.

          Last edited by Tim.; 06-30-2020, 01:48 AM.


          • #6
            Congrats, George - that is a solid looking homage - looks to be well built.


            • #7
              Think I was the one that mentioned Aliexpress, as they look similar to the Helson. I am convinced this is where his watches come from, as you can specify different specs if ordering in bulk. If I had to do it over again I would have purchased from Aliexpress instead. Nothing wrong with my Helson but I could have saved a few hundred and got the same thing. Congrats on your new watch it looks great.



              My Helson


              • #8
                Thanks for the good thoughts, guys. Ren, it might have been you that tipped me of to the AliBabba watches. I'm not totally convinced Helson uses these guys, although they apparently do use a Chinese factory. Cases are the same, although Helson has drilled through lugs. That's a separate machining operation, thus extra cost that I don't see happening if they didn't need it. Lume color's different, too. Still, who knows?

                Bottom line is that we were both looking for an inexpensive copy of a watch we liked but isn't made anymore. We each got one.

                Cardigan American Princess Celeste says, "It's too quiet. You guys get up off your butts and start doing things."