in China, China visit #3, Post #8 - covering June 24th/2014... China Haidian, Zhuhai Rossini, Ebohr, Corum, Eterna, Rotary
anyone wants watch content, and maybe a bit less of this touristy stuff,
today's yer day with a visit to the ZhuHai Rossini Watch Industry Ltd.
factory in very scenic Zhuhai...Back in the horological deep end :-)
warning: Here's 197 photos, taken in a single day that started in
Guangzhou, June 24th...two days before the Shenzen Watch and Clock
Fair...that took us to tropical ZhuHai, on the coast, the home of the
Rossini, and then back to Guangzhou for dinner and an evening...lighting
show (you'll see) before the day ended.
owned by Hong-Kong listed China Haidian Holdings (now Citychamp Watch &
Jewelery Group as of May 2014), got its start when a Swiss company opened
a manufacturing facility in Singapore to build watch cases. In 1984 that
factory was bought out and moved to a brand new facilty in Zhuhai, in the
first Sino-foreign joint (HK/China) venture of the Chinese watch industry.
Rossini branded watch was built in 1985, and the company now produces
nearly 1 million watches a year. There's an on-site production facility
staff of 500 people, and 2000 sales personnel in Company retail branches
throughout the country.
Haidian/Citychamp Watch & Jewelery Group owns the Chinese brands Rossini
and Ebohr, and now also owns the Swiss brands Corum (2013) and Eterna
(2011) as well as Rotary, Dreyfuss & Co and J&T Windmills. Although
Rossini no longer holds the licence for Porsche Design, it's Swiss arm
still provides movements for that brand.)
and Ebohr brands are major players in the Chinese domestic watch market,
both very much targeting mid to higher-end style-conscious demographics,
but producing watches that range from a hundred or so RMB to RMB 110,000
(domestic tourbillon, 18k, patent pending clamshell case with interior
carved coins and dragons pattern circled by 25 diamonds, 2-week and 24 hr.
retrograde, limited to 60 pieces). Many pieces in the RMB 5000-10,000
range (USD 800-1600).
and I took the train from Guangzhou to very scenic ZhuHai on the morning
of the 24th, overcast but still very, very warm and humid, 40 and 90%.
Takes some getting used to, but it's not awful.
Guangzhou train station was modern, spotlessly clean and beautiful. The
ride was comfortable and we arrived in Zhuhai about half an hour later...
border photos courtesy and credit: LiWei)
grabbed a cab to take us from the train station to the Rossini facilities.
Here's what I can show you of obviously beautiful ZhuHai from the taxicab
rain for about four minutes as we approached the Rossini compound, which
comprises three buildings, the museum/executive/administration wing, the
production wing, and the staff/housing/dining wing.
The rain had
stopped by the time we got out of the cab.
facilities are pristine, inside and out.
taken from the security entrance to meet our guide for the first part of
the morning, and taken to the Rossini horological museum. The water clock
in the museum is the oldest known water clock in China, which makes it the
oldest known water clock in the world.
side-note: Industrial tourism is very popular in China, and the
museum is a noted ZhuHai destination. You may have noticed by now that
it's not just Sea-Gull that has a museum. The more factories I visit, the
more it is evident to me that business-built museums and collections are
wonderfully commonplace, and that keeping historical collections is a
cultural aspect of doing business in China. Even smaller businesses
proudly display small but significant industry-relevant artifacts to
visitors, as I've noted in past posts.)
impressed that the museum gave appreciative nods to horology around the
world, very generously acknowledging western contributions, both historic
the museum tour, we were introduced to Ms. Tina Luo of the overseas
department at Rossini (green utfit) and soon after allowed to view a
not-normally-public section of the museum that houses some higher end
pieces from around the world, and is also used as a showcase for Eterna/Porsche
Design and Corum products.
there, we walked the display concourse to the production building,
stopping along the way for a modeling session ;-)
advise taking the time to read the posters. They're an education in watch
production, and also very informative in understanding this company's
current, and possibly future, place the world market.
was the staff/housing/dining wing where we were invited for a wonderful
afternoon lunch. We were proudly informed that what we were eating was the
normal daily lunch provided to staff, and that all of the vegetables were
grown pesticide free by the company on adjacent company land.
The food and
the hospitality was awesome. Can't say enough about how kindly we were
treated at Rossini.
were fortunate to all see each other again in Shenzen.
driven to a local train station, for a ride back to Guangzhou. It was
approaching evening. Here's the view from second floor of the train
station, and the track level...
of the ride back to Guangzhou to downtown...
took a cab to dinner.
friendly and very social -- and delicious -- and Mr. Ha showed some of
this collection of packet watches...and a Hublot (Big Bang Yacht Club de
Monaco Tuiga, Limited Edition 250 PCS). There's some beauty antiques comin'
Mr. Ha was
generous enough to tke us to a downtown open court area that was
beautifully lit...and home to, among other architectural delicacies, the
Canton Tower, stands at 600m, 1,969 ft tall. It is the tallest structure
in China and the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world.
Since I saw
it at night, I didn't really *get* the actual height of the canton Tower,
till I looked it up and found this photo of it being built at Wikimedia...that's
I'm going to end this with a pointer to another article on
another website: Europa Star,
where they talk about Eterna (owned by Rossini/China Haidian), and where
it's headed now, under this ownership.
is Bruno Jufer, the CEO of Eterna. Go there for all the details, but I
noticed this...since lots of bespoke and micro brands are looking for an
builds the Calibre 39 in-house movement, offering 88 different
CEO Jufer explained:
\"And by this I do not mean additional plates. The base plate has been
designed to accommodate all these different configurations (see box)
“modular” Calibre 39 is a movement with 88 different configurations, all
integrated. There are two basic possibilities to start with:
self-winding, with central hours and minutes and small seconds, or
manual winding. From there, you can include a power reserve, GMT, moon
phase etc. right up to an integrated column-wheel chronograph, with
date, small seconds, hour, minute, instantaneous co-axial chronograph,
flyback, 68 hours power reserve!
Merdanovic, vice-president and technical director, explains that this is
a real “Lego system: the modules are pre-assembled and you just need two
or three screws to install them. Four years of development were required
and more than 10 million Swiss francs of investment with the total
support of China Haidian. The idea is to be able to make this movement
available to third parties and to turn this mass production into a
veritable profit centre under the name Eterna Movement Company AG. The
high-level of industrialisation of this movement allows us to offer it
at prices that are very attractive given its great qualities: 350 Swiss
francs for all the different configurations, with the exception of the
integrated chronograph, which will be sold for around 700 Swiss francs.
It’s a bet on the long term because it is destined to be produced in
volume, up to 100,000 units.”
come...Guangzhou Watch Factory, an OEM dial-making facility, and the
Opening Dinner of the 2014 - 25th annual Shenzen Watch and Clock Fair.