in China, China visit #3, Post #4 - covering June 13th/2014...
the Yantai Polaris (Beijixing) Watch and clock factory, and a second
Yantai Polaris production facility,
Lishida Clock of Yantai, and
the Yantai Messica Timepiece Company
of June 13th, after a good breakfast at the hotel, Li Wei, Mr. Zheng and I
started our day's touring at the Polaris/Beijixing main facility for a
visit to the watch and clock store at the same location. The busy plan for
the day was to then head to a second Beijixing/Polaris facility, followed
by visits to a couple of smaller but significant Yantai clock
manufacturers, before heading to the airport for my 4:00 PM flight to
Shijiazhuang so I could spend a few days with my brother MaRong.
is a clock heavy post with little watch content. As I mentioned, the China
Horologe Association plan for my time in China was to include visits to
clock as well as watch manufacturers both to reflect the full meaning of
horology, but also to provide me with a much more comprehensive
understanding of the entire Chinese timepiece industry. I'm grateful for
the opportunity and I'm happy to pass on what I saw and leaned. I hope
that folks who might not be that interested in clocks wil still enjoy the
Beijixing/Polaris main factory, main entrance...
photos from the store:
followed by a trip out to an industrial suburb about 3/4 of an hour from
the downtown Yantai location to see one of Beijixing/Polaris's suburban
secondary facilities, the place where the Company makes and assembles many
of it's own in-house clock movements.
I took the
opportunity to capture some shots of Yantai itself, away from the beach
area. It's a pretty city.
into the complex, noting the older bus and the stone marker. The bus was
Polaris/Beijixing's first employee bus, and it's still used occasionally.
following are photos of the production facilty at a decidedly non=busy
time of day. Most workers were grabbing a morning break. Still, it's
obvious that making and assembling these movements is a skilled industrial
process including with lots of hands-on assembly of the finished parts.
This is a
similar movement to the one seen in Mr. Li's Tianjin shop, with one major
difference. In this -- and in most clocks that look like this -- the
alternating plate is for show but has no effect on the actual movement. As
I noted previously, slotted alternating plate movements are brutally hard
to keep accurate as any temperature fluctuation changes the travel length
for the ball, which is what would set he mechanism's timing...if it was
another movement, out of the case...
numerous examples of other mechanical clocks produced by Polaris/
The next two
photograpsh are pf an older "Guangzhou clock", kept here for reference.
four photos are of Polaris/Beijixing's spectacular 100th Anniversary
Limited Edition clock with high quality enamal that's rife with Chinese
symbolism, and with a remarkable rotating movement section at the top,
designed specifically for this clock alone with mechanically bowing chubby
babies, a classic Chinese sign of good fortune. I've seen the internal
rotating mechanism for the top section and it's ingenious and beautifully
crafted, but it's design is also a company secret so it can't be shown
was the Meishijia/Yantai Messica Timepiece Co., Ltd (a smaller than
Beijixing, but important, Yantai clock manufacturer) in the Fushan
District of Yantai. There was lots of hands on work to be seen.
Who can read
Meishijia/Yantai Messica Timepiece Co.facility is also home to a small but
carefully assembled collection of vintage clocks, so here's a few of them.
The folks at
Meishijia/yantai Messica Timepiece Co.very kindly provided us with lunch
at a local eatery, complete with toasts and lots of good humour.
however, was running short as I had only about an hour or so left before I
had to head to the airport to catch my plane to Shijiazhuang. That still
left time for a final and quick business visit, this time to the kind
folks at Leshida Clock, another smaller manufacturer of quality clocks.
was jaw-dropping, especially with the number of mid-sized and wall clocks
as well as the numerous floor-standing models. Unfortunately I had no time
to visit the production facilities of Yeshida as
But time had
run out and it was time to head to the airport. I was only a few hours
away from finally seeing my brother MaRong and his wife in Shijiazhuang,
and it had been a year to too long.