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Watches and their sub brands

by Michael Weare
17 October, 2011
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Hash-Brown-Burger

One of the joys of living in the Far East is that you get infinite variety. Unlike British high streets which tend to offer exactly the same stores selling exactly the same products the length and breadth of Britain, when you walk into a mall in the Philippines you just never know what you’re going to find. Having said that, one thing you will definitely find is a Jollibee restaurant.

Jollibee is the McDonalds of the Philippines. It serves burgers with fries, but more usually with rice. And recently they have released their tastiest burger yet. The Hash Brown Burger. It’s so popular there is at least a 20 minute waiting time to get your hands on one. People are walking out of Jollibee with orders of a dozen or more Hash Brown Burgers. They’re better than anything McDonalds has ever dreamed up.

Of course this has absolutely nothing to do with watches, save to say that the Jollibee from where I order my Hash Brown Burgers has next door to it a watch shop full of brands you rarely hear about in the West and it makes for fascinating browsing while waiting for the tasty HBB’s.

While Click Tempus and the vast majority of watch oriented blogs and magazines devote acres of coverage to top end Swiss watches, the fact remains that 99% of the world population cannot afford a Swiss watch. In fact millions upon millions of people in developing nations can’t afford a Seiko, a Citizen or even a Casio. Realising this, Japanese watchmaking behemoths such as Seiko and Citizen long ago created sub brands so as not to lose out on this vast market.

So it’s not unusual in Asia to have an opulent Rolex showroom sitting right next door to a store selling these kind of brands:

Q&Q

Q&Q Watches

Q&Q is manufactured by Japan CBM Corporation which is part of Citizen Holdings, and is the world’s largest producer of analogue watches. The vast majority of their watches are fitted with Miyota quartz movements, providing accurate time telling long after the owner has tired of the watch. Q&Q churn out every kind of watch from fashion styles to sports, to Swiss lookalikes to ‘top end’ Grandeux watches. And the key to the vast collection is constant change to reflect new styles as they start to trend. You can pick up a gents Q&Q watch for as little as $15, and it will be every bit as reliable as a Citizen watch.

Alba

Alba Watches

Alba was founded in 1979 as a sub brand of Seiko. The watches are designed to create aspirations among buyers to move up to Seiko as the career ladder is climbed. Like Q&Q, its watches echo the fashions of much more expensive models to give you chic and style on a budget. The movements are of course reliable Seiko quartz, so once again, long after the style of the watch is outmoded, the timepiece will sit in a drawer and be more reliable than some of the top end Swiss automatics.

Orient Watches

Orient Automatic

Of course Orient has been well and truly discovered outside of Asia but is nonetheless an extremely popular brand in this part of the world. Founded in Tokyo in July 1950, the brand has been a subsidiary of the Seiko Epson Corporation since 2001. The company produces both quartz and mechanical watches. Throughout its 60 year history, Orient has contributed several technological advances in watch making efficiency such as the development of power-reserve indicators and use of in-house movement production of watches in the $100 price range. With Orient you always get a lot of watch for your money.

M.O.A.

M.O.A.

For Rolex wannabes, of which there are many thousands throughout Asia, there is a newish brand called M.O.A (Master of Art) It’s part of UniSilver Time, these watches are made in Japan and are fitted with Japanese quartz movements. A watch such as the one pictured will set you back around $80. For many that’s more than a week’s pay so it’s quite a substantial investment. This is what UniSilver has to say about the brand: ‘MOA is the ultimate symbol of elegance and superiority. Its image reflects sophistication and innovation in a wealthy fashion. It is the perfect timepiece for distinguished professionals. MOA is simply not a watch, it is a Masterpiece, an epitome of time excellence.’ So now you know.

The Alibaba watch

Chinese Christopher Ward Trident Pro copies

This is the future of watchmaking, Chinese style. Pick a brand, pick a model, and a Chinese factory will make you faithful lookalikes fitted with Japanese quartz or Swiss automatic movements. Make your minimum order quantity, insert your brand name and you have your own line of watches to sell online – they’ll even dropship them for you so you don’t have to bother with bribing customs to let them into the country in large quantities.

Pictured is a dead ringer for a Christopher Ward Trident Pro complete with a trident pronged second hand, except this one is fitted with a Japanese quartz movement.

Unlike Switzerland, where the Swatch Group is soon to curtail the supply of parts and movements, Japan will happily ship all kinds of movements by the container load. If you’re not happy with the price, move on to the next one, there are over 383,000 suppliers on Alibaba right now and it’s still early days. You can be up and running with your own brand inside of a week, selling watches like, well like Hash Brown Burgers.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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