About this blog

Independent watch projects come to life when individual try to fill a void left in the watch market.

That void is sometimes caused by the lack of audacious and creative designs from conservative mainstream watch companies, but it can also be caused by the frustration of watch collectors regarding cult watches that have been discontinued and brought out of financial reach by limited availability and heavy speculation; or the need to have something unique.

On one hand there are the certified watchmakers who get their hand on vintage movement and spare parts to build one-off timepieces. On the other hand there are entrepreneurs like Ken Sato, Bill Yao and Eddie Platts who venture into a “grey” intellectual property zone (recycling elements of discarted designs) and try to keep it affordable at the same time.

This web blog aimes at providing an exhaustive list of all watch builders, independent watch projects and modification parts suppliers. We hope these pages will most of all help you enjoy the watch collecting experience and hopefully help you find that rare piece or mod part that will add up to your collection.

6 Comments

6 Responses to About this blog

  1. Don Wilson says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I have a Rolex replica that I like to wear. It’s really quite pretty and I could never afford to buy the real thing because I’m on a pension. I only wear it out in the evenings for fun. It has a Chinese movement that doesn’t keep good time and sometimes stops for no reason at all. I would like to switch the movement and replace it with an ETA Swiss made movement, but have no idea whether to use a 2824-2, 2836-2, 2892 ? or what, and I can’t find any cross reference information of any kind. Specifications:
    Oyster Perpetual DayDate. Width NOT counting the crown is 33 mm and with the crown 37 mm; Length from lug to lug is 41.5 mm; Between lugs for bracelet is 17 mm; Thickness is 10 mm; Hologram on back marked 16233.
    My brother has a SS one but it is a DateJust. It has all the same measurements as mine except the thickness is 8.5 mm.
    Can anyone tell me what ETA movement or another that would fit and work in either of these watches ?
    Thanks for taking the time to answer.

    Don

    • Pancho Sanza says:

      Hello Don.

      Swapping the Chinese movement for a Swiss one is a near-to-impossible operation. There are too many differences: stem height, dial feet position, dial windows position, hands setting diameter, and so on…
      Besides, the version you need is an ETA 2836 that is only used by a limited amount of brands like Tudor and TAG Heuer, so sourcing a blank movement will probably cost as much as you had previously invested in your Chinese watch.

      At this point, you may want to consider investing in something more genuine. I would recommend to look for a Sandoz watch. Made for the Asian market, most Sandoz watches reproduce Rolex designs that have fell into the public domain and they don’t infringe on the Rolex trademark. Besides, they come with Swiss-Made ETA movements that any decent watchmaker in the world will be able to fine-tune or repair.

      If you have the budget, I warmly recommend to browse the Sandoz watch page from Redo Castellazi. Otherwise, you can easily find second-hand Sandoz watches on eBay.

  2. […] made watches? I ran into this site serendipitously. Some of you savvier people may know of it already. It got me thinking about […]

  3. Hi,

    I was just wondering if you knew of any Canadian or American custom watchmakers. We are having a Metal Art Show next year at our museum and would love to have a custom watchmaker come to our show.

    Any help would be appreciated,

    Stewart Pallard

  4. Daniel katz says:

    I own three steinharts: a nav b 44 plain, aviation GMT, aviation pink gold……. am considering a Navb 44 chrono II, just might fit my budget.

    I asked a famous independent watchmaker what he thought, even though he deals with watches in the hundreds of thousands of $’s. after sending a copy of the Steinhart site…he said he liked the look, good bang for the buck.

    I sent photos to a famous watch journalist and he was very diplomatic, “be wary of Nav b chronos in the low budget range, most of the hands are crappy and dial is poor……Archimede has some history, check them out IWC would be best of coarse”….
    Than I saw an article by same journalist praising to no end the Hamilton Khaki pioneer Chrono,coming out in two months based on the the original Hamilton released in the 70’s commissioned for the Royal Airforce, but with pumped up version of 7753, 60 hour power reserve and more accurate
    supposedly.

    I simply like the look of the nav b chrono, but if i had the Hamilton in me hands maybe i will say wow, glad i went that direction.
    is the 60 hours that important?
    ultimately ,my decision, I KNOW I KNOW, but your thoughts nonetheless.
    THX in advance

    Daniel Katz
    internet talk show host
    http://www.thatchannel.com
    That Media Corp, 600 Bay St., suite 405
    Toronto

    • Pancho Sanza says:

      Hi Daniel!

      Congrats on your collection, and thank you for your question.

      The question to ask yourself is: do you want to purchase your next chronograph based on its looks or its movement? If you instantly fell in love with the Steinhart and are still considering it after several months, you should follow your taste.

      Compared to more “established” brands Steinhart mostly operate throught “direct marketing”, which spares the need for commissions to distributors and retailers. This translates into lower prices, and in fact Steinhart can offer Swiss automatic chronographs for less than 900 EUR.

      Pricewise, the only alternative within the Swatch Group would be the Tissot T-Navigator.

      Overall, all these watches use movements based on the architecture of the Valjoux 7750. The H-31 of the Hamilton is the most modern iteration and I know they have re-engineered components to raise the power reserve to 60 hours. I might be wrong, but I think they also use laser technology to create perfectly poised balance wheels.

      In this line of budget (800 to 1500 EUR), the Hamilton is probably the closest you will come to a “proprietary” movement. One step above, you can get the column-wheel Orient 32B00, which is basically the Japanese version of the calibre TAG Heuer 1887.

      I need to point out that for a little more than 1000 EUR you can also get a 42 mm model 358 from Sinn.

      If you want to built up the Archimede Pilot Chronograph with the same options as the Steinhard (custom rotor and sapphire crystal), you end up with a price tag near to 1500 EUR, which is slightly more than the Hamilton and the Sinn.

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