Recently I was chatting with a designer friend and his watch happened to catch my eye. It was pretty classic looking, and upon further inspection, I noticed a red star and a few Chinese characters on its face. Intrigued, I needed to know more and inquired as to it. “It’s a reproduction Chinese pilot’s watch from the ’60s.” my friend said. I took a few photos and when I got home did a little investigating on the internets. Sure enough the watch is called the Seagull 1963 and it has been recently reissued. Seems like the heritage trend has even extended all the way to China.
More history from a Seagull reseller:
“In 1961 the Tianjin Watch Factory was assigned to manufacture the first Chinese aviation watch (chronograph) for the Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army. The code of the assignment was “304.” The factory pre-manufactured three batches of the aviation watch by October 1962. In the end of the year 38 leaders and experts (industrial ministry, air command, and naval equipment supervisors) came together for the appraisal of the watch. After the meeting the Tianjin Watch Factory received permission to begin the mass production of the watch. In 1963 the factory completed and delivered 1400 aviation watches to the Chinese Air Force.”
The chrono has an automatic movement with a 40 hour power reserve, is made in China and retails for a cool $339 (or less – with a steel back, a little extra for a crystal back). I admit I like the styling and enjoy the novelty. Check it out here.