Very first TV ad – for a watch company!

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jan 12th, 2012
Jan 12

Another video found by Hodinkee – This YouTube clips states that the first ever TV ad was for Bulova watches in 1941, for which they paid $9. Things have changed a bit since!

Video from thatdavebirss on YouTube

Old Movements, New Movements – Part 2

Posted by Harry Bishop on Mar 19th, 2011
Mar 19

My thoughts yesterday were about what I consider false branding of gussied up ETA calibres as “in-house movements”, by many mainstream Swiss watch brands. Recent increases in transparency is a definite improvement, but as I mentioned at the end of that post, there is a second positive change.

And that is, the new and exciting movements that have been coming to market recently. And by new, no I don’t mean the lack of creativity exhibited in the prior year, with many brands just adding yet another tourbillon or moonphase complication onto an existing movement! :-)

Image from FratelloWatches

Continue Reading »

Old Movements, New Movements – part 1

Posted by Harry Bishop on Mar 18th, 2011
Mar 18

I found myself nodding emphatically back before Christmas at a post on “Chad The Watch Guy”, speaking on how many so-called in-house calibers are really nothing of the sort.

Image © Chad The Watch Guy

The example was the Tag Heuer “Calibre 12″ which is actually just a a plain Jane ETA 2892-A2 with a brand-specific rotor. Unfortunately this is FAR too common with many Swiss watch brands, and has been the case for many years. Sure you are buying a decent watch, but the labeling of the movement is in my mind, misleading at the best.

Thankfully social media has uncovered this a lot lately, and truthful branding is starting to creep back in. For example I’m starting to see the fine print more often on TimeZone, statements like “Breitling caliber 13B (base ETA Valjoux 7750)”, “Anonimo caliber 01.0 (base Sellita SW200-1)”, “Longines caliber L707.2 (base ETA A07L31)” and the like.

Thank you, TimeZone!

Part 2 tomorrow – why despite the above, there is more hope than ever. :-)

Restoration & Appreciation

Posted by Harry Bishop on Mar 4th, 2011
Mar 4

Every so often you read an article that amazes you at the skill and expertise of someone, who has gotten to that point at a much younger age than expected. Last fall I read such a Watchuseek forum post from a 17 year old who restored a Zenith El Primero, a high-end watch with a extremely good chronograph movement, and also a watch more than twice as old as him, purchased for minimal funds due to the very poor shape it was in.

Images from Watchuseek

But that’s not all … separate from all the great movement restoration and repair he did, how did a dial so used and abused that it had faded from it’s original blue to a blotchy amber, magically become new-looking again? It’s a story that gives Zenith a lot of brand points in the eyes of many…

Continue Reading »

A Few Watch Brand BASEL Ads

Posted by Harry Bishop on Feb 26th, 2011
Feb 26

The world of watch brand advertising can often be either boring and tacky. Sometimes (not often) we see exceptions that stick with us, the Patek Phillipe “generations” campaign being one of them. Here are a few recent ads and marketing-style announcements that caught my eye.

Images from TimeZone Industry News

Continue Reading »

$2000 watch buyer guide – no Seiko?

Posted by Harry Bishop on Feb 26th, 2010
Feb 26

I say this poking gentle fun at RJ at FratelloWatches for his post, as I really enjoy his thoughts and writing, but it is a perspective of many WIS magazines and blogs that Swiss & German watches are the only “real” mechanical watches in their opinion.

First, let me give a “thumbs up” to RJ for selecting the Nomos Club as one of his selections, a great watch that’s still on my wish list. I think he’s done a really good job picking watches, other than the exclusion of non-European brands.

Image from

I would challenge those who exclude Asian (and other) high-end well known brands of watch makers from their lists. The perception of European dominance in luxury watches is actually just an example of successful marketing … it’s not true, and it’s a relatively recent perspective. Other countries including the US used to be considered the premier manufacturers of luxury watches, but that changed last century. Some of this changed for real, other parts of it just changed in belief.

I’m not talking about new Chinese firms with little heritage. I’m talking about something like a Grand Seiko, which has the heritage, quality, accuracy, and aesthetics to more than hold it’s head up high in this company. I guess this post earns me my “Seiko Champion” moniker. :-)

GS 9S54A, 2001, image from

New TAG Heuer caliber 1887 actually a Seiko

Posted by Harry Bishop on Dec 19th, 2009
Dec 19

It’s been discussed over and over in the watch forums and blogs these past few weeks, but still deserves a mention. TAG Heuer announced this month their new “100% developed in-house” caliber, the 1887.

image from

image from TimeZone Industry News

It seems nice – 39 jewels, column chrono, 50 hours reserve, +/- 4 sec/day. And in fact the movement itself is nice. The problem is with TAG Heuer’s marketing statements – the movement is actually a modified Seiko 6S37 that TAG Heue licensed for their internal modification and use.

Image from SCWF

Image from SCWF

Legally and technically it’s a modified movement that they have rights to. Truthfully and in social media terms, the marketing is a lie. If you don’t have Truthful Branding you will be found out. In the case of TAG Heue, it tarnishes their image and makes them of less interest to me as a watch purchase, which is sad I’ve always liked a lot of their watches.

Yema purchased by Ambre

Posted by Harry Bishop on Sep 5th, 2009
Sep 5

Last year I posted about the bankruptcy of Yema, a company that despite all the “French company, French manufacture, French brand” chest-thumping of the firm, was actually a Seiko sub-brand between 1988 and 2005. I first became aware of them through their Seiko 4S15 based SeaSpider diver models.


After finding out a bit more I then became interested in some of their earlier watches (from when they truly were a French brand, and indeed a partially French manufacture), especially their earlier divers and various xxx-GRAF model lines. I see these come up on eBay every so often, usually selling for a fair dollar. For example this Valjoux 7736 based Yachtingraf just sold for US$710.


Continue Reading »

Next »