Watch collectors are naturally familiar with SIHH and Baselworld, but the Asian equivalent is less well known. Taking place annually in the Shenzhen, the metropolis that borders Hong Kong, the China Watch & Clock Fair (CWCF) happened in late June inside the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Centre. A vast event with over 60,000 visitors annually in recent years, the CWCF is the largest watch and jewellery exhibition in Mainland China, and the third largest worldwide. Only Baselworld and the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair count more visitors.
Now in its 28th year, the CWCF has a thoroughly international exhibitor list. Swiss movement makers ETA and Ronda both had booths inside, as did Citizen-owned Miyota; this year’s CWCF was also the first with independent watchmakers of the AHCI. (The main hall of the CWCF 2017 is pictured above.)
The CWCF began in 1988, mainly for component suppliers and OEM watch manufacturers to showcase their wares to the trade. However, in recent years, the focus of the fair has shifted towards timepieces catered to the consumer, making it more like Baselworld.
This shift in focus tracks the evolution of the exhibiting brands themselves, most of which are Chinese watch manufacturers that are developing their own consumer brands. One example is Peacock Watch, an OEM maker founded exactly 60 years ago, which is venturing into the consumer market for the first time with the T.S Series, a line tourbillon wristwatches starting at US$2470 for a single tourbillon, rising somewhat drastically to U$29,119 for the double tourbillon.
The flagship T.S. double tourbillon has a large, sporty look with 45mm carbon composite case that’s a fairly slim 11.5mm. It will be available in four colors and is fitting to a fabric strap featuring a pin buckle also in the carbon composite.
The movement is based on the P531-4 movement that Peacock has supplied to other makers, but here it has been given a more decorative finish. It’s partially skeletonized and finished with Geneva stripes and bevelled edges on the bridges, along with stamped guilloche on the base plate. However, all the finishing is obviously mechanically executed, which is understandable given its comparatively low price; similar watches from Swiss watchmakers typically cost twice as much.
Another notable watch spotted in the halls was the new tourbillon by Beijing Watch Factory, best known for the diversity of tourbillon wristwatches it offers. A radical departure from its earlier, fanciful designs, the Bladelegant tourbillon has sleek lines and a clean dial available in grey or silver. Most notably, the hour indices are set on a convex sapphire chapter ring, with a domed sapphire crystal over it for greater visual depth. It is still equipped with the TB01-2 movement found in most of the brand’s tourbillons, featuring the characteristic tourbillon cage shaped like a swallow.