5 years ago we launched our first product Ginault BM1, it was a sterile Submariner homage watch. The release had a mild success in the short period that it was sold. The BM1 hit certain members’ taste palates and at the same time missed many members’ to buy list.
However, the infant venture to start a watch company with the goal to have everything excluding the movement made and assembled domestically came to a sudden halt. Both the Swiss movement giants, ETA and Sellita became very strict to whom they supply their movements to and coupled with a steep price hike choking the supply. It basically meant a death sentence for a micro brand like ours.
We had to put the project on halt and re-consider the options. We entertained the idea of using Japanese movements. Did not go that route because Seiko/Miyota movements were just too difficult to micro adjusted to all positions.
The Chinese would take our orders but they all frown upon our quality requirements. We asked for an ETA “standard grade” alternative, that is the mean daily rate be within +/- 12 seconds/day and positional error within +/-30 seconds/day. And we want H4 cannon pinion, that is 0.50mm higher than standard issued H2 height.
We had no luck with the Chinese. They either would not guarantee performance or they just would not customize H4 cannon pinion due to our small quantity order.
Then a wild idea came to us. We wanted to do something that has not been attempted by small independent watch companies for a long time. We thought maybe we can produce our own movement parts domestically.
To make this a reality consists two parts, movement parts production and movement assembly. Although these are two totally different realms, our team has the knowledge and know-how of both. What we do not have is the resource to invest in exotic and capital heavy equipment in making these parts. But we kind of have an idea where to look for them.
A lot of good folks in the country have the right equipment, manufacturing skills, and know-how in making specific part for the watch movement. They were just not in the watchmaking industry. During the past 5 or so years, our challenges were, to find them, convince them to take on our small quantity and yet supper anal high precision demanding orders, and to assemble those parts into functioning movements and finally to test and tune these movements in house.
Ginault Caliber 7275 is a reproduction of the Swiss ETA 2824-2.
The Objectives blueprinting the Ginault 7275 caliber:
1.Cannon Pinion has to be 0.50mm taller than the original H2 cannon pinion design:
Many of our original designs are diver’s watches with forged hour markers riveted on the dial. The cannon pinions have to be at least 0.50mm taller than the standard issued H2 height. However, being a micro brand, there is no way the Swiss giants and the Chinese state owned movement factories will even be bothered by our custom order let alone the small order quantity.
2. The consistency and performance of the movement:
Swiss ETA 2824 movement although not the most accurate movement, it is known for its consistency and durability. This decades old design has proven being a reliable work horse in the world of horology.
3. Being independent from the Swiss Giant’s monopoly choke:
Much like the US rubber crisis in the 40s, Ginault faced the supply shortage and price hike on the Swiss made movements. We knew if we can realize a self sustaining supply of movement parts we no longer have to be dedicated by the Swiss.
However, there are still some parts absent of domestic suppliers. Those parts are the hairspring, the mainspring, the red synthetic sapphire crystals also known as jewels, and the shock absorber.
Wang Jia Ling Shock Absorber
The three leafs cherry blossom shaped shock absorber is Chinese. It is Wang Jia Ling shock absorber. It costs about the same as the Swiss Incabloc. We had to turn to WJL for one specific reason – Incabloc SA would not do business with us if our movement is not to be assembled in Switzerland.
The Tune In Process
Once a completed Caliber 7275 is encased in the watch, it will then go through a 6 weeks journey on our automatic winder to simulate real world use. Our watchmakers time each one of them every 7 days, then give each one of them a slight tweak if necessary to make the caliber to run even more accurately until it reaches as close as to 0 in the end of the journey. The mark “X” means the “average daily rate”. The Swiss COSC standard of this particular measurement is +6 / -4.
We keep each measurement log in an excel file. When a Ginault timepiece is sold, we will provide you a copy of the measurement log with the caliber’s serial number, the actual power reserve tested, and the last measurement date printed on the copy.