Baoshihua

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Baoshihua (宝石花) was a grade 1 watch brand produced by Shanghai No. 2 Watch Factory, launched in 1972. It was the first watch brand powered by the newly developed Chinese Standard Movement. The name is literally "gem flower", one of the Chinese names for Graptopetalum paraguayense, and the Baoshihua dial featured a flower design logo, with a synthetic ruby, similar in appearance to the jewel bearings in the movement, as the centre of the flower.

Although some prototypes had slow-beat (18,000 bph) movements, the first mass-produced Baoshihua brand watches, produced in 1972 and early 1973, feature 17-jewel 21,600 bph movements. The designation SZ1, the general code for the Chinese Standard movement project, appears on the train bridge. The SZ1 has a smaller balance wheel than later Standard movements. Examples appear with different clicks. Some do not have date codes, but others have codes which look like ones used on the factory's earlier brand using the SS1, Jiefang. For example:

  • 2GG = July 1972 (2 = Shanghai No. 2, G = 7th year of SS1 production, G = 7th month)

Later SZ1 models have the code 二73上 (二 = Shanghai No. 2, 73 = 1973, 上 = first half of the year)

The SZ1 designation was replaced with SZ1A sometime in the first half of 1973. The SZ1A has the larger balance wheel more commonly seen on Standard movements, and the improved click seen on some SZ1 models. SZ1A date codes follow the same pattern as late SZ1 models. Example codes:

  • 二73下 = 1973 second half
  • 二74上 = 1974 first half

By 1974 a number of other watch factories were producing Standard movement watches, so in that year the generic SZ1A designation used on Baoshihua movements was replaced with ZSE, Z for Zhongguo (China), S for Shanghai, and E for Er (2). A two letter date code was used, with the first letter indicating the year and the second the month. Instead of starting over with the letter A, it appears that the factory continued the system used with their earlier watches. 1974 is probably represented by the letter I. Examples:

  • IL = December, 1974
  • NA = January, 1979

Shanghai No. 2 continued to manufacture Baoshihua brand watches into the 1990s, but there are examples produced by other factories too.

For a short time in the early 1980s Shanghai Watch Factory produced its own Baoshihua brand watches with an identical logo and similar print on the dial. The main difference between models produced by the two factories is the movement. Shanghai No. 2's had 17-jewel standard movements marked ZSE, while Shanghai Watch Factory's had 19-jewel variants marked ZSH.

In 1984 Shanghai No. 2 contracted Hefei Watch Factory to produce Baoshihua watches for three years. Hefei-produced models have standard movements marked with either AH 2J2 or ZHF.