Chongqing Clock & Watch Company

From Chinese Watch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Chongqing Clock & Watch Company (重庆钟表公司) was the largest producer of mechanical watches in Southwest China in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Its major watch brand is Shancheng.

History

Clock production began in Chongqing on a modest scale in 1958. When the failed Chongqing Musical Instrument Factory closed in 1963, it was divided into three units, one of which became Chongqing Clock and Watch Factory. Production of clocks expanded to 100,000 in 1969 and nearly 500,000 annually by 1975. Watches were manufactured on an experimental basis beginning in 1970, including Shancheng brand models with Chongqing-made SS1 movements. Approximately 13,000 of these watches were produced in the early and mid-1970s, most of them in 1975 and 1976.

Full-scale production of tongji watches began in 1977. Because the factory was the only major watch producer in China's most populous province at the time, Sichuan, and these Shancheng brand watches were of sufficient quality to receive a grade 1 assignment, they were successful in the market. Despite this success, expansion of the small factory was difficult because capital and land in Chongqing were scarce. To address this challenge, the factory merged with seven other enterprises at the beginning of 1980 to become an industrial corporation, Chongqing Clock & Watch Company. Gross output value nearly tripled between 1979 and 1981. During this time of expansion, the company entered joint ventures to establish watch factories in Chengdu, Guiyang, and Kunming.

Market conditions changed in the early 1980s. Although the grade 2 Shanhua brand men's watch and a 20.5 millimeter women's watch, both introduced in 1981, were successful, the Chinese clock market became saturated by the end of the year. Additionally, national planning authorities halved the company's watch production targets in response to imminent overcapacity of the Chinese watch industry. Resultingly, Chongqing Clock & Watch Company's business strategy changed from increasing quantity to increasing quality and development of new products. A digital watch produced in 1982 failed in the marketplace, but a low-cost grade 3 brand introduced the same year, Kunlun, was a huge success, as was a 17.2 millimeter women's watch jointly developed with Shanghai and Qingdao Clock & Watch Companies. In 1983 new products under development included a men's calendar watch, an analogue double calendar quartz watch, a students' watch, a 26.5 millimeter watch with comprehensive functions, a students' clock, a double calendar clock, a quartz wall clock, a timer for fans, a timer for washing machines, a musical toy, and a gold-plated watch case. The watch market temporarily improved in the mid-1980s, but clock production in Chongqing effectively ended in 1985.

Similar to many other watch factories, the obstacles created by market conditions and restructuring in the 1990s proved insurmountable, and the company stopped all watch manufacture in 1997. All remaining land and assets were sold in 2004.

In 2013, Hong Kong Precision Clock & Watch Manufacturing Co., Ltd. signed an agreement with the Chongqing Economy and Informationisation Commission and Dianjiang County People's Government of Chongqing to create a new Chongqing Clock & Watch Company. Beginning in 2014, Chongqing-made mechanical watches once again were sold with the brand name Shancheng. While plans were made to manufacture movements in Chongqing, early models of the revived Shancheng brand contain movements made elsewhere.

Brands