Beijing in the 1970s, if anyone wears a Beijing brand watch, it is definitely something to show off. At that time, a watch was priced at 120 yuan, equivalent to three months’ salary for an ordinary worker. Today, this domestically-made brand has faded out of sight. But it has not disappeared, it is still in the old place, or those old factories, find it, you will have a feeling of going back in time.
Was the ‘Three Big Pieces’ of Wedding
Citizen Ms. Wang was born in the 1950s. Her experience can prove how popular the Beijing brand watch was. ‘In the 1970s, a Beijing-brand watch was priced at 120 yuan, and we only earned more than 30 yuan a month.’ Ms. Wang said that at that time, marriage began to have ‘three big pieces’. Women want three things from men. The earliest were watches, bicycles, and sewing machines. Watches picked the Beijing brand.
‘My lover saved me a year of money before giving me a piece.’ Ms. Wang recalled that it was not common to wear a watch at that time, and sometimes watching the time outside depended on the big clock in public places or asking others. ‘When asking someone for time, I can be envious when I watch someone wear a Beijing brand watch. I want to buy it, I really have to wear a trouser belt and grit my teeth.’ After having her own watch, Ms. Wang likes to feel the most when winding the watch. ‘Turning that little button, listening to the sound of ??, I feel very comfortable.’ Ms. Wang said that she was careful every time she wore the watch, for fear of breaking the silver-colored track-like bracelet.
Miao Hongbo, the current general manager of Beijing Watch Factory, said that the 1970s was the most brilliant time for Beijing brand watches. By the early 1980s, Beijing-brand watches had swept the country. The brand logo of Beijing with the Tiananmen model (see photo) was deeply imprinted in the hearts of people of that era.
The market let go of sight
Ms. Wang’s watch was used until the mid-1990s. ‘There are too many new watches, so I changed it.’ Ms. Wang said.
Miao Hongbo said that compared to imported quartz watches, mechanical watches have poor accuracy, few styles, and high prices. In addition, there are too many similar products in China, and Beijing brand watches are slow to sell. In 1997, the Beijing Watch Factory ceased production and nearly 1,000 employees were laid off.
‘In the mid-to-late 1980s, what Hangzhou and Guangzhou had their own watches, and later they poured into Japanese quartz watches, and the market became smaller and smaller.’ Miao Hongbo said that at that time there was a scenery on the street, which was some The hawker rolled up his sleeves and wore a string of watches around his arms—watches were no longer rare. Ms. Wang said that later, almost all the streets can be found selling watches, ‘It is easy to buy a watch, but you can no longer find the Beijing watch before.’
Old watches become new fashion
Nowadays, many young people are very new to Beijing brand watches. However, the brand has not disappeared, it still has many ‘fans’. Some collectors and watchmakers rushed to the factory to pick an old-fashioned mechanical watch, some were looking for a memory, and some were using this ‘old product’ as new fashion.
At the Beijing Watch Factory in Changping, entering the factory area, you seem to have been brought back to the 1960s. This old state-owned enterprise established in 1958 still maintains the style of the year. The tall and spacious factory building, the machinery roaring workshop, the carefully carved workers under the microscope, everything is still the same, but the things are wrong. The product has been reborn. Miao Hongbo revealed that Beijing Watch Factory has started a ‘Nirvana’ and will work hard to enter the high-end market. In the showroom of the Beijing Watch Factory, there are a number of watches currently produced, with prices ranging from as low as 10,000 yuan to as high as one million yuan. According to the factory, not long ago, a gold diamond watch from Youlongxifeng was bought for 1.80 million yuan.
The mechanical gear of the Beijing brand watch has not stopped. This old brand that records an era will record a new history.