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Thread: A watch and a ration coupon...

  1. #1

    A watch and a ration coupon...

    During the period when most of the vintage Chinese mechanical watches at the AMCH/PR were made (roughly 1955--1975/80), watches were prohibitively expensive for most workers in the People's Republic.

    A watch like a Shanghai, WuYi or Beijing would cost the equivalent of 3 or 4 months wages, and I don't mean a worker would have to save for for four months. I mean an average worker would have to save the equivalent of every penny made during four months. Then he could afford a higher end watch. Even a worker with a lower paying job would have to save perhaps the equivalent of a full months wages to buy a less common lower-priced watch like a Zhongshan.

    Consequently, watches (even Zhongshans) were considered a real symbol of accomplishment and they were very highly prized. But saving the money was only part of the battle.

    Even with the money saved, a worker would also need a ration coupon because many things were rationed. WUS moderator "Soviet" described the process like this: "There were coupons for watches, bicycles, furniture, etc. So when a coupon arrives, people in a working unit would discuss who this time should get the coupon. Usually it is the guy who needs it most would get it. For example, a guy was to get married, or the guy who never got a coupon, etc. It was very democratic."

    So, here's a 1971 ration coupon for a Zhongshan watch that is now in the AMCH/PR collection along with the watches:
    (the ration coupon is the top paper with the green printing. the print on the left side is from a 1972 PRC painting called "warm in the shop.")



    and you might get one of these...






    (Zhongshans are 9 jewel wonders but they were considered a "poor man's watch"...one month's wages. Many of these beauties have a 50 hour power reserve :D .)

  2. #2
    Master 50kopek's Avatar
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    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    Thanks for the interesting post. But that's one rough looking movement :blackeye:

  3. #3
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    Thanks for that post. A nice looking watch but it's breathtaking that such basics would be rationed.

    I like the painting too. :-)

  4. #4

    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    Fantastic information and the watch looks great - thanks for posting.
    It's just a matter of time...

  5. #5

    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    Fantastic information and the watch looks great - thanks for posting.
    It's just a matter of time...

  6. #6
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    That's a pretty scathing indictment of communism.

    We moan a bit here but our cheapest watches would seem like untold luxury to them.

    They even rationed the hands on this watch. :lol: :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaTime


    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  7. #7

    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    Quote Originally Posted by 50kopek
    Thanks for the interesting post. But that's one rough looking movement :blackeye:
    Thank all for your comments.

    That "rough looking movement" (very true!) usually runs within 3-5 seconds a day on the wrist. :D so it's basic---but it's a good design.

  8. #8

    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    Caseback looks 8)

  9. #9

    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    Nice post :D The watch looks pretty good considering its supposed to be the most basic, cool case back and dial, just a shame about the short hands :lol: the movement may look basic but I'm sure that they made them the best quality they could at the time.

  10. #10

    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    Quote Originally Posted by dutchgray
    Nice post :D The watch looks pretty good considering its supposed to be the most basic, cool case back and dial, just a shame about the short hands :lol: the movement may look basic but I'm sure that they made them the best quality they could at the time.
    Well, the Zhongshan 9 jewel was a basic movement for the Chinese, and they knew it. At the very same time, the Chinese manufacturers were also making quite high quality automatic and manual movements. Here's a few examples:

    Sea-Gull day-date 28 jewel ST-7:





    ZuanShi SM1A Developed in 1969 and improved in 1973, the highly regarded Zuan Shi SM1AK movement won China's highest prize for watch movement technology **10 times** and is very capable of chronometer-like performance when regulated. It is extremely robust and very accurate:



    ...and an older version...



    Also, a later 1970s Beijing Shuangling SZB-1C / 40 jewel automatic.


  11. #11

    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    One of the most interesting threads i have read this week on tz-uk! thank you very much sir for an informative post :)

  12. #12
    Master Flashharry's Avatar
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    Re: A watch and a ration coupon...

    Quote Originally Posted by omegaUK
    One of the most interesting threads i have read this week on tz-uk! thank you very much sir for an informative post :)
    Agreed...it's always good to learn something new. Great post and watches.

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