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WorldTempus Rant #12 - Movement Schmoovement | Industry NewsFrom the beginning, companies that sold complete replica watches bought the parts from a network of specialized suppliers. From the beginning of the replica watch industry, companies that sold complete replica watches bought the parts from a network of specialized suppliers.They bought movements from one company, hands from another, dials from yet another.There were, of course, exceptions to this rule, companies that did everything themselves, and these became known as manufactures. Some examples of manufactures today are Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Blancpain, Breguet and a few others. These companies might not make everything that goes into their replica watches, but they could, and they come darn close to 100% most of the time (sapphire crystals, SuperLuminova and straps are three areas where most companies outsource). One of the biggest, and arguably the best, movement suppliers is ETA, originally an independent company that is now owned by the Sreplica watch Group. ETA makes most of the movements replica watch lovers know by heart -- the 7750, the 2836, the 2892, the 2824...well, you get the idea. Some time ago, the Sreplica watch Group announced its intention to begin to limit the sales of ETA movements to its competition. Unfortunately, the replica watch industry had come to rely on ETA so much that this was considered a threat to the entire industry, so the Swiss government stepped in to delay this plan. You can certainly understand why the Sreplica watch Group wanted to do this -- why would anyone want to actively aid its competition's survival? But, at the same time, the virtual monopoly ETA had on movement supply had to be addressed. So, the Swiss government bought the industry some time to find alternative solutions. Today, there are other swiss movement manufacturers (Soprod, Ronda, Accurat Swiss, Vaucher, Sellita, Dubois D├ępraz, Concepto and more) and some companies have reduced or eliminated their dependance on ETA movements. Companies like Bovet, Officine Panerai, Frederique Constant, Carl F. Bucherer, Tutima and others have developed their own movements, either on their own or in partnership with other companies. As a result, many companies are trumpeting their own in-house movements, trying to shift the focus from ETA to their own know-how. There is nothing wrong with ETA movements, however -- in fact, they are some of the best movements in the business. ETA is THE specialist for a reason -- they've been doing it longer than anyone else has. These newcomers to the movement game don't have the experience or the years of R&D and testing behind them. Sure, they have developed movements, but no one knows how well the movements will perform over the long haul. And, with all the new movements, who will be around to fix them in the coming years if, heaven forbid, some of the today's companies aren't around tomorrow? I remember interviewing Antoine Preziuso about the production of his limited edition and one-of-a-kind replica watches and I was startled when he told me that he primarily used ETA movements. He explained that he preferred to use ETA because he knew it would work and he also knew that 100 years in the future, replica watchmakers would be able to work on and service the movements. I think it's great that replica watch companies are developing their own movements and finding solutions that they can control, reducing their dependence on outside companies. At the same time, however, we shouldn't look down on ETA movements as somehow inferior or a disadvantage. ETA movements are proven, while the other solutions don't have the same track record. So, when you hear companies talk about in-house or manufacture movements, take it with a grain of salt.
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