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Pilgrimage to the Seagull factory in Tianjin

Pilgrimage to the Seagull factory in Tianjin

written by seagull fan  Published By Coolwatchbrands

A bright blue day greeted us as we entered the building – a good sign of things to come! As this was shortly after the Chinese New Year holidays the factory was operating on a reduced staff.

For the day that was in it I chose to wear my Sea Dragon King (the exclusive diver’s watch made by US Seagull) on an aftermarket Borealis strap – you can see the watch in the background as I examined a minute repeater with a moving action back (slightly nsfw!) – I wonder who would buy such a watch…apparently two have been sold:

The watch factory’s store has probably the best selection of Seagull watches to be found anywhere – here are their double tourbillons for example:

Left – perpetual calendar, minute repeater with moving action (the one with the sfw front dial and nsfw back dial), right is a tourbillon with a micro-rotor automatic winding mechanism:

In the middle you’ll find the gyrotourbillon:

As these 18 karat solid gold watches were a little bit of my price range it was time to put on the bunny suits and move onto the factory floor visit – a behind the scenes look at the assembly of movements by Seagull workers:

You’ll see that on this day co-axial tourbillons were being assembled (and heavens forbid anyone suggest in “sweatshop” conditions). The watch master assembler took a look at my Dragon King and remarked that he remembers assembling these watches for Kevin back in the day – and that Kevin was very strict on quality control.

The last photo shows is interesting in that it shows that ST21 movements are kept in a timing box for 40 minutes whereas ST25 (and ST6) movements are kept on the rotor for 80 minutes – does that mean that ST21 movements are probably more or less accurate than ST25 ones?

The watch master presented me with a signed Seagull factory watch assembly clothe to keep as a memento – to think that maybe 7-8 years ago he may have assembled my Dragon King is very humbling and it was delightful to meet him and converse about watches.

And there was another surprise in store for me – my mother in law’s friend saw how genuinely enthusiastic I was about Chinese and Seagull watches in particular…and gave me her very special D57 tourbillon watch…

I love the design of the D57 – on the back it states that this watch was sold only to Seagull employees to commemorate Seagull’s 55th anniversary in 2015. This watch also represents a price paid in hard work and labour as only employees with over 20 years service with Seagull are eligible to purchase this watch. Simply put, this person’s gift to me was one that is priceless as it represents her years of service to Seagull. The problem now of course is thinking about how to thank her properly for such a gift!

And finally – hopefully I’ve saved the best for last – here is a youtube video of the minute repeater, micro-rotor tourbillion, gyrotourbillon and double tourbillon in action. It is one of the only places that I know of where you can hear a Seagull minute repeater chiming away. To have held that watch in my hands and to have heard its chime with my own ears may have capped off my WIS grail desires 🙂



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