Tag Archives: chinese

Ali Express Sub-a-Like for £31 – DECENT Replica or Timewaster?

We love testing watches here at Northern Watch Co magazine and this week we have been checking out the latest automatic to arrive from China, or possibly Singapore – hard to tell – in the shape of this sterile dial Rolex Sub look-a-likey.

First impressions;

Very well packaged in bubble wrap and then surrounded by a padded bubble bag, about the size of a large US style Coke can. The watch links and clasp were covered in sticky clear tape to prevent scratches and the blue tab on the crown needed some watch cleaner to remove the last bits.

Nothing protecting the crystal though.

There were two adjustable links on one side of the steel bracelet and three on the other. I neeed three links out to find the perfect fit on my wrist. The link pins are screwdown by the way, which is a quality touch I did not expect at this price.

Yes, the price. Just £31.56 including VAT and shipping – amazing.

Inside the movement sounds like the super-spinning DG variety, which you would expect for this money.

The DG is a copy of the Miyota automatic found in many Citizens, Accurists and countless microbrands over the last decade or so.

I haven’t bothered using my Rolex opening tool on the caseback to check it out, as the watch has been keeping good time for the last two days. Frankly, a DG movement photo isn’t going to be that exciting to look at.

Yep, you can wind it, or just shake it to get some reserve power in there.  Fully wound it ran for about 18 hours, which is not as good as a typical Seiko NH35/36 auto – but they cost the manufacturer a little bit more, so you pay £45-£65 or so for some of the Aliexpress watches that feature the Seiko engine.

Setting the date is easy, unscrew and pull the crown to the first position, and away you go. The second position sets the hands of course.

The clasp is nicely finished and closes with a healthy snap, plus it has a little foldover tab for security. The bezel is unidirectional and has orange numbers set into its ceramic surface. Lume is bright on the hands, not quite so bright on the hour markers.


There are a few sharp edges on the bracelet clasp. The crown needs a fair bit of pressure on the tube, so you really have to push in hard before trying to screw the crown down. You get used to it.

It would be great to have the option of paying a few pounds extra to have a brand name on the dial, even if it is a made up word, or perhaps just a logo graphic? Sharks, Rays n Turtles are kinda already spoken for, but maybe a marlin, or something ocean/dive related?

Just an idea, although personally I wouldn’t go diving wearing a £30 watch. It’s like the Bell helmet advert; if you have a ten dollar head, buy a ten dollar helmet.

VERDICT; Superb value for very little money. You won’t impress fellow watch nerds but you will get regular citizens doing a double take at your wrist, until you tell them, `yeah it’s a copy mate.’

Best plan these days, as you can get stabbed for a real Rolex.

Bull Market For UNDONE in 2021? Maybe

UNDONE have a special limited edition watch, which celebrates the Chinese Year of The Ox.

Featuring a black dial, and gold coloured case, markers and winding crown, it houses a Seiko automatic movement. Here’s the word from UNDONE;

Inspired by the Far East and the traditional Chinese timekeeping system that dates back thousands of years, the Chinese Hour is rich in history. On the hour track are 12 Chinese characters, 6 in yellow that represents the morning hours, and 6 in grey representing the afternoon hours.

In traditional Chinese timekeeping system, each Chinese character represents 2 modern hours. For example, the first character at 12 o’clock covers the hours 11pm to 1am, the second character covers 1am to 3am, and so on. On the minute track are 12 numerals in Chinese, each representing an hour for easy reference. The caseback has 4 Chinese characters, 牛氣冲天, loosely translated to having the energy as formidable as the ox, or if you’re into trading, a prosperous bull market ahead! This design celebrates the Year of the Ox, which is part of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.

Housed within a rose gold case, the watch is powered by a Japanese NH35A Automatic movement, with a 42-hour power reserve. The UNDONE Chinese NY model is limited to 188 pieces, with every watch numbered.

Verdict; At £416 this is slightly pricey automatic watch given that it has a Seiko movement inside and no sapphire crystal. There are better spec watches for around the £300 mark, although you can’t deny that the Chinese Zodiac charm, and the Chinese script on the watch lends it a certain unique edge. There are better buys within the UNDONE range, despite the appeal of just 188 pieces for this iteration.

Pizza Hut China Franchise Launches Seagull Automatic

Nope, we didn’t know that Pizza Hut in China had partnered with Seagull to produce a 30th anniversary automatic watch. But there y’go.

Yum China Holdings, Inc., China’s largest restaurant company in terms of 2019 system sales, have held a series of activities across China to mark the 30th anniversary of Pizza Hut in the country. One of those was launching a watch with the famous Pizza Hut logo on the dial. Future collectors item? Maybe not, the humble Seagull movement is capable, and some say based on a Valjoux from the past, but this is more fun times than Financial Times investment plan.

To further commemorate the milestone, Pizza Hut has collaborated with Seagull, the manufacturer of China’s first domestically made wristwatch, to launch branded commemorative watches. In addition, Pizza Hut welcomed consumers to join the celebrations by launching a special limited-time 30th anniversary all-you-can-eat promotion at restaurants across China.

See you at the airport!