When you think of fine time pieces, one automatically thinks of Switzerland and other parts of Europe, but this is a little unfair as not all of the great watch brands come from these areas. Almost everywhere you look around the world, you will find innovative quality brands and it is no different in China.
Some of the more snobbish watch collectors will baulk at the idea of owning a watch made in China, citing issues such as quality and lack of styling, perceptions that are thrown around with little basis. We say little basis as no matter what country you go to in the world, even Switzerland, there are both the good and bad, and because of the number of good brands, you rarely hear about the bad ones. Also longevity and brand awareness are key aspects in forming most peoples perception. This means that newer players to the market, especially those not based within the traditional homes of watchmaking will always be slightly disadvantaged.
One man who is changing the perception of Chinese-made time pieces is French born, Adrien Choux, the founder of Hong Kong based watchmaker, The Chinese Timekeeper. If Adrien worked for one of the Swiss giants, watch aficionados would hang on his every word, he is French! Stylish, well-spoken and knows the world of horology like the back of his hand. So when he shows one of his watches and tells people that they are completely made in China, the stunned look on faces is priceless. His collection combines both style, originality and quality, the core aspects for any quality watch brand.
Adrien has used his previous experience working at Officine Panerai coupled with his Gallic flair and Joie de vivre to produce watches that garner a loyal and growing following around the world. A good example of his passion for fine watch design and love of China can be found in his White Jade Automatic (CTK18). At 44mm, it is not a small watch, the stainless steel case is PVD coated in black, perfectly complementing the black face with eleven white jade gemstones indicating the numerals and the Chinese Timekeeper logo at 12 O Clock. The final finishing touch to the CTK18 is a Taupe-coloured snakeskin strap with buckle.
It is not just Monsieur Choux that is changing the perception of Chinese-made watches, he just happens to have one of the highest profiles. The world of high-end watchmaking could well be in for a big shake-up as an exceptional collection of Chinese watch manufactures move into the international marketplace, offering timepieces that match many of the better known brands and most importantly at a more realistic price point.
If you happen to be in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong (Stone Nullah Lane), pop in and take a look around his boutique, and see the quality of his watches first-hand.