This week a story about a little-known independent watchmaker from Chongqing spread like wildfire (among watch enthusiasts in China) after being posted on the official Wechat account for Watchlead, China’s largest watch forum. Qin Gan (秦干) hand produces enamel dial repeater watches with startlingly interesting features. This original story in Chinese, found here, was a tough one to make my way through, but I think the short version goes like this…
The article states that “like many of the world’s finest watch makers,” Qin Gan began by repairing antique clocks and watches. According to the article, he came to be known as one of the finest antique clock repairman in China. After years of perfecting his craft and becoming intricately familiar with the workings of timepieces, he decided to begin creating his own timepieces by hand in his “small workshop, dense with handmade watchmaking tools.” In order to make the watches, he first had to make his own tools. The author writes that “on his work bench stood many bizarre homemade gadgets.”
According to the article, one of his “masterpieces” completed in 2014 was a minute repeater with 257 parts, 33 jewels, independent governor and even a retrograde 12 hour indicator. The original movement was apparently a Swiss F465N, but extremely modified with mostly handmade parts.
Of course I cannot verify the functionality or accuracy of these watches, but nevertheless I really enjoyed the pictures of his creations! I’m in the process of reaching out to Qin Gan, and hopefully I’ll be able to provide a lot more information soon!