This week I was kindly invited over for a trip through the Guangzhou Five Goats Watch Company, formerly Guangzhou Watch Factory. Guangzhou was one of the original 8 cities where state owned watch factories were established in 1958 (read more about the history of watchmaking in China here). Today, only a handful of those original 8 factories are still producing, and Guangzhou is still going strong. Ownership has changed hands a few times, and since 2011 they have been making watches under the Guangzhou and Dixmont brand names. While the Guangzhou name is obvious in origin, Dixmont was apparently named for the small town in France known for its "beautiful scenery, and classic elegance." The two brands are essentially the same, the only difference in many watches is the logo on the dial. The Guangzhou brand seems to be more popular in China, while the Dixmont brand can be found growing in popularity in other countries including Germany, Ireland and France.
I was first taken through the showroom where I got to check out a lot of very sharp watches. The majority of their watches use automatic movements made on site there in the factory. I was a bit shy about snapping too many pictures for fear of interrupting the work at hand, but the laser-guided focus of the watchmakers was extremely impressive and I don't think they even noticed the big awkward foreigner gawking over their shoulders.
Prices for mechanical watches range from RMB280 ($45) for a simple hand-wound mechanical, to RMB6888 ($1100) for a quality automatic. The stainless steel Dixmont chronograph pictured below was very comfortable, and at 42mm was perfect for my wrist. It features a date window and sub-dial at 12 o'clock displays the month. The larger sub-dial at 6 o'clock stands out from the rest of the watch face, and the day/night indicator adds an interesting and different touch to an otherwise sporty watch.
The company is also starting to venture into the tourbillon world and offers a pretty wide range of selection. I admit I'm not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to tourbillons. From the little bit I've read and learned about it, the functional benefit of a tourbillon are (if any) extremely minimal. Personally I have a hard time accepting the enormous prices for a function that's not even beneficial in theory. But for those of you who are interested, you'll be happy to know that prices fall somewhat below astronomical prices. Guangzhou Five Goats Watch Company has tourbillon watches starting at RMB13,800 ($2225) and toping out at RMB136,000 ($22,000). I'll be updating soon with more photos including some tourbillon watches.
Thanks Lily and Andy for your hospitality! Check out Guangzhou Five Goats Watch Company here.