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About Shanghai Watch Factory

The Shanghai Watch Factory is one of China's oldest and most renowned watchmakers. They have more than 50 years of experience in the manufacture of watch movements and complete watches. Before 1955, watch manufacturing in China consisted of importing complete movements and installing them in locally made cases. This activity was largely confined to the city of Shanghai. But in 1955 the Shanghai Watch Industry Association decided to organize 58 enterprises together to develop an entirely Chinese-made watch. in 1957 the quality was adequate to justify full production. these first trial watches bore the ‘He Ping (Peace) and “Dong Fang Hong’ (The East is Red). China's first watch factory, the Shanghai Watch Factory was completed in 1958, and production commenced of the A581 watch, introducing the brand Shanghai. The logo was the Chinese characters for Shanghai rendered as a stylized block. This was later replaced by a calligraphic style that has endured to the present.

The Shanghai Watch factory is best known in China itself because of its popularity in the early days of the people’s republic, a wristwatch was one of the “four big things” – along with a sewing machine, a bicycle and a radio – that people aspired to own in the period between the 1950s and the 1970s in China. At that time economic development was slow, resources were scarce, and most people lived in poverty; therefore, owning the “four big things” was the preserve of the affluent. 

A commonly-held belief of that time was that no girl would marry you if you didn’t have a watch. And the watch that everyone wanted was a Shanghai watch.


But why was owning a Shanghai watch preferable to owning a Seagull or a Beijing watch, both of which were also made in China? First of all because of the party, Mao Zedong wore one; Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai, too. Shanghai watches were for decades a status symbol among China's Communist Party elites, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai was the biggest fan. To support the national manufacturing industry, Zhou Enlai paid 120 yuan (now €16,45.-) to buy an A581 watch, which he wore on many important occasions. He wore the watch until his death. And it was removed from his wrist on the day he died on January 8, 1976.

Shanghai Watch Factory in Contemporary Times

Fast forward to 2019 and Shanghai Watch has returned to the market once again. They’re also hard-bent on executing a major upset on the market. They have largely targeted the luxury market and have launched classy timepieces designed by the famed Swiss watchmaker, Eric Giroud.

There are a few Shanghai Watch series worthy of a mention in that regard. One of them is the Shanghai Date Display SH799 – a steel-cased mechanical watch that dons a precious steel band which has a 41mm x 12mm movement and is shielded by synthetic sapphire glass.

Also, there is the Shanghai Tourbillon F18Z001. The F18Z001 is a classy Shanghai Watch featuring a 41mm x 14mm face, featuring fine cow leather straps. Its case is made of fine steel and the glass protection, like the SH799, is made from synthetic sapphire.


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