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  1. I was asked to do a review and comparison of two Chinese movements, the Seagull TY2130 and Hangzhou HZ6300, These two movements would be compared against the ubiquitous Standard grade ETA 2824-2 and a Top grade ETA 2004-1. I originally planned to do all my testing and tear down first then post the results, however with four movements, there was too much information for one initial post. So I am now going to do a running commentary of the test, disassembly and comparison as I finish each phase. Right now, I have four parts in this study, 1) Description & Initial Timing, 2) Tear-down and Comparison of Quality, 3) Interchangeability, and 4) Assessment. This will allow for comments to be posted after each part. Part one: Description and Initial timing tests Seagull TY2130 Hangzhou HZ6300 ETA 2824-2 TY2130, HZ6300 and ETA 2824-2 Type: Automatic mechanical lever movement Size: 25.60 mm (26.00 mm overall) x 4.60 mm Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 bph) Analog three hand display with quick change date, three position winding/setting stem. The ETA is a Standard grade with a gold plated nickel balance and Nivarox 2 balance spring, I do not know what material the Seagull and Hangzhou are using. ETA 2004-1 ETA 2004-1 Type: Automatic mechanical lever movement (uni-directional winding) Size: 23.30 mm (23.90 mm overall) x 3.60 mm Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 bph) Analog three hand display with quick change date, three position winding/setting stem. This is a Top grade ETA with a gold plated Glucydur balance and Anachron balance spring. The TY2130 and the HZ6300 were taken directly from the package, wound and placed on a Mumford MicroSet Watch Timer. Then after running (movements motionless) for 24 hours, the rate (CH only) was taken again to establish the Isochronism. The initial results were as follows: TY2130: Beat error: 0.3 ms Rate, CH (dial up): -4.8 seconds per day Rate, 9H (crown down): +0.6 s/d Isochronism: +9.6 s/d HZ6300: Beat error: 0.1 ms Rate, CH: +15.2 s/d Rate, 9H: +11.7 s/d Isochronism: -3.5 s/d ETA 2824-2 (Rado, recently serviced): Beat error: 0.2 ms Rate, CH: +2.7 s/d Rate, 9H: +2.0 s/d Isochronism: -8.2 s/d ETA 2004-1 (loose, recently serviced): Beat error: 0.0 ms Rate, CH: +3.4 s/d Rate, 9H: -3.4 s/d Isochronism: -7.5 s/d All the movements showed excellent rate stability and amplitude (around 310 degrees for the 2824s and 300 degrees for the 2004) over the 24 hours they were under test. Just for comparison, the specifications from ETA for the two movements are as follows: ETA 2824-2 (Standard grade) Rate: +/- 12 s/d Variation between all positions: 30 s/d Isochronism: +/- 20 s/d Amplitude: maximum 315 to 325 degrees; minimum 200 to 220 degrees ETA 2004-1 (Top grade) Rate: +/- 7 s/d Variation between all positions: 30 s/d Isochronism: +/- 25 s/d Amplitude: maximum 310 degrees; minimum 190 degrees So, we can see that the two TY2130 and HZ6300 samples, in the "as received" condition, are quite capable of meeting ETA minimum specifications, and show very good performance in the two positions tested. Note on the finish of the movements, The Rado ETA 2824-2 is plain gold plate with a very simple pattern on the rotor, the HZ6300 is plain nickel plate with absolutely no decoration. The TY2130 is finished in a manner similar to the ETA 2004-1 with a fine nickel plate and pearlage on the visible plates and Cote-de-Geneve on the rotor. From a strict utilitarian point of view, nickel plating is the best finish, but is slightly more expensive than gold plate due to the cost of handling the chemical waste associated with nickel plating. Also, pearlage and other decorations show up better on nickel plating. Part two: a) Tear-down The disassembly of the TY2130 and the HZ6300 is straight forward, and thanks to the design, there aren't many little springs to go flying (only one, in fact, the click spring, all of the other springs are integral with a larger part). This part will just show pictures the teardown of one sample, as two of the others will be the same and the teardown of the 2004-1 is not relevant to the thread. I find it easiest to start from the back and work forward. This portion will show the TY2130. First the rotor is removed. Then the two black screws for the autowinding bridge are removed, and carefully lift it off. After the autowinding bridge is removed, the Mainspring is let down, then the ratchet wheel, crown wheel, click and click spring are removed from the barrel bridge. Now, the barrel bridge is removed. We can see the placement of the balance stop (hack) lever. And then the train bridge comes off. Two views of the gear train. Then the balance and pallet fork come off. On the dial side, (this is the HZ6300) the minute train bridge is removed. The hour wheel, minute wheel, setting wheel, date corrector are removed. Then the rest of the calendar mechanism can be removed along with the cannon pinion. We mentioned the one loose spring in these movements, here it is, the click spring, along with the click and crown wheel. Now that they are apart, we get some comparison shots and give a good hard look to the quality of these movements. Found something interesting already. Here are comparison shots of the three mainplates, see if you can spot the one that is different. Back: Front: The major difference is how how the bridges are aligned to the main plate. Here are detail shots of the differences. The Hangzhou and ETA use holes in the mainplate and trepanned studs on the bridges, the Seagull uses holes in the bridges and holes with pins in the mainplate. The Seagull uses the method favored by Selitta in the SW200, except for the balance bridge, where Seagull uses the ETA method. Seagull: Hangzhou: ETA: Why do I find this interesting? Putting pins in holes and controlling accuracy to a few hundredths of a millimeter is a hell of a lot easier than trepanning a stud, and saves material. The stock material for a trepanned stud must start out with sufficient material to allow for the stud to be cut out. The Hangzhou also does have a few additional holes drilled in it, but all of these hole are non-functional, either pilot holes for a day/date mainplate, or additional holes for oiling and/or inspection. One other thing that is not readily apparent in the long range shots above is the Seagull was completely devoid of any oil. The Hangzhou was well oiled. Seagull jewels, no oil: Hangzhou, note the oild bead on the jewels and the oil spread discoloring the plate: Before I go any further, if you what to see a particular part of either of the movements go ahead and ask now, as space constraints on my desk top may require these to be reassembled. Part two: B) Comparison of Quality The easiest way to do this is line up the parts side by side and let you see what differences there are. All parts are laid out in the same manner, from left to right; Seagull, Hangzhou, ETA 2824. The 2004 parts are so different, as it is based on the 2892 architecture they are not included in the side-by-side comparison. The pallet fork: Seagull: Hangzhou: ETA 2824: ETA 2004: The two ETAs certainly use less shellac on the pallet stones. The Seagull seems to have allowed some bubbles as well. Pallet and pallet bridge: Balance and balance cock: Escape wheel: Seagull: Hangzhou: ETA: Train wheels: Seagull center wheel: Hangzhou center wheel: ETA center wheel: Close-up of the third wheel: More 3rd wheels: Seagull: Hangzhou: ETA: Barrel: Barrel and train bridges: Autowind bridge (disassembled): Rotors: Rotor center gear and bearing: Seagull: Hangzhou: ETA: Date wheel: Close-up of the Seagull autowind bridge rotor axle: Same shot of the Hangzhou: Just a shot of the same place on the underside of the three movements: Seagull: Hangzhou: ETA: The rest of the story is told from the back side of the autowind bridge: (Seagull on the left, as usual, ETA not shown, as it is the same as the Hangzhou, except for three jewels) Close-up, Seagull: Close-up, Hangzhou: The original design for the autowind bridge is that the rotor post be a separate part staked into the bridge. This was probably done so at some point the post could be removed (the autowind bridge design is shared with other movements without ball bearing rotor). However, the current application with only a ball bearing rotor and no relative motion the post, this is a superfluous requirement. So, Seagull simplified the design to eliminate one part and three manufacturing operations Aside from the unsightlyness of the off-center hole, it really has no influence on the operation of the rotor, the screw that goes in the hole is only there to retain the inner bearing race. And, just as a point of reference, although it looks huge in the picture the screw hole is only off-center by 0.044 mm (or 0.0017 inches, for US.) Part four - Assessment I am not a Swissphile, most of the work I do is on stuff that professional watchmakers don’t have the time or inclination to do, which leads to a lot of Chinese and Japanese stuff and the low end vintage junk. So, I feel I am well acquainted with what the Far East can offer. With that preface, I will say this of the three 2824-2 we looked at, the ETA is the best of the three. The Rado was a NOS from the mid to late 1980's, and aside from the lower jewel count is just as good as the ones produced today. Does this mean the other two are inferior movements? Hardly, the deciding factors are not in the functional areas, but in the areas that are done because that is how you make a quality product, cleaning up the unseen and well as the seen. The Hangzhou is the better of the remaining two, in terms of workmanship. If you look at these two pictures: You will note that the underside of the screw hole is properly chamfered on the Hangzhou, while the Seagull it is not. This is typical of the work on the under side of all parts of the Seagull. The overall finish of the plates in general is better on the Hangzhou, there is an absence of tooling marks and tooling chatter. Chatter and tooling marks on the Seagull (left). Cleaning up little things like the pallet fork (Hangzhou - right) My estimate is that these two movements, the Seagull and the Hangzhou are priced about the same. The additional work done on the Seagull to decorate the external features is compensated for by skipping minor non-essential work in unseen areas. While the Hangzhou maintains a uniform dull workmanlike finish everywhere. Also, the Hangzhou is manufactured more like the ETA than the Seagull, every part and almost every machine cut is the same on the Hangzhou as on the ETA. It just has three more jewels (for a total of 28, same as the Seagull.) The Seagull, however, is not “just a copy” of he ETA 2824-2. It is a re-engineered version of the ETA 2824-2. Unnecessary, wasteful and difficult processes have been removed and a more simplified process put in their place. This is another way Seagull can spend more time on making the outside pretty, without increasing the production time and thus controlling the cost. Which one would I use in a watch, if I were to make one (on a mass scale)? The Seagull. Now, you may ask why would I pick the one that I have just ranked the lowest for my choice. There are several reasons, not the least is the name “Seagull,” which does carry some weight, in that it is known as a quality movement producer. The second reason is the Seagull just looks so much better that the poor plain Hangzhou. And third, there is no real performance reason not to. The Seagull is just as clean and nice where it matters as either the ETA or the Hangzhou. General notes on the overall design of the 2824-2 - The 2824-2 is the end of a long and involved evolution of movements. The end requirement was, apparently to make the least expensive movement possible, while maintaining reliability. Just about all of the springs are integrated into the parts that need them, this makes the 2824-2 one of the easier movements to work on. By using the design of the ETA 2824-2, the Chinese have copied one of the best (affordable) movements offered by the Swiss today. It is not a vintage Elgin, from say, 1950, (the pinnacle of movement making, in my opinion) or a Rolex 3135, but then these movements don’t cost what an Elgin did in 1950, or what a 3135 does today. Provided the watch manufacturer keeps fingers off the balance wheel and dust and debris from floating around the inside of the case, either of the two Chinese movements should provide an excellent engine for any watch. Well, back to the subject, both the Seagull and the Hangzhou have been reassembled and are running fine. The Hangzhou initially had a problem, and I though back to Alpha-Getty's comments and though it might be prophetic, as the Hangzhou was showing wild variations in amplitude. But, after taking it back down again and cleaning it again, it has settled down to a good 300 degree amplitude. (There was a piece of pith wood stuck on a wheel pivot.) Both were cleaned and oiled, the Seagull showed a minor change in rate, picking up a second, probably due to the addition of oil. It is now running at -3.4 seconds per day. The Hangzhou showed a greater change (I believe it had a tad too much oil on it) and is running a very nice +4.5 s/d. Also, while reassembling these movements, I noticed that the pictures in this thread are not really representative of the movements. After all, showing something at 12x larger than life tends to show the worst side. Take the pictures of the pallet forks (below for reference) these look like they have a 16 finish on them and were made by a cave man with a cold chisel and a hammer. The reality is they are nice shiney little parts, maybe not as shiny as the ETA, but quite well made. At 12x, the beauty of the decorative finish is also lost. The pearlage on the autowinding bridge on the Seagull looks quite poor when enlarged, at 1x, it is a very nice job that they did. With better composition and lighting, we can show thes little beauties in all their glory. Something like this ETA 2821-1 is easily their equal: On another subject broached here, oiling, or lack of, I have been thinking. A well made movement, sent out from the factory bone dry will probably last 10 to 15 years of constant use before wear will disable it. But, not oiling reduces the likelihood of over-oiling problems which would usually lead to returns. So, by purposely neglecting to oil the movements is a wise business choice, as these movements are not intended to be heirlooms and passed from generation to generation, but neat little fashion accessories (that tell time) and are replaced when the owner becomes bored with it, or something else catches their eye. Two shots to better show the quality of the finish. The TY2130 HZ6300
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