How to replace the ETA basic movement? Copy, replace, or produce in-house? Since 2010, the Swatch Group has successively announced plans to gradually stop the supply of third-party movements. Many brands that rely on reliable and affordable ETA products can only accept price increases and supply reductions. Faced with this situation, many brands have turned to alternative suppliers. For example, Sellita, the movement provided by this manufacturer is interchangeable with the movement produced by ETA, and thus occupies most of the share. Despite the crisis in the watchmaking industry, demand still exists, and some higher-end manufacturers such as Soprod and Vaucher have cut prices to meet demand. The performance of these alternative movements is almost the same as that of ETA movements, and the channels are open and applicable.
BVLGARI Octo Roma watch with BVL-191 movement
At the same time, about 20 brands choose to manufacture independently, gaining greater independence. These brands are developing or commissioning exclusive movements, and are even producing their own movements. However, they all have one major drawback: simplicity. Note that we are not talking about small-volume chronograph movements, tourbillon movements, or feature-complex movements. They are basic movements, usually three hands plus date and automatic / manual change. This type of movement is the backbone of the mechanical watchmaking industry. Mass-produced movements must remain economical so as not to disrupt the final price of the watch; at the same time they must have impeccable reliability, which is a demanding requirement for mass production.
Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Power Control watch with Caliber 01.08-C
Expensive and difficult choices have prompted these brands to take a long-term commitment to the industrial path. Their choice has proven to be decisive, because the Manufacture movement brings fresh diversity to the watchmaking industry and offers more benefits to watch lovers. Such as BVLGARI BVL-191, Montblanc MT5601 (and Tudor modified models), Cartier 1887MC, Chopard Caliber 01.08-C and Athens watch UN-118, these movements adapt to contemporary needs, its main features include: 60-65 hours Power reserve (compared to the previous 45 hours); larger size; speed governing mechanism or made of silicon to improve accuracy, usually certified by COSC. More importantly, these shifts did lead to increased costs, but had very limited impact on final prices. When the price rises sharply, the performance is also significantly improved. For example, the Oris Caliber 110 movement has a power reserve of up to 10 days.
Montblanc Timewalker chronograph MB 25.10 movement from Valfleurier
Baume & Mercier’s BM12-1975A on the Crichton Baumatic watch, from Valfleurier
A special case that deserves closer study is ValFleurier. This discreet and low-profile movement manufacturing company is part of Richemont Group, supplying parts for IWC, Panerai and Cartier, and has been providing complete and reasonably priced movements in recent years. The company’s products include a column wheel chronograph movement similar to ETA 2824, which is now used in Montblanc TimeWalker watches. At the SIHH 2018 in Geneva, the company took a new step with the Baume & Mercier Britmatic watch. The BM12-1975A self-winding movement on the Critton Baumatic watch is equipped with a dual-core silicon spring and a large calendar window. It has a power reserve of up to 120 hours and is COSC certified. Its price is 25% lower than similar ETA products, which is a strong proof that collaborative industrialization can bring benefits to watch lovers.