Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shanghai 上海 A-581



Model : A-581
Manufacturer : Shanghai Watch Factory (上海手表厂)
Year of Production: 1962 
Case Diameter : 
Weight w/o strap: g 
Movement Model : A-581 (17 jewels) 
Type : Hand Wind

This Shanghai A-581 is my second watch in Shanghai 581 series. The first 581 is Shanghai A581 (the post is here; also see the same post for more information about Shanghai 581 series). The difference between the two models is the "-" between the "A" and "581". This A-581 has all the six authentic features of Shanghai 581 as outlined in the  post. 


The caseback is engraved with "QUAN GANG" (全钢) which literally means all stainless steel, i.e. both the watch case and the caseback are in stainless steel. A-581 with this caseback is the first full stainless steel watch in the series.

Ascertaining the time of production of this Shanghai A-581:
  • the caseback of type #6 of this post of micmicmor website and according to the post it should be produced in 1962 - 1963;
  • the Zuan (jewel) in Chinese had been in simple form "占“ until about 1964; this watch has "占“ printed on it;
  • it has a date code of 6210A under its balance wheel which means the first batch of production in October 1962;
  • the balance wheel is not screw compensated; it was screw compensated in earlier Shanghai 581. According to the micmicmor's post this improved movement should be produced from about 1964.
There date code is inconsistent with the first three bullet points. If micmicmor's post on the compensated balance wheel is correct, this balance wheel could have been replaced by previous owner although I think it is quite unlikely to be the case.

This watch in its original form is as below:


I stumbled upon the 581 dial in taobao.com which was, according to the seller, a NOS (I believe it is a remake rather than a NOS) and replaced that 'overly cleaned' old dial with this new face. Voilà,  its glorious days are restored!


[Added on 31 December 2012]

Many people have asked me about the method of acquiring the Chinese watches. In short, being based in Brisbane, the most effective way is buying through Taobao. However, Taobao is not that 'friendly' to customers outside of China. I have therefore been using Taobao buying agents to aid the hunts. From my experience in dealing with these agents, I prefer 86daigou as it is not only reliable but the fee is also competitive. I have a thread about this in WUS forum , see the link here. I hope this has answered the question.

[End for addition on 31 December 2012]





My other watch in Shanghai 581 series:
1. Shanghai 上海 A581