Beginner’s Guide to Movement Manufacturers

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Beginner’s Guide to Movement Manufacturers

Post by koimaster » July 19th 2021, 4:45pm

While the trend toward in-house movements continues to gain momentum for high-end watches, the vast majority of affordable watches remains dependent on mass-produced movements from external suppliers. When first entering the world of watches, it can be difficult to get an overview of the whole situation in order to better evaluate potential purchases. The sheer number of suppliers, as well as the fact that many of them give their movements different names depending on the purchasing brand, doesn’t help with this either. In this article, we briefly introduce the most important players in the supplier industry and their best known movements.


Although their days as a quasi-monopoly are over, Swatch subsidiary ETA is still the most important player on the market for Swiss-made mechanical movements. The company’s origins can be traced back to three historical movement manufacturers, namely FHF (Fabrique d’Horlogerie de Fontainemelon), AS (Adolph Schild), and AMSA (Adolphe Michel SA), which combined to form Ébauches SA in 1926. The name “ETA” came in a bit later.

In 1931, Ébauches SA joined forces with a large band of other Swiss companies to create ASUAG (a precursor to the Swatch Group) in an effort to prevent a catastrophic price war in the wake of the global economic collapse of 1929. One year later, watch manufacturer Eterna merged with ASUAG. Eterna was then forced to split into two separate companies: While Eterna continued producing watches, their movement division split off and became ETA SA. This series of mergers is the reason for the wide variety of names and styles among the movements still available from ETA: They were derived from the designs of previously independent companies. Names like Peseux, Valjoux, and Unitas are all evidence of this.

The best known and most commonly encountered ETA caliber is perhaps the 2824-2. It’s a three-hand automatic movement with a date display. While the “28” represents the movement family, the next two digits indicate the functions or complications. So, for example, the 2836-2 offers day and date, while the 2801-2 has no date display at all.

The ETA 2892 is another widespread movement, but it falls in a somewhat higher price category. You can recognize this caliber by its large central rotor bearings and because it’s flatter than the 2824-2. TAG Heuer refers to the 2892 as the “Calibre 7,” and Mühle Glashütte and Ulysse Nardin also each have their own versions of the movement.

ETA’s Valjoux 7750 is the most popular mechanical chronograph movement, while the Unitas series works particularly well in larger cases since its calibers are based on pocket watch movements. The small and flat hand-wound Peseux 7001 movement was particularly trendy in the compact men’s watches of previous decades. Louis Erard has long been a loyal purchaser of this movement, which, in combination with a module, runs the brand’s regulator models. ... s-p_64815/


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