MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Chinese watch Museum and travels to China
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AlbertaTime
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MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by AlbertaTime » December 21st 2021, 7:11pm

An eagerly anticipated retro-styled Merkur watch arrived, and I'm solidly impressed, especially at the price, which is well under $100USD as I write this.

It's a very respectfully VCM inspired piece, but with a more modern 38mm case w/o crown, an attractive case back and the crown is signed. The dial details are clean and sharp, and the crystal (which I take to be sort of mineral--a slight downside, because I prefer acrylic), handles light like acrylic, and that's a big advantage.

The Merkur website shows the movement, which they describe as a self-developed "Vanzi". I didn't remove this caseback. I might, but not for now. Suffice to say, it looks very much like a modified Tongji--and I'm fine with that. Also: the watch came on a canvas strap not that much like what was shown in the renders, but that doesn't disappoint me at all. Anyone who is familiar with my collection knows I really like canvas straps and this is a nice one, with good hardware.

The watch also came with an (unexpected) expansion bracelet, with non-solid curved ends (very traditional and consistent with vintage Chinese watches--and I might use it, but not right now. Nothing wrong with it, at all--just not what I want.

A big plus: the watch also came in a very nice zippered plastic case, which is shown in my photos, and a Merkur cleaning cloth.

So...the photos...

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It's clearly not a $1000 watch, but for under a hundred bucks? SOLD to a very happy me!!

I know Merkur has more plans for vintage inspired pieces, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them.
Curator: Alberta Museum of Chinese Horology in Peace River

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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by AlbertaTime » December 21st 2021, 8:48pm

Nuvolari wrote:
December 21st 2021, 7:25pm
Great work, Ron! Excellent write-up and top-notch images!

They should call one of their calibers or a future model XR4Ti…
Thanks! And. yep, I know about the Merkur cars ...and safety razors Image
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by AlbertaTime » December 21st 2021, 8:53pm

Jason, John, thank you both for your kind comments.

I mentioned elsewhere that Chopard, Jaquet Droz, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget and others have no hesitation gathering design ideas from Chinese art for their watches, and they know there's customers waiting for them when they do it.

So: more of this, please, from Chinese companies.

As for the photos, two things:

1) I used my Samsung S8+ and it performs wonderfully for this stuff.

2) this watch is brain-dead easy to shoot. There's almost no reflection from the crystal at all. It was a really quick photo session because of that.
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by jason_recliner » December 21st 2021, 10:17pm

AlbertaTime wrote:
December 21st 2021, 8:53pm

As for the photos, two things:

1) I used my Samsung S8+ and it performs wonderfully for this stuff.

2) this watch is brain-dead easy to shoot. There's almost no reflection from the crystal at all. It was a really quick photo session because of that.
Blows my mind that you used a phone - I would have sworn it's a DSLR with macro lens. Just goes to show that it's not the equipment, it's how you use it.
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by jason_recliner » December 21st 2021, 10:21pm

The website is awesome! I am fascinated by the inlaid real nail technology and spinning needle! On a more serious note, I love that they provide real technical information about how they achieve such a high quality watch. Very impressive.
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by AlbertaTime » December 21st 2021, 10:39pm

jason_recliner wrote:
December 21st 2021, 10:21pm
The website is awesome! I am fascinated by the inlaid real nail technology and spinning needle! On a more serious note, I love that they provide real technical information about how they achieve such a high quality watch. Very impressive.
"High quality" is a relative thing, but I do think this watch is good value for the dollar. Using the tried and true Tongji (Chinese standard), even with whatever improvements they've made to call it their own makes repair easy and cheap, pretty much anywhere. I'd have preferred sapphire over K1 (hardlex?) but at this price, it's not a deal breaker.

That noted: *no one* -- not even Chinese manufacturers -- can make a $500 watch for $100...but it *is* possible for Chinese competitors to make a competitive $100 dollar watch for $100, or even a little less. Up till recently, Japan has pretty much owned that territory, and it's Japan (especially in quality control) that I still think China needs to pay attention to, not only QC but alloy quality (Seiko bezel misalignment aside).

Still, I think Merkur is offering nice designs at a good price, and I'll support them as they improve (I hope). I confess I have mixed feelings about "Pierre Paulin" as a brand name for a Chinese watch. I don't think such misdirection helps Chinese horology in its efforts to be taken seriously. But some of the Pierre Paulin watches are pretty good looking and there's a couple I'd happily wear (even more happily with Merkur branding).
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by AlbertaTime » December 21st 2021, 10:43pm

jason_recliner wrote:
December 21st 2021, 10:17pm
Blows my mind that you used a phone - I would have sworn it's a DSLR with macro lens. Just goes to show that it's not the equipment, it's how you use it.
That's appreciated, Jason. Thank you.
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by AlbertaTime » December 22nd 2021, 6:36pm

3Flushes wrote:
December 22nd 2021, 12:45am
Very cool looking, AT.

Lots of interesting watches hitting the market lately, I'm currently - finally- looking for a nicely packaged ST-19.
When it comes to ST-19, I always suggest HKED first, because although the ST19 is a decent movement, assembly and customer support count. Which models and/or sellers are you checking out?
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by AlbertaTime » December 22nd 2021, 6:45pm

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments. I don't buy many watches these days (no shortage at my place) but I had to grab this one :-)

And they have others that call to me...oh woe is me...wallet...

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I mean, I'd grab a different strap for both these but these are nice ST-19s...

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...and this is...different...but I could make it work...

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...and Pierre Paulin isn't the worst created European name I've heard...oh lordy, my budget Image

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...and this doesn't suck for under a hundred bucks...

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enablersRus™

/be strong, Ron
Last edited by AlbertaTime on December 22nd 2021, 9:14pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by AlbertaTime » December 22nd 2021, 7:10pm

bbattle wrote:
December 22nd 2021, 6:50pm
On that Merkur website, I like the "vintage 70's" watch:

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Me too... I know watches from other countries used the cross-lines, but so did very legit VCMs, like this 70's Dongfeng (photo from Neobiao). It's a cool retro look.

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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by 3Flushes » December 23rd 2021, 3:20am

AlbertaTime wrote:
December 22nd 2021, 6:36pm
3Flushes wrote:
December 22nd 2021, 12:45am
Very cool looking, AT.

Lots of interesting watches hitting the market lately, I'm currently - finally- looking for a nicely packaged ST-19.
When it comes to ST-19, I always suggest HKED first, because although the ST19 is a decent movement, assembly and customer support count. Which models and/or sellers are you checking out?
I like the 1963 but for $300+ the NATO is cheesy and I think the Red Star moon phase is cool looking - do they hold up? LIW sells them. The HKED's I liked with the cream dials are currently sold out but the reverse panda is cool.
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by AlbertaTime » December 23rd 2021, 8:54am

3Flushes wrote:
December 23rd 2021, 3:20am
I like the 1963 but for $300+ the NATO is cheesy and I think the Red Star moon phase is cool looking - do they hold up? LIW sells them. The HKED's I liked with the cream dials are currently sold out but the reverse panda is cool.
It's always worth sending an email to Ed to see what he might be able to put together. Tell him what you'd like, and see. I don't know about the moonphase version at all, but LIW has a good rep for service, and that's important. One of the coolest looks I've seen with 63 variants is a milanese bracelet, and a google search for "1963 watch milanese" will show quite a few, so that's a decent and not too costly aftermarket solution to the NATO quandary.
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by Thunder1 » December 23rd 2021, 9:32am

Many a Watch God raise their ale filled gourds in salute to your fine ass pick up..they all give it 2 spears up!!..
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Ebels are a lot like women that lack a low cut dress that zips up the side...neither get the love that they deserve...
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Re: MERKUR vintage inspired Model 1855118

Post by jason_recliner » December 23rd 2021, 4:26pm

bbattle wrote:
December 23rd 2021, 3:32pm
I selected the Chinese Yanwen...
Yeah, she's great. Ask her for the 'Spring Roll Special'.

(Great looking watch, too.)
Last edited by jason_recliner on December 24th 2021, 4:45am, edited 1 time in total.
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