Chinese Watch Parts Review

Making yourself a custom watch, from parts you source on Ebay from China is relatively easy.  I was happy to make this watch, as I had a customer who asked me to make several different versions.  After spending the time to assemble, them dis-assemble, then fully service and test the watch, I will admit, I’m surprised a bit, and well, disappointed a bit.

For those of you who purchase products on Ebay, Amazon or other online shopping sites, lets just clearafy that Ebay’s contract with China to deliver parts within 12 days does work.  No waiting for a month or so to get these items.

However, just because you can get them fast, doesn’t mean that they are wonderful products.  I don’t think that I have to remind anyone online that not everything that comes from Asia is the best quality that you’ll ever hold in our hand.

DG3804 GMT Service

DG3804 GMT Original Opinion


Similarly, watches that come from the Chinese market don’t usually hold up to too much use or abuse.  I knew that I was taking a chance here.  I don’t think I would have ever gone this far unless my customer hadn’t asked me to make a few watches for him.

Watch my Video Review Here

Here is my review on Youtube


Where to get the Parts, are they worth it?

Having been doing this kind of work for almost a quarter of a century, I will admit, I’m a bit bias to watch movements from Japan, and Europe.  I am especially pleased with the quality of watch movements from ETA, Rolex, and ISA from the factor of a mechanical movements perspective.

However, when we look at the collectable watch market, Invicta comes to mind, first because they are cheap, secondly, because QVC has done a great job of marketing.  Most of their watches, use Chinese manufactured movements.  Modeled after Swiss watch movements.  I could keep going, but I wont…

Many of you, who see these watches, the watch parts, bands, dials and other watch items get the idea that you can also make your own watch.  Yes, this is true.  If I can do it, so can you.

The quality of the parts, especially the movements, however is something that you really have to take the time to consider.  A GMT watch movement from China may only cost you $40.00 or so.  A Swiss GMT movement on the other hand, may cost as much as $600.00, and average out around $300.00.  That is a big difference.

Watch cases and bands from Europe will be in the $150.00 to $600.00 range.  Cases made in the US will be well over $350.00.  Yet, you can get a case, with what ever bezel you want, style you want and band to fit it for under $60.00 on Ebay, from China.  You’ll also get it in less than two weeks!

Dials, Hands, and other materials are also readily available and very inexpense.

Here are some links for you to check out…

  • GMT Watch Movements (China)
  • Dials (China)
  • Hands (China)
  • Cases or Bands (China)

After 4 weeks, what do I think!

If you didn’t see my video about the service of this watch movement, I really suggest you check it out.  It was a nightmare to re-assemble the movement, but I’m glad that I did.

First, let me go over the quality of the parts I used.

Hands and Dial:  I will say that as far as these parts go, I’m very pleased with the dial and hands.  For the most part, they work perfectly.  Fitness is great, and the quality of the final products was a 9.5 out of 10.  Glow-In-The-Dark or luminescence however lacks in its longevity after removal of any light source.  To be expected however.

Case and Band:  Again, I’m happy with the quality of the band and the case that I chose.  They are heavy, and well made.  No, they are not perfect, but, to be expected at this price range, and frankly, I think for the value, you are making are extremely well.  The buckle as I mentioned in the video, could be a bit better.  The fact that the bezel on the case is someone “spinny” bothers me a bit, because if I hit the watch just right, the bezel will turn a notch or two on its own.  Whether it is a one way or two way turning bezel is simply not important of a consideration here.

The DG3804 GMT Movement:  Well, of course you can probably guess, this was the one area that I think could be improved here.  The movement does work.  After a complete and full service to the watch, I was able to get it running about 3 to 5 seconds fast per day.  I’m sure that I could get it better, but, the fact that the movement manufacturing quality is not the best, I’m satisfied with the results.  As you can see, there is a lot of play in the gears, and that does bother me because it will cause the watch to run a bit erratic and, of course, no one wants their watch to run poorly.

I will add this however.  If you wear a mechanical watch, you should note that after a while, your watch will loose its accuracy.  There are just no two ways about it.  They are not computers, and mechanical devices, even watches, are subject to outside influences.  Over time, they will wear out, and that is a fact of life.  Your care, and maintenance of your watch will generally make it last a long time, but what was once perfect, over time will no longer be perfect.

The problem with the Chinese watches on Ebay, is that they are not perfect to begin with, and that in it self is a choice you will have to make when and if you decide to build your own watch.  

I hope that you all appreciated the short lesson here.  Please check out my other videos and blogs regarding jewelry and watches, and I hope you enjoy them.

Take care.

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