Dixmont Guangzhou Watch Company
From Chinese Watch Industry Wiki
Founded in 1958, the Guangzhou Watch Company are a major manufactuer of mechanical watches and watch movements. Their watches are sold under the brand names of 'Dixmont' and 'Guangzhou', as well as being produced as OEM. The greater part of the company's output is watch movements for both Chinese and foreign watch companies. Many of these movements are sold through PTS Resources, Hong Kong.
The main movement series produced by Dixmont-Guangzhou are the DG28 and DG38 series automatic movements. These are of similar design to the popular Japanese Miyota 8200 series, and in date or day/date form they are dimensionally identical to the Miyota. Besides the basic models, there are many variants with triple-calendar, GMT, big-date and other complications, as well as skeleton versions. A thin version is designated DG48, and there is a 3/4-plate hand-winding version designated DG18.
Dixmont-Guangzhou's premium movements are the DG80 and DG81 automatic tourbillons, possibly the most popular automatic tourbillon movement currently in production. They can be found in watches by Trias, and many other international brands.
In 1958 a trial watch manufacturing project was started in Guangzhou. Two prototypes were produced within a month, largely scratch-built, but with bought in springs and jewels. On the basis of this success, plans were made for a Guangzhou Watch Factory. Due to several problems (relocation of a railway line, discovery of a minefield) a suitable location was not found until 1962.
The following year, development commenced on the Guangzhou brand SG-3 watch, based on duplicate tooling to that used for the Beijing BS-2. It took a further 2 years to reach production. The contrast in quality between the BS-2 and SG-3 was stark. Certain vintage Chinese watches are sought after, not for their fine quality, but rather because they are of such poor quality that scarecely any survive. The SG-3 was one such watch. Poor mangement, poor tooling, economic and political turmoil, and vibrations from a nearby army test range dogged the Guangzhou Factory. In 1969, the factory finally relocated.
In 1975, following 2 years of development, production commenced of SG-4 'Guangzhou' watches using the Chinese Standard Movement. A calendar version followed in 1978, and the SG-5 small movement for women's watches was developed in 1980.
The opening up of China to foreign imports in 1983, just as cheap quartz watches were becoming common, had a devestating effect on the Guangzhou Watch Factory. Being so close to Hong Kong, a major quartz watch manufacturer, meant that the domestic market for simple hand-winding watches dried up almost overnight. The factory quickly implemented designs for day/date and automatic versions of the SG-4 as well as the SG-6ZS; a large-plate, date and auto version of the SG-5 (a similar concept to Sea-Gull's ST6). Export of these value-added movements to Hong Kong to feed the residual mechanical watch market saved the factory. By the 1990s, the factory was established as a major supplier of mechanical movements. The new export-focussed brand name Dixmont was also launched during this period.
In the 21st century, Dixmont-Guangzhou have continued to develop new movements tailored to the needs of international clients. The DG28/38 series, similar in design to the popular Miyota automatics, is also dimensionally compatable with cases designed for the Miyota. A wide variety of complications are available on this base movement, and development continues of new variants. Variants include hand-winding (not automatic), skeletonized, oversized main plate, calendar complications and dual time.
The DG48 series uses the same design but with the plates cut thinner to bring the movement down to equivalent dimensions as the popular Swiss ETA 2824. The escapment has been up-graded to 28,800 bph. The DG69 series is a mildly revised design with an even greater reduction in height, bringing it down to the dimensions of the ETA 2892. An even thinner hand-winding-only version is available.
With the more advanced DG80 and DG81 series, Guangzhou has pioneered the incorporation of a compact auto-winding system in a tourbillon movement.