Stauer and Steinhausen
From Chinese Watch Industry Wiki
Two of the most enduring of Chinese-made myth brands are Stauer and Steinhausen. Both first appeared in the early 2000s, advertizing mail-order watches in glossy magazines (e.g. in-flight, motoring, aviation etc). They were also sold from on-line shops. While by no means unique in their use of mythical heritage claims, these brands stand out for the elaborate and specific details of these claims.
Early Steinhausen advertisements claimed that their watch was an accurate replica of the 'world's first automatic watch' made by Steinhausen founder Ulrich Van-Hausen in Switzerland in 1923. the story was subsequently elaborated to say that the original had been lost and no patent had been issued, conveniently clearing up any historical conflict with John Harwood's famous 1923 patent. Currently the Steinhausen Classic Automatic claims to be an accurate replica of the 'world's first automatic calendar watch'. Given the thoroughly 21st Century style of the watch, even this lesser claim seems unlikely. Searches by members of the US National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors have failed to turn up any evidence of Van-Hausen or the watches he made. The Steinhausen brand continues to be sub-titled 'since 1923'.
The exact same watch, branded Stauer, was claimed to be an accurate replica of 'the most important watch ever built' for a US millionaire in 1933. The watch actually built by Patek Philippe for Henry Graves Jr in 1933 was a hand-winding pocket watch with 24 complications, not an automatic wristwatch with triple-date. Recent Stauer models have tended to 'evoke the spirit of' various American cultural or patriotic icons, rather than claiming to accurately replicate them; for example the 'Lincoln Watch' with a dial styled like that of the former president's Waltham, and a message inside the caseback echoing that of the original, but no claims of technical replication.
Both Stauer and Steinhausen use the word 'Swiss' extensively in their advertizing in such a fashion as to imply (but not state) substantial Swiss content.
The classic '1923'/'1933' style for both brands was at on time listed on the catalogue of Dixmont-Guangzhou, which rather gave the game away. That particular model continues to be available with the Dixmont brand. Interestingly the movement usually featured in the 1923 is a Shanghai design. More recent Stauer and Steinhausen watches have diversified to feature movements and cases from various manufacturers. These are all typically of-the-shelf OEM items. A couple of them even have Swiss movements!