Socialist Movements

Revolutions in time: Production of cheap mechanical watches meant that millions of Chinese could own timepieces

European watchmakers are competing for lucrative slices of the China market, but not everyone in the world's fastest-growing economy is interested in a Chopard or a Blancpain. One small clique of collectors prefers to concentrate on homegrown brands — and they don't mean upscale makes. Their obsession is for mechanical watches produced by communist factories from the 1950s to the 1970s, and stems from a mixture of historical curiosity and opportunism. It's an area of collecting that has been barely explored, with no price barriers to entry.

Hong Kong native Joel Chan is one...

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