My first experience with Valjoux movements was in Vietnam. Along Dong Khoi street and in the roads behind the big bus station opposite Binh Thanh in Saigon, I used to see a lot of empty Swiss watch cases from brands like Enicar, Breitling, Tissot in the display cases of shops selling genuine watches.
After getting to know some of the watch sellers reasonably well, I asked them why they had so many of these old watch cases and one of them candidly told me that they use these movements to make replica’s of higher end Swiss watches like early Rolex Daytona’s. Basically, they would buy older of less popular brands and use these movements to make copies of more expensive models.
After a couple of years, I realized that this is a huge market and buyers from Europe (mainly Germans) and Japanese would commission these guys to make close to original copies of classic watches from the 60’s and 70’s. This is in fact such a flourishing trade that I know of one watch seller who has closed his shop on Dong Khoi – partly because it is getting harder and harder to find good quality watches from the 50’s to 70’s – who now employs 3 watchmakers full time to churn out fakes.
Lower overheads and much better margins.
Today, many brands still use Valjoux movements in their watches and the Valjoux 7750 is I think the most popular of these although it is getting on in years. My buddy Andrew, picked up this nice looking Tissot for less than $800 a couple of weeks ago from Eastern Watch in Lucky Plaza and it is powered by a Valjoux movement.
The Valjoux is essentially based on an ETA movement from the 60’s and is therefore also known as an ETA 7750. It is a widely used chronograph (stop watch) movement operated by cams integrated into the movement. The system and movement were developed by Edmond Capt in 1970, as a fully integrated self-winding mechanism with quick-set day/date based on the Valjoux 7733
The movement is an automatic winding, twenty-five (25) jewel movement, which is so flexible, it can be fitted with a variety of features including the triple date (day, date, month and moon phase) or a variety of two and three register models with totalizers or counters for minutes, seconds and hours. Like other ETA movements, it is available in three executions or grades: Elaborated, Top and Chronometer with similar accuracies.