March 1967 Shanghai SS1A (second year of production)

The date code BC is B/second year of production and C/month.

The SS1A was a major development/improvement that followed an earlier set of movements much more closely based on the first Shanghai movement, the A-581. The first SS1A movements were produced in 1966.

Although arguably still based on the A-581 series, I see it more as a transitional movement between the more typical 581 movements (the others in that series all looked quite the same with only minor visual differences) and the Tongji or standard movement. 

Here's a 581 movement for comparison.

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...and a tongji/Chinese standard movement.

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Was this meant for party officials or was this for everyday folks?  It has more of the party official vibe. I like how the gold accents aid readability and also let you dress it up or down.  It is a very pretty watch.

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Aurelian

Was this meant for party officials or was this for everyday folks?  It has more of the party official vibe. I like how the gold accents aid readability and also let you dress it up or down.  It is a very pretty watch.

This was regular issue, but expensive. 

Here's another example of a general distribution watch of a very slightly later time, from 1973. I'd argue it's at least as elegant, a 1524-726 model that that carries a high-beat SS1K movement, a later version of the original post watch's movement, above.. 

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Shanghai and other factories of the time were producing some very nice watches. At the time, though, watches were rationed. They could be purchased by anyone with a card, but "everyday folks" in China, like everywhere, has some hierarchy. It's a range.

The thing is, even the famous A623 "Minister's Watch", China's first date movement watch, worn by Zhou EnLai , who got the very first piece off the line, even his watch was also available to coupon holders. If you could get one, and afford it.

A co-moderator at Watchuseek (I mod there) Zhang, with the moniker "soviet", lives in Beijing, and described things like this: 

"[I] can answer some of the questions how a person got the coupon. There were coupons for watches, bicycles, furniture, etc. So when a coupon arrives, people in a working unit would discuss who this time should get the coupon. Usually it is the guy who needs it most would get it. For example, a guy was to get married, or the guy who never got a coupon, etc.  It was very democratic. It is not only for coupon. For example , I got the chance to attend a one year college course by voting of all members of my working unit. There might be other ways to distribute the coupons though."

And: watches were expensive. For most workers, a watch would cost the equivalent of saving roughly all of three or more months worth of wages. But they were a highly sought after sign of accomplishment and higher respectability, along with bicycles, sewing machines, and radios. 

Here's a neat article that describes the social meaning...https://min.news/en/fashion/b66b9c3e6266076da3121bded614d834.html