Merkur 304 (green) (Fanzhi brand) Pilot (much fun, not much money)

I wrote about the black dial version here: https://www.watchcrunch.com/AlbertaTime/posts/today-and-still-but-w-a-strap-change-merkur-304-16485 and this is the green dial version, which arrived today..

This version solves the only two (minor) issues on the black dial version: one being seeing the actual hand size, since the bluing on the black dial almost disappears in most lights, and two being the same issue but on the sub-dial second hand (blued and disappears in some light).

I don't usually post exact prices but this is usually about $100USD and right now (and I don't know for how long), it's about $65.

Classic 38mm with a nice quick-release canvas strap. This will get more wear than the black, at least on my wrist and, for the cost, I'm pretty impressed.

It's pretty 馃槏 Do you like the build quality of Merkur?

I'm amazed at how many mechanical watches are out there for less than $300. 聽This looks interesting from the pictures, and even if it's kind of low quality, it would still be impressive for less than $100.

Also, does anyone else read "Fanzhi" and think

Image

Looks good, now we just have to eradicate the stigma of Chinese watches=dustbin filler.聽

Seriously wow on the watch.

watch.yuk

It's pretty 馃槏 Do you like the build quality of Merkur?

I like it enough for the dollar, yes, sure.聽

Keeping in mind I provide opinions and not advice 馃 and all economic valuations are subjective, here's some considerations:

I'm very comfortable around tongji-style movements. The design was a Chinese national standard for decades. If a tongji based movement is decently assembled, it's pretty reliable--and I think Merkur is trying to offer decent QC. I have many decades old tongji watches that run perfectly well.

The case is stainless, 50m waterproof--and I think nicely finished, no complaint at all. The strap seems durable, and it's very comfortable, softer than I expected.

The only drawback to me is the crystal is mineral, which comes third to me after both sapphire and acrylic.聽

But I've said elsewhere, if you're going to use mineral, this is as good as that gets: nice domed, and it handles light very much like acrylic--super easy for photos, and it's a hardlex type mineral, at least, like Seiko uses so much. So...OK.

Even the travel case they come with is commendable. It's vinyl, mostly--but decent vinyl, with a serviceable zipper--and thing will plainly take some beating and survive.聽

Maybe more fashion or daily dress/home/office/casual living watches than heavy work watches, but I have four Merkur watches now, and except for the minor issue with the bluing on the black dial pilot that I described above, I can't fault the build or design of any of them--especially for the dollar.

I think I get a lot of fun style and decent build for the money with all four. I like wearing them.

TalkingDugong

Looks good, now we just have to eradicate the stigma of Chinese watches=dustbin filler.聽

Seriously wow on the watch.

Thank you.聽

There are certainly grades of Chinese watches that I don't recommend, but there's also a very large and competitive budget watch industry that I think offers good value for the dollar. 聽

Now, QC and customer support count for a lot--and Merkur hasn't been around that long, but I haven't seen anything from them that makes me skittish at all. I've had a couple of exchanges with folks from the company, and they seem friendly and well-intentioned.

AlbertaTime

I like it enough for the dollar, yes, sure.聽

Keeping in mind I provide opinions and not advice 馃 and all economic valuations are subjective, here's some considerations:

I'm very comfortable around tongji-style movements. The design was a Chinese national standard for decades. If a tongji based movement is decently assembled, it's pretty reliable--and I think Merkur is trying to offer decent QC. I have many decades old tongji watches that run perfectly well.

The case is stainless, 50m waterproof--and I think nicely finished, no complaint at all. The strap seems durable, and it's very comfortable, softer than I expected.

The only drawback to me is the crystal is mineral, which comes third to me after both sapphire and acrylic.聽

But I've said elsewhere, if you're going to use mineral, this is as good as that gets: nice domed, and it handles light very much like acrylic--super easy for photos, and it's a hardlex type mineral, at least, like Seiko uses so much. So...OK.

Even the travel case they come with is commendable. It's vinyl, mostly--but decent vinyl, with a serviceable zipper--and thing will plainly take some beating and survive.聽

Maybe more fashion or daily dress/home/office/casual living watches than heavy work watches, but I have four Merkur watches now, and except for the minor issue with the bluing on the black dial pilot that I described above, I can't fault the build or design of any of them--especially for the dollar.

I think I get a lot of fun style and decent build for the money with all four. I like wearing them.

Thanks, man. Considering to get it one day 馃

Merkur and Baltany are two chinese brands that a) offer great value (with San Martin and others slowly climbing away in terms of pricing), b) are focussing on the best type of homages, i.e. old references that are long out of production and c) come with palatable brand names (at least for western ears). 馃憤