‘Deciphering passwords is not a solo game. It needs to be a ghost! Only when others fall into the trap, you can easily avoid it.’
—- ‘Unspoken’ Mai Family
The years are quiet
About ten years ago, there was a hit TV series called ‘Understanding’, which is indeed a good medicine for viewers who like secret spy war movies. At that time, I was deeply obsessed with it. The storyline of the entire play is summarized in six words: listening to the wind, watching the wind, and catching the wind. The background of listening to the wind and watching the wind happened in the early days of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Although I was not a witness of that time, the grandparents in my family were so impressed with my ears that I wanted to return to that pure age.
2005 hit TV series ‘Unspoken’, watching a shot in the Wind
Ideals and beliefs are mysterious and energetic, and once infatuated, people seem to become extremely powerful. National interests are paramount, and I think this is the period during which most Chinese people believed. ‘Understanding’ has decrypted the story of 701 hidden in the old forest in the mountains, so that we are satisfied with those who are curious about these years. And this article is to decrypt the domestically produced clocks that have a special mission in this period of time. The recorders of these times, the old predecessors who designed and manufactured these instruments, I salute you, good times, I’m still there.
What is a special mission meter?
In the early days of the founding of New China, material was scarce. Many situations in the development of industry are difficult, and the process of transition to industry is a historic transformation. That is, in this period of passion, the country has also developed the light industry. Clocks and watches are one of the typical products. So what is a special mission meter? It mainly refers to the timing equipment used for military products in order to perform various tasks.
Produced by Shanghai Stopwatch Factory, 6-second chronograph stopwatch, designed for artillery, equipped with calculation range
A distinctive feature of the military is the habit of using numbers as codes for various needs. For example, troop numbers, hospital numbers, and some military product numbers, and so on. At present, the information I collect and the physical objects of watches and clocks I usually start with ‘1’ and ‘3’. The number ‘1’ represents products used by the Navy. As distinctive products in the timepieces, it is the 104-type ship clock and the 105-speed boat clock; the Shanghai brand 24 diamond and 29 diamond automatic mechanical watches, and the number ‘3’ represents The products are used by the Air Force. As representative products, there are well-known aviation chronographs coded as 304 and 301 aviation clocks. The number ‘2’ currently has no reliable data indicating that it is used by the Army. Another thing that cannot be ignored as a military product is the chronograph stopwatch, such as the chronograph stopwatch used by artillery, which is classified as the Army. These product models are also task codes.
Decryption 1: the watch factory takes on the task of producing military watches
I remember that a few years ago, the national watch seagull once filmed a documentary ‘China Heart Armour Noon Love’. One of them involved the early Tianjin Watch Factory designing military aviation chronographs for the Air Force. The density level is classified.
Mission code ‘304’ aviation watch related documents, density class ‘Confidential’
The production of this aviation chronograph was not easy to come by. At that time, the relationship between China and the Soviet Union was relatively tense. Many Soviet experts who assisted China had to evacuate China and the related drawings were taken away. As a result, many ongoing operations have to be stopped, of which ‘304’ is also such a situation. For the manufacture of ordinary mechanical watches, we are still in the beginning stage, not to mention the completion of this mechanical stopwatch with a timing function and a cylindrical wheel structure. It is conceivable that the degree of difficulty in designing and manufacturing it. This slightly bitter and sweet youth, recalled to the elderly now, is a simple sentence, ‘No matter how difficult we have to get it down.’
In 1965, it successfully trial-produced the aviation chronograph watch in Tianjin Watch Factory, number: 304. At the same time, it is also the first aviation chronograph watch in China
There are also several watch factories in China that have served military units. These secret levels are different, some have been decrypted, and some are in the density level.
Decryption II The secret code is ‘618’ factory
The German Anselm Kiefer once said, ‘I’m not nostalgic, I want to remember.’ Here is a relatively unfamiliar term ‘third line factory’. The third line factory is characterized by ‘decentralized, backed, hidden’. It is not difficult to speculate that there should be a secret here. This secret happened in the northwest, Xi’an, Shaanxi. In 1965, with the approval of the National Technical Committee, the ‘Meridian Clock Factory’ was established. In 1967, it was officially renamed the ‘State-owned Wind and Thunder Instrument Factory’, which is a military unit with the secret code ‘618’.
The main watch product of Fenglei Instrument Factory is called the ‘Panda’ brand. At that time, people also rushed to say ‘Shaanxi has three treasures, golden monkey smoke, Xifeng wine and Panda brand watches.’ There is a little digression at that time. Watch brand, Shanghai Watch Factory also used Panda brand. However, behind all this, the actual manufacturing is also in full swing, the famous code is the 301 aviation clock.
The old worker in the original ‘618’ factory was holding the real ace product of Fenglei Instrument Factory at that time, the 301 aviation clock.
Mission code 301, the instrument used in fighter aircraft. It has 5 days of long power, two functions of sailing time and time measurement, using a fine horse movement, stable performance and high accuracy. It is very worth mentioning that the small disk of this timing function goes backwards. This is contrary to the traditional clockwork chronograph. In response to this problem, I consulted the watch expert Wang Xiangming. His answer is to avoid the interference of large hands, and it is not difficult to see the intention. At the same time, there is an electric heating design behind this clock to ensure that when flying at high altitudes, the temperature is too low to damage the travel time accuracy.
The “618” factory also manufactures some military products. With the passage of time and the reform and opening up in the 1990s, many third-tier factories were transformed, and Fenglei Instrument Factory closed down. At present, there are many ‘301’ clocks on the market, which are generally products of this period. Earlier this year, I met a friend of the Xi’an Clock and Watch Institute. Ask him if the ‘301’ clock is still in production? Where did it go? His answer was ambiguous. It is not difficult to see that to this day, the ‘301’ clock is still somewhat mysterious.
Tribute to military watches
In a sense, these military products have accelerated the development of China’s watch and light industry products. The introduction of many designs and complex functions is undoubtedly a good thing for the watch industry.
The ship clock is type 104. There are two types of clocks. One is a 12-hour clock, such as a picture, and the other is a 24-hour clock. The 24-hour clock is also designed to make it difficult to see the day and night. This typical feature uses a pendulum movement, but also a fine horse movement, which has more stable and superior performance when traveling.
Speedboat clock with code 105, a simplified version of 301 movement, it is worth mentioning that this clock has a more rigorous design for water resistance, with waterproof rubber rings on the front and back.
Shanghai brand 24 diamond, fully automatic single calendar watch. The design of this watch is a diving watch style, with a lock on the head and a bezel that can be rotated. Responsibly, the design of this watch dial now seems to be very flavorful, generous, Shanghai LOGO, using A641 movement, the number of gems is 24 diamonds, I have disassembled this movement many times , The design of the sliding gear is very clever. If you have the opportunity, you can introduce it separately. This watch is well preserved, and the luminous effect is still effective today.
Shanghai 24 diamond watch under ultraviolet light
With this article, I would like to pay tribute to those who have worked hard for the watch industry in China, and thank you for showing me these works. This gives us more hope in the future of watchmaking.