Looks like the Chinese tourbillon juggernaut is slowly marching across the horizon and this one, by the Samson Watch Company – not affiliated with the Delilah Haircutting Shears Company – is no exception. Apparently this thing actually isn’t that bad and keeps good time. But when everyone owns a tourbillon, how can tourbillon makers jack up the price?

Do you really get what you pay for? A report. [TimeZone]

By John Biggs

John lives in Brooklyn and has loved watches since he got his first Swatch Irony automatic in 1998. He is the editor of WristWatchReview.

28 thoughts on “Samson Watch Company Tourbillon – Cheap? Good?”
  1. I have one of these and they are of surprisingly good quality. Also, they are actual tourbillons, not fake. If you follow the evolution of the chinese tourbillons, they are really progressing at an amazing pace. These movements are going to change the perception of chinese watch movements.

  2. Hey Paul, you can pick up these things all over the eBay sites. Just don’t pay over the odds and remember that there are plenty to choose from.

  3. I have purchased 3 tourbillons now over eBay, all around $500 (you can pay more if you are not patient). They all keep good time, and I am impressed with the quality. I never thought I would own a tourbillon, because of the cost ($20,000 – $250,000). Now I am beginning to question why the high grade swiss watches cost so much! I just purchased a Samson bi-retrograde seconds. It is a knock-off of a Franck Muller Long Island bi-retrograde. The Franck Muller costs $18,000 in rose gold. I bought the Samson in stainless steel for $200. The gold is not worth the difference!

  4. I have to say this is definately worth a try.

    I hope to be able to bid for one of these on ebay (even chinese tourbillons reach high biddings).

    Of course the designs are rip offs from existing luxury watches. But who cares? Real swiss brands are way too expensive. Even the simplest Breguet watch costs thousands.

    There are independent luxury watchmakers that create their own complications, and if you check some prices and compare them to any Breguet or Vacheron Constantin you’ll see that these brands put A LOT of their name in the price.

    Check for watches by Christiaan Van Der Klaauw, see the prices on his hand made complications, and then check the price of the least expensive Breguet.

    I say that chinese tourbillons are a bless for those who can’t afford luxury watches, and I just hope the chinese will start creating their own designs.

    Too bad swiss companies will still sell every single one of their watches at crazy prices.

  5. Some time ago, I saw an Invicta (Swiss-made) Tourbillon,(@, which sold for around $5,000. The Original Tourbillion, was invented by Louis A. Breguet just prior to 1800, to compensate for the effects of gravity upon mechanical watches, Even today; most Swiss-made Tourbillions start at around $20,000..& go up to the 200K$ level.

  6. I wouldn’t buy one of these. And for those you who ask why the Swiss timepieces are so expensive and/or why you should have to pay the higher price:

    The Swiss are master watchmakers with A LOT more experience than anyone else and they also rely on quality; knowledge, superior materials, and higher standards. The Chinese will offer look-alikes with the minimal amount of engineering for a watch to function…for awhile. It’s like comparing a KIA to a Volvo. Both function, but one is by far a better product.

  7. Of course the Swiss tourbillons are manufactured and finished to a far higher standard, but for those of us who have to chose between a house and a dream watch, the Chinese ones fill the gap. I have a Sea Gull “flying”, and will soon pick up a “center”. For the money, you can’t beat them, and they are technically very well made. For a tourbillon to run for more than 5 minutes it has to be darned good. Sure, if I was rich enough I’d love a Patek or Breguet, but for now it ain’t happening.

  8. I have a couple of Breguet..a reveil du tsar and a marine…ive just ordered a skeleton tourbillon just to see what it is like……..just for reference also….ive had replica breitling etc and they really are nowhere the quality of swiss makers……i wear a replica when i work (decorator/painter)…the Breguets are worn very rarely…please do not even try to compare chinese watches with swiss

  9. Of course the Chinese watches are not of the same quality as the Swiss…however the Swiss also seem intent on ripping their customers for all they can. The craftsmenship may well be superb but it’s all questionable business practice, they’ve learned well from Wall Street investment bankers…Read one of the watch magazines; they’re filled with as much “who made the most” as they are technical info about the watches we all love.

    I say more power to the Chinese, I have a Seagull with an engine which may well be a ripoff of an exclusive Swiss maker but, hey, it really is a well made and intricate ripoff and if the Swiss could figure out how to make a watch for 100.00 and charge us $100,000.00 for it don’t you think they’d be ripping us ! And the Chinese too, may learn to raise their prices to full, “rip off” levels.
    The 2 best watches made, the Omega “Speedmaster, Moonwatch” and the Rolex “Submariner/Sea Dweller” are about $2,500.00 and 10,000.00 respectively so what are we getting for six figures ? Better to donate the $$ to a deserving charity than have it “ticking” on our wrists…
    I love Breguets too but the $7-8K “Aeronavales” and Type 20 “Transatlantiques not the $100K Tourbillons; complicated they may be but absolutely without any technical merit on a wristwatch ! A $100K Minute Repeator/ Perpetual Calender (much more complicated than a tourbillon)or maybe even a pocket watch Tourbillon, I can sort of make sense of but a Tourbillon wristwatch is just “showing off” – what amounts to 18th century technology, like Boeing manufacturing a Wright “Flyer”! And now they have Tourbillon dive watches ! Can you imagine anything so ridiculous, Abraham-Louis Breguet must be turning over in his grave !


  10. It’s tourbillon not tourbillion, the L’s are almost silent. It’s pronounced; “tur-be-yon”, not “Tour-billion.”

  11. I am a watch maker and have worked on Tourbillion movements on very high end SWISS time pieces. The other day a client brought is one of these Chinese copies. All the movements are copies of what the Swiss have already developed. All of you that say, the quality is great, only see the outside, you are not seeing the movement broken down. The Chinese movements are garbage! They are made from inferior materials. When I opened the Chinese tourbillion up, the first thing I noticed was the poor quality of component level finishing. Also there were tool marks on every screw. On some of the plates the plating was flaking off into the watch. This actually caused the escapement wheel and pallet fork to jam. Additionally not one of the jewels was lubricated! Over time the movement will fail due to inferior materials, lack of lubricant and finishing. I offered to do a complete tear down and proper lubrication to the movement, but was turned down by the customer as the overhaul costs was more then what he paid for the piece.

    There is a reason Swiss luxury watches like Breguet cost so much. Breguet has thousands of hours creating their movements. Years of R&D go into creating a reliable movement that will make every one of their timepiece last for generations to come. The Chinese’s are doing R&D as well….Receive and Duplicate. There are NOT creating their own movements. If they were to, their piece would cost just as much as the Swiss ones. Second, Tourbillions and fine Swiss watches are luxury items. Not everybody can afford luxury items. Just the way life is. If you can’t afford are Ferrari, you can’t afford one. But I am sure, most of you are going to wait for China to knock these off as well. Those that can afford luxury items, have worked hard to achieve their luxuries. Go buy a cheap Chinese knock-off and keep telling yourselves you deserve high end luxury items. You may impress your friends, but anyone that can afford the real deal, will just look down upon you.

  12. Did any of you believed that sack of crap i just posted?


    Sorry it was all crap and yes i am a douche…

  13. Yes, I completely agree. But for those who cannot afford a multui-thousand dollar Swiss timepiece(myself included), these are a good viable option for a taste of the better thing. @rwbenjey

  14. PS. Volvo is a bad comparison. U might want to compare a Kia to a Benz or even a higher end Italian!

  15. its about getting what you can afford, but most of all, not pretending to be something you are not. if you can’t afford a ferrari like u said, then you can’t. but dont go and crave for a ferrari knock off because that will make you as miserable as those who are rich and don’t deserve what they have. get a toyota or a kia, and be proud of it. work hard for what you have and play harder. as long as you worked hard for what you have and you are proud of yourself and what you have done, all else is filler. peace. @Master Watch Maker

  16. @rwbenjey
    Hi Benjay, You seem too be not quite up to date with the world as it is today. I work at a sourcing company in china, We do a lot of work for Swiss Watch Makers as well as selling Precision Chinese Watches around the world. There are 4 big Chinese companies making tourbillons, one of the best is in Tianjin where Airbus planes are now being made. They source the critical parts in Switzerland. The quality is very good. But here comes the real revelation for you. More than 50% of Swiss mechanical movements are assembled in China, incuding many Tourbillions by these Chinese companies. Many of the cases are made in Shenzhen, the home of Apple Computer manufacturing. Made in Switzerland means that more than 50% of the work value has been performed there. I leave it to your imagination to work out how that is achieved.

  17. Tourbillons from China that retail in the US and Europe for 500 USD are not exactly the bees knees in the production. This is low end Tourbillion manufacturing. You get what you pay for. But you can also buy a double Tourbillion with Perpetual Calendar and Minute Repeating and Moon Phase. These are very good watches comparable with the middle ranks of Swiss manufacturing. In Switzerland and other countries in Europe there is also the very best of the real Watchmakers art, not the mass produced products but the hand made one. Chinese production of course does not compete with these very fine products.

  18. The Swiss are the best? Is this like how the Japanese make the best katanas and the Birtish have the best fleet and the Roman Empire have the best body amrour and caveman jack 5 caves down from me makes the best wheels? People need to get over the Swiss-centric and walk into the 21st century. The Swiss were the best watchmakers when they were the only watchmakers- times have changed. It isn’t about Nationality anmore, it is all about money. Swiss watches cost a lot, this is because they are made in a first world country where you pay your watchmakers 90k US a year and your master watchmaker 200K US a year. These Swiss watchmakers rely on yesteryears reputaion of being the best, so they can charge a lot and if you charge alot, you can use whatever materials you want and still make a huge profit.

    When you charge 200k for a watch, you could use mars rocks and diamond dust and magical unatanium stolen from the Na’vi and hire 40 Chinese assistants and still walk away with 150k profit. You should be expelled from the planet if you cannot make the best watch with a 200k budget.

    As for the Chinese tourbillons, I don’t have much experience with them. But you should realize that you can pay an entire factory in China what you pay your master watchmaker at Patek Phillipe. And before you say “they pay him that because he his the best”, you pay him that because you can, because he makes watches that you sell for 50k plus. That is why. Swiss watch snobbery is unfounded. Unless you think that paying an extra 100k for a watch is reasonablee. Just so you know, a few extra milligrams of gold and titanium is not worth 100k so that “better materials” argument can go take a nap.

  19. rwbenjey :
    I wouldn’t buy one of these. And for those you who ask why the Swiss timepieces are so expensive and/or why you should have to pay the higher price:
    The Swiss are master watchmakers with A LOT more experience than anyone else and they also rely on quality; knowledge, superior materials, and higher standards. The Chinese will offer look-alikes with the minimal amount of engineering for a watch to function…for awhile. It’s like comparing a KIA to a Volvo. Both function, but one is by far a better product.

    I hear you but the prices between a KIA and Volvo aren’t as dramatic as the Chinese and Swiss tourbillions, besides I owned both KIA and Volvo and my KIA Sephia was a very peppy lil monster and it came with the 5 yr bumper to bumper warranty 😉
    I agree that the Swiss totally excel in creating superior timepieces but it doesnt mean that great timepieces can’t be made elsewhere. I will enjoy my KIA SAMPSON and put the 200 grand I saved on a summer home or my kids college….

  20. @rwbenjey

    The Swiss are not all that better than the Chinese and the Volvo is not all that better than the KIA….Not when you consider the huge price differentials.

    The Europeans are going to be passed up by the Koreans and Chinese.

  21. Welcome to the World of Asia…… What’s the use of speaking high about a swiss watch if you cannot afford one……..agreed swiss r the mastercraftsmen in watches…but that was the past in stone age .China is the present …accept the fact and be happy in life…….

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