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Sellita Movement Makers: A Little Bit of China In Switzerland

Sellita Movement Makers: A Little Bit of China In Switzerland Featured Articles Most watches companies do not make their own movements. Quality watch makers buy their movements from mostly ETA, the Swatch Group owner mega movement maker. In 2010 however, ETA will stop selling its movements to outside companies. It will continue to provide movements for it’s house brands, of which there are several. ETA is part of the Swatch Group which makes a number of brands as seen in the link. When ETA stops providing movements to out-side brands, they will have to go elsewhere for movements.

Sellita is a growing movement maker in Switzerland, but has had a bit of a copycat history. They mostly copied ETA movements. Can they do this? Well, probably, at least in the US. Most ETA movements have been around for a while and in the US Patents last for 20 years only. Because movements are machines, they only intellectual property protection they would have is a patent, and presumably the European patent laws are similar to those of the US. Take the ETA 2824-2 movement, which has been around since the 1970s. Because over 20 years has passed since the, copycats are free to make the movements, the only barrier would be technology. Meaning Sellita and other movement makers would have to have the proper machinery to produce the delicate movement parts. China on the other hand would never even think to check on infringing intellectual property rights before copying something.

We can assume that Sellita has such technology because large brands such as Invicta have been buying from them at large for years. It is predicted that Sellita will step in ETA’s shoes and start providing movements on a mass scale in the next few years. Right now, Sellita has a reputation for being a bit lower quality, but that will change in the coming years with high production, and consumer demand. We shall wait and see what role Sellita has in the next few years.

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  • OhioHead

    With the announced phase out of the ETA movement to non Swatch Brand watches, is it your take to hold off a year or two before purchasing a watch w/ a Sellita movement (like buying the 1st year of a car)?

    I have read on some sites that the biggest concern for Sellita movement is the “lack of knowledge/parts” in the watch repair industry concerning this movement, not so much the ability to keep time, etc. Would you agree?

    I have Tag today (quartz chrono) that I love and I am think about 9937OB w/ Sellita movement, what do you think of this specific watch?

    I am going to investigate the Marcello C now after your posts.


  • Thank you for the comment, you bring up a couple of good points.

    No one can really be sure what is going to happen in 2010 when ETA ceases to provide movements, and Sellita is just one of the many movement makers that can step in. The reason I mentioned them is that lots of established watch makers are using their movements. You mentioned wanting to get the Invicta Diver (I assume that is what you meant by 9937OB)that uses the Sellita movement. Invicta has been using their movements for a while now, with success, and I would not worry about the availability of parts.

    It is true that watch mechanics are primarily uses to working on ETA movements, but most of the Sellita movements are so similar, that almost all of them ought to be able to figure things out. Further, when it comes down to it, most of your watch maintenance needs are going to be pretty basic unless you really damage the thing. Meaning oiling and adjusting.

    I also have a Quartz Tag Heuer (Link model), but to me it is more of a fashion watch. Tag Heuer does a great job of making a watch that looks classically good, but I don’t get that feeling of wearing a unique machine when I wear it.

    If you are looking for a classic looking diver’s watch, the Invicta is not a bad idea, but I would ask you what you are looking for in terms of quality. You seemed to be happy with the looks of the Marcello C watches, and rightly so. A Marcello C watch will have a superior fit and finish to that of an Invicta. The Invicta however is cheaper and easier to come by. If all that you are looking for is a “classic looking” diving watch, the Invicta might do, but the Marcello C is really a much higher quality timepiece. Let me know what you end up doing!



  • Jim

    Appears to me to be a lot of personal unsubstantiated opinion in your review of the SW200. I have not heard of any authoritative complaints about SW200 quality. Anything I have heard is that the quality is fine. There are plenty of others using the SW200 beside Invicta without problems. Although Invicta does use the SW200 in some watches, I am pretty sure the Invicta Pro-Diver (9937) uses a Myota movement and not an SW200.

  • Hi Jim,
    I appreciate your feedback. I don’t think I made any statements which alluded to the fact that Sellita movements are low quality. In fact, part of the underlying point of the article was that Sellita movements were respected movements, most of which were very good versions of existing ETA movements.
    However, as is true about watch movements, the longevity of a movement has everything to do with the quality control of the company making the movements, and Sellita is still paving its track record as ETA has a well established reputation for quality. All signs thus far point to the fact that Sellita movements perform just as their ETA counterparts do.
    You mentioned Miyota movements as well, which are not always known as being the highest quality movements. Not all movements are made the same, and there are plenty of good Miyota movements along with their lower range, or older movements. Thanks for reading and take care.

  • Tom

    AFAIK ETA will not stop providing movements to outside companies. They will stop providing unassembled movements and the movements will be stamped ETA. They are still supposed to be providing full movements to 3rd parties, although their agreements and prices will be a barrier to many smaller firms, many of which will have to switch to ETA or non Swiss like Miyota.

  • Hi Tom,
    Swatch keeps having ETA change their story. With the recently unlawful monopolistic practices probe by the Swiss government, we will have to see what ETA eventually decides to do.
    If what you are saying is correct, then 3rd parties will still be able to get ETA movements but only if they are branded ETA in a prominent manner, offer little customization options, and are supplied to a 3rd party entity that can afford the significant cost investment that ETA is requiring. It will force all smaller or independent watch makers to look else were for movements.

  • janet

    wow!! This is a great site for us…we’re just starting to put up a watch manufacturing business.Actually, im just trying to study further more of how to make the best and a high quality kind of a watch,’til i reached here at your site.It’s very informative and giving me a best ideas and views, to share it with my Boss.Hope i could still read some more information from here..keep it up and More Power!!!

    • Glad to be of help. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you in regard to your projects. Thanks for reading.

  • alessio

    Nice and accurate posts !!!! 10+
    Now many companies use the claro-semag cl-888 for a sostitution of eta 2824…..
    Probably Sellita is only an anti-trust named company 😉 …. do you know the name and the series in the hand wind movement shows in the post ??
    I have yhe same in an unbranded military watch….
    But I dont’ know the brand … best regards !!

    • Thanks for the comment! I don’t know the name of the movement in the post, but if you go to Sellita’s website you can find a catalog of all their movements and might be able to match it up. Take care.

  • Big Ed

    You won’t post this, because you think you know it all, and well, if you can’t say something good…

    FYI ETA for years farmed out 2824 (and 7750, etc.) production to Sellita. So they are not copycats, they are simply continuing to make what they have, just with their name on it. You did get it right that the copyright has expired, that, and some agreements with Swatch group, is why they can do this.

    Geez, I wish I knew as much as you think you do.

  • Todd

    The post is not 100% correct, as eta will continue to supply movement to outside companies after 2010. The will stop selling ebauches only.

  • ThatOne

    I am amazed! I had heard that there was a totally ignorant thread about Sellita, and never bothered to look for it. But we watch-nuts like a surfing moment now and again, so while looking for information about Oris I bumped into this.

    Where to begin?

    ETA a quasi-nationalised industry? Nahh, that is just a joke, isn’t it?

    Sellita in China, or something like that? Oh, per-lease! Every precision industry on this planet, and maybe from a few others, buys components made on “Western” automatons in China. Look at the frightening similarity between the stainless-steel bracelets on those embarrassing, expensive fakes excited friends ask you to approve and the stainless-steel bracelets on those embarrassing duty-free “bargains” excited friends ask you to approve… (As for that chestnut that you are safe if the bracelet’s adjustment links are screwed: Ha! the only thing “screwed” could be you!) There are little bits of China everywhere, and their presence proves nothing.

    Maybe the initial comment was written before the CL888 was revealed to the world, because that is where little bits of China, or rather relatively big parts of China, are “acquiring Swissness”.

    The web is a dangerous place to go if you are liable to believe everything you read. Except if you believe this comment: it’s perfectly safe…

    • I didn’t mean to suggest that Sellita produced quality on par with the Chinese. Sellita makes good stuff, we all know that. It was an amusing metaphor and joke given China’s penchant for copying. Sellita movements aren’t 100% copies of ETA movements, but fit the same mold (as you know). Otherwise, I am not sure what you are upset about. It wasn’t meant to say anything bad about Sellita. Oh, and I wrote that article years ago – not sure why I said anything about quasi government – it is private Swatch Group all the way. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • CometHunter

    So far, I am happy with Sellita. It is the first anniversary of my Invicta Reserve Pro Diver, which uses the Sellita SW-200 movement. It seems to be fully wound after 750 turns on an Orbita. Accuracy-wise, I had allowed for a one week breaking-in period. Then (if memory serves me correctly) it ran about +45 seconds/day after a 7-day time trial. With the help of my local watchmaker’s adjustments, it has been running about +3 seconds/day ever since. No other problems have come up. As far as I am concerned, Sellita appears to be just as acceptable as it’s ETA counterpart.

  • Adrian Williams

    Found this article and read it with interest , then I read the comments and I say to the vast majority of the comments above …WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU ?

    We all buy watches and we are all enthusiastic about them but nit picking the author for a peice written in 2007 is just plain pathetic , industry works in stange ways and NO ONE but NO one knows the truth about what goes on at board level or in the factories . All of the knowledge gained is from the media ( regarding of changes and supply restrictions ) .Quality is a point that some people cant get to grips with and the fact is ETA had “consistant “quality that made the movements work for “extended time “sellita may or may not have the same quailty in fact the sw200 has one more Jewel than the ETA original and has 26 not 25, the Jewel is in the mainspring bridge that supports the barrel, this in my mind makes it better but time will tell …nothing else .

    Sellita is there taking place of ETA to a great many makers neither one or the other is better or worse as one has millions in service and one has less , one is now filling a gap as one is leaving . In reality the movement is the least of your worries when buying a watch as these days most march on for a very very long time . The case and the water seals not to mention the quailty or materials, is far more of a concern to a watch buyer because with out these parts being good ,who cares about the dust ridden rusty movement you would have inside

    China is in our lives, personally I try to take it out of my life but the year is 2011 and as such we must keep all this real. If your watch tells time acurately and you like it Jack S*** else matters ..ENJOY IT

  • Keith L

    I noted the arrival of Sellita especially in the parts scene with some interest – and satisfaction! Why? ETA has in recent years been acting as if it has a monopoly, can charge what it likes, put non-ETA “authorized” repairers out of business etc. It was only a matter of time before someone came on the scene to challenge them.

    Take the Unitas 6497. Very common in large wristwatches. I acquired a used one from the US at a cost of some £130. Not long after, I purchased a new Tianjin Sea-Gull ST36 clone of the ETA version of this movement. Cost? £35 – and better finished, faster beat, better performer. Just a replacement balance for the Unitas would be more than half the price of the Sea Gull movement complete – and it doesn’t even appear to be available for the ETA version!

    And then there are Omega parts prices. A spare balance assembly for a 1010 is priced at a whopping £294!!!! That is more than a typical 1010 based watch is worth. Outrageous IMHO!

    Perhaps as Sellita movements start to appear in more and more better quality watches ETA might see the writing on the wall, and moderate their prices and attitude. Both would be most welcome.

  • Kenneth ADEY

    I have just been left a watch with the following marking, can anyone enlighten me about it. FRONT FACE: SELLITA, 30 Jewels, Automatic, Incabloc, Antimagnetic, Unbreakable Mainspring, SWISS. BACK: Waterproof Swiss Made, Stainless Steel, Automatic, Antimagnetic, Incablock, Unbreakable Mainspring, 2178 ,62. KEN.

  • karlydos

    Many watch companies that buy in movements have already began to use alternatives to ETA. Such as Sellita, Rohnda, Seiko and as previously mentioned Myiota. all very good reliable movements at a very competitive price.
    Company’s like TAG & Omega who have previously used ETA are now transfering to inhouse movements.
    Who needs ETA anyway, it’s about time other company’s became better known and given the chance to prove themselves.

  • sbeauty

    @Adrian Williams Well, Selita 26 jewel is only commercial trick and no any significant change in technology.
    Exactly addressed to such people like you who really don’t understand how mechanical movement works,
    but are impressed with cosmetic and chinese polish.

  • drk1992

    ill stick with swiss watches that use eta movements, i walked into a zales jewelry store and i was browsing around and i found a invicta rolex homage that caught my eye. well upon inspecting it i took the crown spacerout  and wound it up. i found that it wasnt working properly it was an automatic movement and the 2nd hand was moving back and forth, i flip it over and i see it has an exhibiting case back i notice it was a  swiss sellita movement. i have never had any problems with ETA so thats my 2 cents.

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