Why we're starting to use the PT5000 automatic movement
I've not even announced the watch yet so this is a bit of an exclusive, but I wanted to tell you about a new movement that we're going to be using in some of our upcoming models. If things go to plan, it could be a big deal. Let me tell you about it, and my logic, in a bit of detail.
The ETA 2824-2
For many years, the ETA 2824-2 has been the ultimate automatic movement for watches costing anything from £500-many thousands. It's a Swiss-made classic, and it's powered millions of watches from hundreds of companies for decades.
It was such a successful and reliable movement that when the patent on it expired, lots of other movement companies jumped onboard and created their own versions. You can call them "clones" if you want, but in reality there can be tiny differences. But at their heart they're the same movement doing the same job incredibly reliably.
ETA 2824-2 alternatives
As a result of the patent expiry, loads of companies made their own versions of the ETA 2824-2. A couple of particularly well known examples are the Sellita SW200-1 and the STP 1-11, both of which we've used in our watches (see the Kraken dive collection and the Neon sports collection) over the years with great success. They're Swiss made, established, high-quality, but expensive. With the change in availability of ETA movements recently (that's a whole other story...) it's quite common for the Sellita equivalent of a movement to be more expensive than the ETA "original". Sellita know that they have a great business opportunity to tie up the legitimate brands for years, and they're going for it.
The advantage of using an ETA 2824-2 alternative
If we ignore the proven tech that's powered the 2824-2 for decades, there are other substantial advantages to using movements based on the 2824-2.
From our perspective, the fact that they're interchangeable is a huge benefit.
If you consider the Kraken H2 campaign, we made an entry level and a premium level version. The only difference was the movement. The entry level model used the Seiko NH35a (still a great movement), while the premium version used the Swiss made Sellita SW200-1 (an ETA 2824-2 based design).
This allowed us to offer multiple price points, but it made things harder for us. Why? Well the NH35a and the SW200-1 are different sizes. The NH35a is slightly thicker movement, so we had a choice to either:
- Make a single case to work with both movements, but it had to be thick enough to hold the NH35a. That meant the Swiss powered SW200-1 version would be thicker than necessary. People like slim watches!
- Make 2 different cases, massively adding to the price. Twice the tooling, twice the complexity at assembly. Everything got harder.
We went for option 2, and it was an expensive project. What if both watches had the same size movement in, so the only choice to make was the country of manufacture (and the reputation of the brands involved)
What is the PT5000 movement?
The PT5000 is a relatively new ETA 2824-2 style automatic movement that's been getting a lot of positive coverage recently. It's made by H.K. Precision Technology rather than a Swiss company, but it's otherwise a like-for-like 2824-2 style automatic movement. Here are the basic specs:
- Diameter: 25.60mm
- Thickness: 4.60mm
- Beat rate: 28,800 bph
- Hacking? Yes
- Hand winding? Yes
- Power reserve: 38 hours
So as you can see, on paper you couldn't tell it apart from an ETA 2824-2.
More importantly it's also, by a combination of us, other brands that we're friendly with, and our suppliers who check any new tech before they supply it (we have warranties with them, like you do with us) been very heavily tested.
So what did we find?
In our tests the PT5000 was just as accurate as the ETA and Sellita versions. In plenty of cases, more so. Now this is tests of hundreds of units rather than millions, obviously, but it's an incredibly good sign.
Our main watch supplier work with some huge brands, Hamtun is still a relative minnow in the scheme of things. They make some well known and well respected watches, and as a result they're very careful about the partners they work with. If they ship thousands of watches with defects, their reputation suffers in the industry. Customers may not, but brands largely know who is making what. There have been occasions where I've asked for a certain part or technique to be used on a model and they've said no, on the basis that they've tried it before and know it won't be reliable. It's a sign of their ethics that they will say no rather than just take the money. Many factories/suppliers say yes to everything and worry about the details later. Trust me, I know. When I was building this business I worked with plenty of them!
We've been talking with our partners and testing the PT5000 for over a year, and it's only recently that they've been comfortable signing off on using it in production models. It's a sign of the quality of the movement that they're willing to work with us on them under the usual warranty terms. Both Hamtun, as a small watch brand with a reputation to build, and the watch partner, as a well known supplier of watches to known brands, can't afford a public failure. The PT5000 is ready for the big time, and we're excited to be part of it.
Watches that use the PT5000 automatic movement
We're not quite ready yet to share details on this, but we will be very soon. Those of you that are familiar with our product line and our plans for 2020 might be able to make an educated guess, but we're not ready to confirm!
I'll update this section once we've made our announcement! There are other brands out there already selling watches using the movement (and some that re-brand it to pretend that it's something special or unique to them, a crappy move that we'll leave to the pretenders.)
The PT5000 in summary
- The PT5000 is a relatively new automatic movement based on the ETA 2824-2. Following heavy testing and a year of discussion, we'll be using it as an entry level movement for some of our lines from 2020 onwards
- The PT5000 is interchangeable with other ETA 2824-2 based movements (such as the Sellita SW200-1 or the STP 1-11), so you could buy a more affordable watch now and choose to upgrade to a more expensive movement later if you wanted. Any watch maker should be able to swap it out for you
- It allows us to make slimmer entry-level automatic watches than the previous NH35a
- We're excited.