We Are Chianese if You Please

We are Chianese if you don’t please.*

Is is time for another #bigseiko post? Why, it certainly is.


This is my current trove of Chinese homage wristwatches. The newest acquisition, delivered two days ago, is the colorful number in the middle. They’re made by a company called Pagani Design and sold online here in the States. I bought the one on the left, my first PD, from Amazon. It presumably came from a Stateside warehouse, since it arrived within two days. I ordered the other two from AliExpress, which sells Chinese-made goods and ships from China (surprisingly quickly … the latest watch, ordered April 27th and forecast to arrive May 9th, actually showed up at our door on May 2nd).

Three perennial hot topics on watch collector forums are AliExpress, homage watches in general, and Pagani Design watches in particular. The nay-sayers have it that you’re taking your life in your hands ordering anything from AliExpress; that homage watches are no better than fakes; and that PD watches are chintzy crap.

Clearly, I side with the yay-sayers.

  • My experiences with AliExpress have been trouble-free. Sure, it takes a little longer to get stuff all the way from Commie-land, but my watches arrived in perfect condition, as advertised in every respect, and nicely packaged.
  • I have zero issues with homage watches. I’d love to own an Omega or a Rolex but that’s not gonna happen in this life. I won’t wear a fake but I proudly wear these. They’re clearly labeled as Pagani Design watches, not Omegas and Rolexes, and there are other differences from the watches they’re modeled after. That puts them in an entirely different category from fakes and replicas IMO. And anyway, show me any watch, from virtually any maker, that isn’t a homage to a famous watch of yore.
  • As for Pagani Design, I’m delighted with the quality of mine. My three watches use Seiko movements (one quartz/mechanical, the other two automatic). They have stainless steel cases and sapphire crystals, and they can be hacked for to-the-second time setting. They keep excellent time and so far seem like they’ll hold up over the long term. From left to right, the watches they emulate are the Omega Speedmaster ($7,800), the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean America’s Cup edition ($7,000), and the Rolex Submariner ($13,000). My homages? Each less than a C-note (and the newest one was only $65).

At the moment my collection of Chinese watches is outnumbered by Japanese ones. I could joke and say that may change, but the line has to be drawn somewhere and I told Donna I was done. No more. This time I mean it. Unless I find a real Rolex or Omega in a pawn shop, marked down to a price I can afford. Gotta leave myself an out, right?

*I hope they haven’t edited out the wonderful Siamese cat scene in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. We’re not supposed to say Siamese any more, but “Thai” don’t work with this song! Hope the Disney legal department doesn’t mind me taking liberties with it.

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