In an era where the watch landscape is increasingly saturated by smartwatches and fitness trackers, Forsining steps up with an ultra-affordable mechanical alternative as a homage to days gone by. The Swiss have convinced many people that an automatic watch should cost thousands of dollars to house the complexity of all the moving parts – but Forsining shows us that this is simply not true.
Forsining watches are some of the cheapest-priced mechanical watches on the market, and offer both a distinctive aesthetic and original design.
The Quality is OK – you get what you pay for.
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The Forsining Watch Company
The Forsining Watch Company was founded in mainland China in 2006 with the mission of producing affordable mechanical and automatic watches in an era of increasing watch prices.
They realized that many people just want an automatic watch, and don’t care as much about the finer details of how polished the case was or how neat all the writing was. Does it have a mechanical heartbeat and accurately tells the time? If so, save money on all the rest of the watch and let’s give it to the customer who demands it. In a nutshell, this is the mission of the company.
With over 13 years of manufacturing experience, Forsining has come a long way, yet still has a long way to go. Specifically, their aim is to continue producing automatic watches at ultra-affordable prices, but increase the quality over time.
To this end, their parent company has also created the Winner Watch Company (sometimes called T-Winner), and Jaragar to fulfill different product lines and target consumer markets. The main element in common between Forsining, Winner, and Jaragar is putting the automatic movement first, and remaining quality second. In this way, you can get your hands on an accurate and functioning automatic watch for just a few tens of dollars.
Quality of Forsining Watches
Forsining watches are priced at less than half the cost of the cheapest automatic Seikos. At that price point, you also get about half the quality. This translates to a solid Chinese automatic movement with decent accuracy and a display case back.
However, the case itself is often minimally-finished or with minimal detailing, but is good enough to house the movement. You get a slew of complications that are astounding for the price point as well as a decent leather strap. Overall, it’s a watch that works and looks amazing, but when you put it under a scrutinous eye there may be some quality complaints. For the price, however, these complaints are not justifiable.
Below you will find some of the best choices for your first Forsining watch:
Forsining Sun and Moon Chrono
For an automatic watch under $100, Forsining knocks it out of the part with this Sun and Moon Chronograph. This would be impressive with a quartz movement for the price point, but for an automatic? Nobody is going to believe that it was so cheap for all of this. All of the subidals have a function, although they are printed as if they all have a dual function. This is to maintain the resemblance to the classic Patek Phillipe Grand Complication (which sells for between $250K – $1M), to which this Forsining is a bottom-dollar homage.
Bottom Subdial – Sun and Moon
At the 6 o’clock subdial you have the sun-and-moon complication. This should not be confused with a true moonphase (which would display the phase of the moon every day), but a relative position of the sun or the moon in the sky. This would make it akin to an AM/PM indicator. While not as useful (since you can just look outside), it’s actually a very entertaining way to measure the time, or how much daylight remains in the day.
Top Indicator – Date Panels
At the 12 o’clock is a date in a window panel style display – a complication usually not found in automatic watches under $5000 in brands like A. Lange & Söhne or Glashütte Original. It’s a feat of engineering to make an affordable automatic complication that can do this. Funny enough, this date panel goes up to 39 days, which means you’ll have to manually set it every month, but it’s not that big of a hassle if you think about what you’re getting
On the left of the watch you will find one of the more useful complications – the day of the week indicator that shows you which day it is with a pointer. This is a neat way to measure the amount of time left in the week like a pie chart. On the right side is the month indicator that works in the same way, just on a 12-month timescale.
Forsining Tourbillon Watch
This is the Forsining Tourbillon. Before you ask – no it’s not a “real” tourbillon, but an open-heart style watch that shows off the balance wheel “heart.” A real tourbillon can cost thousands of dollars, but many watch brands will call their open-hearts “tourbillons” because it sounds nice.
This watch comes in a rose gold case matches with a leather black strap, making it a great dress watch to pair with a suit. The subdial at the left displays the day of the week in analog, while the one on the right displays the day of the month. These are two nice unexpected complications in a watch of this price point, and provide a neat way of measuring how much time is left in the week or the month.
At the top left, there is a date window display showing the year; at the top right – the month. As such, you get a Forsining watch that again has a full calendar in one watch, and can tell you any aspect of the date and time at a glance.
Forsining Skeleton Watch
The Forsining Skeleton is an amazing value watch. For its low price you get a cut-away dial that shows the internal mechanical movement of the watch (hence “skeleton”). It comes with a 12-sided fixed bezel reminiscent of expensive luxury watches that perpetuate this trend, down to the screws in the corners.
The Forsining Skeleton is a classic three-handed watch, so the pushers at the top right and bottom right are just for show and do not actually manipulate any chronograph functions; you can still set the time with the crown. At 40mm wide and 12.5mm thick, this watch wears quite nicely on the wrist, and even come with a display case-back. Overall it’s a good-looking watch that will receive a lot of compliments for just a few dollars.
Forsining Rectangular Watch
The Rectangular Forsining is marked “Tourbillon”, but is again only an “open-heart.” This watch s great if you’ve been wanting an affordable square/rectangular dress watch. It comes with guilloche (textured) dial, catchy numbers around the dial, and loaded up with complications: open-heart, day of the week indicator, month indicator, and date indicator.
Forsining Panerai Homage
This Forsining is a homage to the ten-thousand-dollar Panerai, and looks like one to the point that it will surely be mistaken for one. More impressive than the Panerai, it has a slew of complications including: date panel display, analog day of the week and month indicator, and the open heart. As far as Panerai homages go, this is probably the cheapest and best value for the money one you can get if you like the aesthetic.
Conclusions on Forsining
Forsining is positioned in an interesting place in the watch market – providing ultra-cheap automatic watches with interesting designs and complications. The downside to watches in this price range is that they have a lifespan of just a few years. Spending 2-3 times more on a Seiko or an Orient will give you some better quality and a lifespan of 20-30 years, but Forsining makes great starter watches until then.
My name is Tom Leto, and I’m a watch enthusiast at heart. I’m here to steer you in the right direction when looking for your next watch, and to help you avoid common newbie mistakes. Right now my favorite brands are Orient Star, Longines, and Nomos.