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Given that they seem to be identical style...May 5 2011 at 1:29 AM
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Chascomm (Login Chascomm_)
Chinese Watch Guru
from IP address 18.104.22.168
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time to do some searching...
The AMCH/PR contains two examples, both later than yours. Ron notes that the small number is a batch number and lower numbers are older. He also mentions that the 7120 was made from 1972 to 1975.
Surprisingly, I didn't find any extra information for dating 7120s on Joel Chan's site, but he has some interesting info about other 7 series Shanghais. Worth a look if you've got time.
Next up, Ozputera's blog. He's got a 7120, batch number 308, movement date code CA i.e. January 1976. Hmm... that would but production commencement in 1973. I might need to look further into that. He's also got a batch 312, movt ZSH (not SS7) date DE (May 1978), and also a peacock-dial batch 417, SS7 date DF (June 1977). ZSH started production a year later than SS7. Same spec but slightly lower quality apparently.
Here's something particularly interesting:
"It is known among the collectors that fake 7120 existed as far back to the time even when the 7120 was in production. The price of a 7120 was not cheap and one had to have a "watch coupon" plus a recommendation letter from the employer in addition to cash in order to purchase such watch ... This market imperfection had motivated the fake productions which were sold at three to four time lower price than the genuine 7120 with no such coupons needed while still fetching profits. These fakes were made by smaller factories with movements of usually inferior quality. One convenient way of identifying fake 7120 is to visually inspect the quality of the stamped pattern surrounding the word ”上海“ at the middle of the case back that the fake ones are with rougher pattern. The other way is to open up the case back to see whether there is an O ring slot for the O rubber seal; it is said the the genuine 7120 would always have that ring slot. However, these identification methods or criteria are by no means conclusive."
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