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Your going to have to excuse my ignorance on this, so bare with me.

The most common movements amongst my collection are the Miyota 8 series, and the Seiko NH35. From experience I have found them both reliable and accurate. The few that have proved less than accurate I regulated very easily. The NH35 although a little more expensive than the Miyota is fantastic, and I have a couple running within 2 seconds a day. If and when either of these movements stop working correctly they can be replaced for relatively little, as servicing them would be pointless. I also have a few Swiss watches running ETA movements. Now, everyone is going to tell me that the ETA is a far better movement, but pray tell me why. My watches with ETA movements are running about 12 seconds fast a day, not as accurate as my Japanese movements. If they go wrong or need servicing they will cost me a small fortune. What's more, I believe regulating them is a job for a professional. So, the question is, apart from being Swiss and costing more, what makes the ETA movement better ?
 

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There is no need to ask anyone to pardon your ignorance, it is a very good questions which often crops up on watch forums from time to time :)

It is partially based on marketing and reputation, the fact that 100 years ago Switzerland was at the top of its watch game, so Swiss Made actually meant something. They have spent a lot of money to keep that image. But also, Swiss movements are made/assembled in Switzerland, where labour rates are a lot higher than in Asia.

What it comes down to is the quality of and the level of finishing on the components of the movements, the types of hairsprings, number of jewels, polishing of the holes. For example: more jewels means less friction, so the movement will likely run better. Better finishing on gears means less chance of binding and a smoother functioning of the watch. A better hairspring will resist magnetism better, or be less susceptible to damage, have a longer life. Etc. For example: between an ETA 2824-2, 2824-2 élaboré and a 2824-2 Top, each is slightly different, with slightly better parts that are meant to run better/more accurately than the previous model, and ideally it should last longer.

(I have a Seagul 6497 clone in one of my beater watches, and the ETA 6498 in my Auguste Reymond "Swiss Made" watch. Very similiar movement. I'll let you imagine which one feels like a miniature rock crusher when winding or changing the time)

On top of that, finishing a movement with Geneva Stripes, engine-turning the base plates/bridges, creating an interesting rotor that is engraved with letters or other designs, this all costs money and takes time.

I think you will find a Grand Seiko with it's incredible level of finishing is just as expensive as a Rolex or other watch that offers the same level of finishing.

This can give you an idea on the difference visually of the components:

Seiko 7s26 being taken apart:



And an ETA:



I digress, in terms of accuracy, I have seen Vostok Amphibias run +1 second per day and Rolexes run horribly (new, not vintage pieces). You may want to read this : The Rolex Explorer Ref. 14270 – Part 2

If a movement is finished well, assembled correctly and regulated well, it will run dead on for years. But, in 20 or 30 years, you may not be able to get the Miyota or Seiko to run as well as the ETA, or be able to get the parts for the Japanese movements as easily as it is for the ETA.

In regard to your ETA movements or regulating it yourself, I wouldn't, unless you learn how to (usually on a beater movement, like a Sewor automatic ;-) ), If your ETAs are that far off, likely it needs a service (oils dry out, watches get bumped/dropped shaken and stirred and get out of regulation etc).

Honestly, I had a full service on an ETA movement, buy an independent watchmaker in Switzerland, and it cost me Fr. 150 (about £120?). The trick is, to find the good independent watchmaker who won't charge a fortune. If you go to a dealer, they are putting a markup on the work the watchmaker will do, so naturally it is more expensive. For some companies (Rolex, Omega etc) this is a revenue stream.
 

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Honestly can’t give any better insight on these movements than
you Mrs. Wiggles. Because I only have those same Seiko, and
Citizen movements, and they seem great. With the only Swiss
automatic being the ETA 2824 in my Mondia. After that it’s a lot
of Swiss quartz in everything, and they all seem to be very very
reliable. (y)

Actually think they are all fine, and it’s just a matter of what you
like, or want to get into. I mean Seiko, and Citizen make some
amazing movements, and especially for great prices. Plus they
also make some incredible high end movements. But then you
have the same thing with Swiss movements. Where you have
an armada of movement lines, or families of movements, but
also brands big, and small that have made their very own
movements as well. It is just incredible, and whether it’s Swiss,
or Japanese, it’s all, or they’re all pretty terrific.🙂

P.S. FB, wow, some fantastic insight, along with videos above
here. ..Was evidently writing my response while you had already
put yours’ up. Awesome ! (y)
 

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Ah, the infamous Walt Odets Explorer review has been unearthed again ;) Part one is even more interesting because he compares the Explorer with a $1 dollar watch (a Cornavin Dolphin) a friend of his was given outside a coffee shop on Canal Street. The whole review unleashed a storm of disbelief and hate in the (Rolex) watch community somewhere in the late Nineties. Why? Because in some respects he prefers the Dolphin over the Explorer. Volumes have been written about this review and there are even conspiracy theories that it all was staged.

I once was a strong supporter of the 'in-house movement' (by the 'Big Guns') because those had to be the summit of watch making. I still am but not for me. Some of them go beyond the purely utilitarian, they are works of art. But Seiko movements are in-house too, it just means that all parts are made and assembled by the manufacturer as opposed to sourcing parts from third parties.

ETA is one of those third parties because they supply movements or ébauches to selected manufacturers. Swatch has started to limit delivery since they bought ETA SA, followed by cartel accusations. I don't know the details.

But the answer has already been given, it's a mix of preference, brand name status (although my opinion is that ETA movements are nothing out of the ordinary) and perceived quality. The fact that the automated machines that churn them out are located in Switzerland is also of influence. To me it doesn't really matter THAT much any more, it's the result that counts. Does it have a steady run rate? It it easily serviceable? Does it run on time reasonably well (for pin point accuracy use your phone :))? It it robust enough to live up to the expectations of the case it is fitted in? Etc., etc. More and more micro brands are forced to use Seiko or Miyota movements because they can no longer source ETA movements but that's no disaster of course.
 
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Ah, the infamous Walt Odets Explorer review has been unearthed again ;) Part one is even more interesting because he compares the Explorer with a $1 dollar watch (a Cornavin Dolphin) a friend of his was given outside a coffee shop on Canal Street. The whole review unleashed a storm of disbelief and hate in the (Rolex) watch community somewhere in the late Nineties. Why? Because in some respects he prefers the Dolphin over the Explorer. Volumes have been written about this review and there are even conspiracy theories that it all was staged.

I once was a strong supporter of the 'in-house movement' (by the 'Big Guns') because those had to be the summit of watch making. I still am but not for me. Some of them go beyond the purely utilitarian, they are works of art. But Seiko movements are in-house too, it just means that all parts are made and assembled by the manufacturer as opposed to sourcing parts from third parties.

ETA is one of those third parties because they supply movements or ébauches to selected manufacturers. Swatch has started to limit delivery since they bought ETA SA, followed by cartel accusations. I don't know the details.

But the answer has already been given, it's a mix of preference, brand name status (although my opinion is that ETA movements are nothing out of the ordinary) and perceived quality. The fact that the automated machines that churn them out are located in Switzerland is also of influence. To me it doesn't really matter THAT much any more, it's the result that counts. Does it have a steady run rate? It it easily serviceable? Does it run on time reasonably well (for pin point accuracy use your phone :))? It it robust enough to live up to the expectations of the case it is fitted in? Etc., etc. More and more micro brands are forced to use Seiko or Miyota movements because they can no longer source ETA movements but that's no disaster of course.
Ah, but back then Rolex didn't have an "in-house" movement: Business News: Billionaire Harry Borer, Last Family Owner Of Rolex Bienne, Passes Away At 89 - HODINKEE

The idea of in-house being good is a mixed bag, in the beginning it was only the "big boys" can afford to do this, but they are not always successful. Panerai's first go resulted in a not quite satisfactory product. Some higher-end companies have gone over to Vaucher movements (this is the same company that make Parmigiani Fleurier). And again some smaller companies are claiming they make their own movements, but sometimes it is hard to tell if this is real or not.

There is an excellent article on ETA (but in French), I could try to find it. If memory servers (and I could be off here a bit) it goes something like this:

Mid/late 2000s: ETA wants to stop delivering to outside watchmakers. Non-Swatch Group watch companies complained as there was no real competitor to ETA yet (Sellita had started to transition from a supplier to ETA to manufacturing full clones of ETA movements, but their early movements were not deemed to be on the same quality level as ETA, this may or may not be true). The Swiss government steps in to prevent this, saying their stopping will decrease competition from other non-Swatch Group watchmakers and trying to force ETA to continue supplying.

ETA agrees they would gradually restrict the number of movements each year each year (2013 to 2019) to outside companies, this agreement was to end in 2019, at which point ETA could do what it wanted, up production, or stop supplying outside (oddly ETA had somewhat increased production for outside watch makers over these years).

End of 2019: Swiss government changes their mind and tries to get ETA to stop supplying movements (saying if they continue, it will kill competition), this was days before the 2013-2019 agreement was to end. Hayek junior basically tells them stop sticking their nose in his business, and that their request will not promote competition, but kill it.

So it is a bit of mystery what the Swiss government is trying to do, but then again, it is a government.

In the meantime, Sellita has gone to produce better movements, making their way into many watch brands including Mühle Glashütte (although heavily modified), Steinhart, Sinn and others. At the moment, ETA's website is still up, promoting movements for sale to other watch manufacturers. As Swatch Group is not doing so well financially these past one or two years, maybe they will continue supplying ETA movements to outside companies. But who knows?

It tends to be lower-end micro-brands (Kickstarter) that are running Seiko or Miyota, or even Timex Marlins, etc. Frankly, I don't really care what the movement is, so long as it is accurate and doesn't cause me any issues. But, that being said, I have a penchant to buy vintage pieces where the entire watch is likely to be 100% Swiss Made.
 
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