Walter Shillington is an avid collector of mechanical watches. His reviews focus on inexpensive but often intriguing Chinese timepieces.
I purchased this watch at auction on eBay. Slightly used, they are sold for 20 dollars. If you’d prefer a new model with a warranty, this timepiece is available at a cost of 53 dollars. For those that reside outside of Europe—and sadly, I do—a 19-dollar shipping fee applies.
The watch arrived well packed and on schedule. A watch box was included but the item lacked a tag.
This M Johansson is a heavyweight, weighing in at 138 grams (4.86 ounces). Including the crown, its circumference measures 45 mm across. The timepiece is 17 mm thick.
The metal case and watchband are nicely plated with rose gold. While this timepiece was sold as used, I think it is actually old stock that’s been sitting in a warehouse for a while. The edges of the watchband were badly tarnished, necessitating an application of Flitz polish and a brisk rubdown.
The timepiece’s black dial is accentuated by large, gold-colored Roman numerals. A shiny black sub dial on the left displays a 24-hour clock. To its right, a bright silver sun slowly rises above golden mountains and then retreats, replaced by an equally impressive moon.
This watch is an open heart design. The upper support for the timing wheel is styled in the shape of gull wings. I quite like this touch.
A small sub-dial is located directly above the timing wheel. The tiny, red-painted second hand rotates across a golden background.
This forces the placement of the cannon pinion—to which the minute and hour hands are attached—to a position higher on the dial than typical. This compels the use of shorter than normal hands.
The watch’s face is protected by a thick, convex crystal composed of hardened mineral glass. The case-back incorporates a transparent window, allowing a clear view of the movement. The rotor is nicely etched and inscribed with the M Johansson brand name.
The band is heavy, comfortable, and fully adjustable. The buckle is first class.
M Johansson is what is commonly known as a mushroom brand. Aatos, M Johansson, and Eppman are all trademarks owned by a marketing company, which, unfortunately, I have been unable to identify.
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German-based vendors distribute their watches via eBay and Amazon. I suspect these vendors, AJ Watches Germany and Watch Store Germany, are owned by the same marketing company. This business is likely based in either Germany or China. Possibly these watches have been designed in Germany, but they are manufactured in China.
Brand: M Johansson
Condition: Either lightly used with the box or new with box, tags, and warranty
Part number: G-MhsenoRgRgB
Model year: 2010—present
Place of origin: Sold from Germany. Manufactured in China
Movement: Automatic labeled M Johansson
Features: Open heart design. Rose gold plated case and band
Functions: 24-hour clock. Day/night (moon and sun) display
Band material: Gold-plated stainless steel.
Band-width: 22 mm
Dial color: Black
Dial window material: Hardened mineral glass
Case material: Gold plated metal
Case diameter: 45 mm including crown
Case thickness: 17 mm
Weight: 138 grams (4.86 ounces)
Water resistance: 1 ATM (splash-proof only)
Warranty: Two years if purchased new
The eye is immediately drawn to the rapidly rotating timing wheel. It is then distracted by the shiny gold numbers and backdrops of the subdials. This timepiece was designed to reflect light, and it performs this task very well.
Although, basically a useless function, the day/night display is extremely well presented, and I consider it the top selling point of this timepiece.
The case and watchband are plated with rose gold. Although periodic polishing will add to maintenance requirements, these surfaces buff out to mirror-like quality.
Another watch, I've reviewed, that catches the eye, is the Franck Muller Replica. It might be worth a look.
Awkward placement of shorter than normal hands ensures difficulty in determining the time at a glance, especially in the lower quadrants of the dial.
All sub-dials work correctly, although because the second hand is very tiny, it is impossible to measure time to the nearest second.
I placed this watch onto my Diplomat watch winder for a period of four days. During this period, the timepiece gained an average of 28 seconds per day. While not particularly good, this accuracy is acceptable for a watch in this price range.
In appearance and feel, this watch is very solid. The crown, which is protected by a ridge rising on either side, adjusts the time easily and without noticeable sloppiness. The watchband is sturdily constructed and should last for the lifetime of this timepiece.
Mechanical watches require lubrication and cleaning every three to five years. Lacking this, the timepiece will lose accuracy and eventually fail. Unfortunately, routine maintenance involves a great deal of work and can be expensive. Unless the owner really loves his watch, maintenance is generally neglected for a timepiece in this price range.
This watch, deprived of proper care, should run well for the first three years. Over the next three, as dust accumulates and lubricating oils dry, accuracy will suffer. Eventually, the automatic operation will become unreliable. At this point, the owner will eye the timepiece critically, speculating whether its gold-plated band can be salvaged and fitted to another watch.
Poor placement of this watch’s hands detracts from the ability to determine time. Accuracy is adequate at best and the included functions are not particularly useful. As a professional watch reviewer, I cannot recommend this watch.
However, despite owning a variety of far better timepieces, this is the watch I am most eager to strap onto my wrist. Yeah, sometimes form does transcend function.
Manufacturers strive to add value to their products, attempting to include that extra touch that persuades potential customers to purchase their watch rather than their competitors. Everyone’s taste is different, of course, and watchmakers often work to attract a specific group of individuals.
In the survey below, I’ve included a number of interesting features designed to draw your attention and interest. If you would consider participating in this poll, your input would be appreciated.
Jim Rees on May 22, 2017:
Another fine watch review. Excellent job Walter.