Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fiyta: One "Watch Time" Missed

Fresh off Shenzhou 5: Yang Li Wei, China's first taikonaut, wearing his Fiyta Chronograph, China's first watch in space, on his left arm. Speculation about the contents of his big gray lunchbox with hose attachment are beyond the scope of this blog. Well, actually not, so if you have a guess, stick it in the comments.

I commented a few days ago about Watch Time's article on "Watches in Space" (June, 2006), the most comprehensive write-up I've seen so far on the topic. However, they notably missed covering the:

--Fiyta Chronograph

Perhaps the Fiyta is too low-rent for the lofty, Patek-scented atmosphere of Watch Time.

Perhaps the unique and distinctive dial failed to make its functions clear to the editors. I know I'm baffled as to the purpose of all those freaky extra hash marks and colors, other than to remind me of the ceiling of a Swedish smorgabord buffet my family would eat in while traveling on vacation sometime during the foggy 70s.

Fiyta now makes a line of watches that are marketed as having met with some kind of blessing from the Chinese space agency. I've never seen one in person, but the current versions are supposedly halfway decent, on-par with a good Poljot or so. These are what the taikonauts are apparently wearing now. Bottomline: the recent versions aren't completely laughable. Which can't be said of the 2003 version...

It's a real shame that the 2003 version is such a tacky piece of unmitigated
rubbish. After all, the "first" always has more fame, collectibility, and, for the maker, profit-making potential. Every WIS knows what the first watch on the Moon was, but who can name the second?

So by outfitting Yang Li Wei with a cheesy timepiece too nasty to be sold respectably in even the skeeviest flea market, let alone be seen in public wearing, Fiyta has proven they have the business insights of, well, a government-owned factory, when it comes to knowing what it takes to make a long-term watch brand. Bravo, Fiyta. You tossed tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue over the upcoming years into the mulcher.

The Fiyta Chronograph is therefore deemed worthy of inclusion in the Famous Watches list, not just for having been worn during a historic space journey, but for also representing one of the most moronic horological business decisions in a decade.

While I might consider owning or acquiring one of the recent versions, I'll never buy the junky 2003 edition, although apparently you can get them in Limited Edition collector's sets.

Pilotswatch has a good article that dissects the shockingly chintzy innards of the 2003 version.


Hopefully I'll regain my appetite in time for brunch,



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Anonymous Anonymous said...

His "big gray lunchbox" is a portable air conditioner ( cooler) for his spacesuit. You should be able to find pictures of all ( at least the early ) Astronauts and Cosmonauts carrying such a device on their way to the launch pad.

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