Ronda, a firm known primarily for producing reliable Swiss-made Quartz movements, has announced their first mechanical movement in decades, the calibre R150. For lovers of smaller independent watch brands, this is undeniably the biggest news out of this year’s Baselword (and the most under-reported).
With ETA slowly but surely winding down distribution of their movements to brands outside Swatch Group, mass-market manufacturers like Sellita on the Swiss side, and Seiko and Miyota on the Japanese end, have offered alternatives to smaller brands unable to manufacture their own calibers. Though there are a handful of other Swiss firms developing movements—among them Soprod, Technotime, and Accurat Swiss—pricing and production capacity remain restrictive, at least for the time being, so they’re not currently viable for most companies operating on the more affordable end of the pricing scale. Even Miyota’s 9015, a workhorse for the past several years, is experiencing a price increase of approximately 40% that will certainly end up being passed over to the consumer.
Four years in the making, Ronda’s “Mecano” R150 is meant to compete directly against ETA’s 2824. The R150 is a 25-jewel, 111/2’’’ automatic caliber with a height of 4.4mm (0.2mm thinner than a 2824). It features a 40-hour power reserve, a 28,800bph, and has a typical 3-hand with date configuration. Ronda’s production goal is expected to be 100,000 units-per-year to begin with and delivery is set to start sometime next year. The price will be approximately 66 CHF, making it a highly attractive option for those seeking Swiss-made. Manufacturing will take place in Switzerland as well as Asia for some components, with final assembly in Ticino in southern Switzerland.
Beyond the initial offering of the Ronda R150, they are in the process of developing an entire movement ecosystem under their “Mecano” range, one that will certainly include new calibers and complications.