Monday, July 22, 2019

WAGR Western Australia Government Rail - research update

Due to an amazing set of circumstances, I was able to get in touch with a watchmaker who spent decades repairing WAGR-issued watches! We've spoken twice over the phone, with over 2 hours of solid historical data from a man who has not only seen, but repaired every type of WAGR watch in circulation.
Today, I will skip the 'cool' pieces and issues and bring your attention to the very last issued WAGR batch, dating from 1980.  Unfortunately, this is not a story of precision and high-end workmanship but rather a sad account of incompetence at State level. At that time, WA Rail was literally prostituting itself by issuing Q&Q wrist watches. And if that were not pathetic enough, the engraving on the dial was the worst marking I have ever seen: crude scraping.
The first issued Q&Q was a white dial model.

The next batch consisted of 'coloured' dials with the Metro brand. Q&Q is the low(est) range of Citizen watches and it stands for "Quality and Quantity". The brand was introduced in 1976 and, until today, over 500 million pieces were sold! Of course, as even a Mister Minute would testify, Q&Q is more of a kid's toy than a watch. The 1980's issue was not designed to be repaired, it contained no jewels, and had more plastic than metal parts. To issue such a watch to railway staff was the ultimate insult – or, simply, a sick joke.
Should you invest in one? Absolutely, yes. For no other reason but to preserve the ugly cousin of Australian Railway history. Fair price to pay? $10-$40.

I sincerely hope that with the discovery of WAGR Q&Q we have reached the very bottom of the research saga. Quite frankly, I could not think of any lower quality watch brand that we could come across in future. Can you?

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