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Please note that this topic is about "The Henderson Group - Watchmakers and Watch Wholesalers", and not Henderson Group PLC, Global Investors.

If you have ever been down to your local factory outlet shop, garden centre or charity shop or some other store, you will probably have noticed a floor stand or two, or a counter top display of cheap quartz watches. And when I say cheap, I am talking about prices between £5 and about £15. Generally, the range I have seen does not exceed £10 in price.

The chances are that these cheap watches are the product of The Henderson Group of Companies, with over 300 employees worldwide.

Watch brands from the Henderson Group include Slazenger, Predator, Cosmopolitan, pod, Citron and Citron International, Forever Friends, golddigga, mckenzie, NEON-T, Philip Mercier, Crosshatch, smart, Smith & Jones, Thomas Calvi, and Henderson Group's range of Union Jack themed watches. Another brand, not on the current website but almost certainly by Henderson is No Fear, and I also have a feeling that Constant watches might also be a Henderson Group product.

Before touching on the watches, a little history of the Henderson Group is called for. The Henderson Group of Companies was established in 1976, It claims to have gained a good reputation for quality and value, and that every product is checked by an in-house quality control department. Retailing to the retail and leisure sectors and supported by a no-nonsense after sales service the Group is dedicated to "keeping Henderson at the leading edge of the international watch market." (Quote from the Henderson Group website)

And now to the watches, which would no doubt be discounted by the more discerning public (and most collectors) as being unworthy of consideration. However, the Group is out there, selling watches, although I have to say that their main online sales venue - UK Watches Online - is a domain which is currently up for sale if that means anything. I would say that some Henderson Group watches are of reasonable design, but they are utterly let down by any discernible quality of manufacture, and I have to admit buying Citron watches just to use the spring bars and straps - which often seem to be better value than the watch itself. One of the worst offences committed by some of the watches is the use of fake subdials and chronograph buttons. Given the ultimate "tackiness" of these watches, I also have to admit that I have kept one Citron watch because it's design is quite unusual, so not all is black in the Henderson camp. Most watches by the Henderson Group are analogue but they also produce digital examples (with pod as the most common brand name for these digital watches).

Before finishing this topic, I will just add a note about older Henderson Group watches, when Citron/Citron International seems to have been the main brand name of the watches - perhaps the only name in the early years of the group. Firstly, a look on e-bay reveals that Citron watches were sometimes jewelled mechanical products and I wonder how good these were. I would like to know from members who have any early Citron mechanical watches in their collections. And secondly, I did come across a Citron watch - an early Henderson quartz example - and I was surprised how well it was made compared to more recent Henderson products. The watch was analogue with day and date windows and inside the movement stated that it was made from Swiss parts; also the gold finish on the watch was noticeably better than one finds on current Citron watches.

If I had a fiver, and was stuck in the wilderness without a watch, then I might, just might, purchase a Henderson Group watch from an isolated petrol station which happened to have a floor stand of cheap Citron watches.

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i dont like spending much on watches, and to be honest i still wouldnt touch these with a bargepole, not just aestheticly but just the quality of them, there are lots and lots of bargains out there of better branded watches than these, have a look on the bay for vintage watches and try and get a bargain there or try a vostok komanderski which i know are going up in price but are bombproof and there are still sub tenner ones to be had, i think that you should have a nose around the russian watch world and see what you think. ive spent as little as 3quid on a vostok upto the ton sixty i paid for the zlatoust, lampoc, lucky, kustov plus a few more of the members have spent a lot more than that on their 3133s but you dont have to, dont limit(pun) yourself and go and have a look around.

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A friend and work colleague wears a Slazenger watch for work.

The way he looks at it is if it gets damaged he can replace it.

He's on about his third same type/brand watch in ten years , and only replaces them when the battery dies.

He thinks I'm barmy wearing Seiko divers to work , he often advises me to wear a bottom drawer watch for work!

Paul.

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I think it's all down to your personal philosophy of buying/selling/repairing, etc. A friend of mine used to buy an old banger of a car for around £50, ran it until it dropped, threw it away - and got another one. Other friends buy a new car and trade it for another after 2 years. Whatever turns you on. Also depends on your lifestyle and personal style. I would never wear a decent watch for any kind of manual work - not that I do much these days - but I know a builder who wears a Rolex (now very battered) to work!

Personally, I'd rather buy a cheap old mechanical watch from eBay and get it fettled, if necessary, than a cheap new quartz - but each to his own.

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I live less than 2 minutes walk from one of their big manufacturing, assembly and distribution centres (Wingates, Westhoughton.)

The security around the place last time I wandered past looked like it would rival Fort Knox.

I firmly believe that if they fired the security team and left the doors wide open at night they would still find themselves fully stocked after a month! :D

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Yes, I agree that you can buy better and as cheap watches pre-owned than buying a new Henderson Group watch, and I would recommend it heartily, since that is what I do in my regular watch collecting. Thanks to chris.ph for the note recommending looking at Russian watches - I do have a few decent mechanical watches from that part of the world, but chris.ph, you are treading on my toe a bit with your pun downgrading Limit watches - one of my favourite budget brands. As a watch collector, I do feel that a wearing a good watch when doing any rough work is a bit daft - and a cheap watch does come in handy, especially a cheap watch which one couldn't care less about - rather like almost any Henderson Group product. Finally - I love kevkojak's conclusion on Henderson - I only wish I could have said it myself.

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