Vintage Gruen
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Racing Watch

Wed, 26 May 2021 20:49


Hello Everyone,

This is my first posting here. This is a colorized photograph of 3 time Indy 500 winner Wilbur Shaw in 1940.
His son confirmed he wore Gruen watches, although I have been unable to get model details. This looks for all the world like a Gruen Precision Chrono Timer to me.
Can anyone help me identify what he is wearing, also, any clues as to that strange badge on the strap?

Many thanks

Model Identification and discussion | 5 comments

How were OS crystals made?

Sun, 23 May 2021 02:50

Gary’s 1923 Nat Geo ad got me thinking. I know the OS thread shows mentions going back into the teens, but “new manufacturing process” mentioned in 1923 says to me there must be a patent for it. Perhaps it will also lead us to a supplier.

Here’s an interesting one: US156830. I’m not sure it relates, since it is from 1925 and focuses on unbreakable/celluloid crystals. The process could be done with glass molds, too, and the language below from the patent sounds familiar. Also, didn’t Gruen start using celluloid crystals on sport watches in later 1920s?

From Description: “This gives the body portion of the crystal a domeshape which with the permanent shoulder adjacent the edge of the crystal, gives more space beneath the crystal, so that the ends of the watch hands do not have to be bent over towards the face of the watch, and gives more space for the free movement of the hands.”


Research | 36 comments

Gruen Pan American

Fri, 21 May 2021 02:23

/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=8199&private=0Hi everyone,
Just wanted to get some opinions if I could on whether or not you guys figure this is original?
Thanks very much in advance for any opinions!
I will get a movement shot soon Smile

1940's | 22 comments

Gruen Strap Model 319

Neat Guildite cased model; Thu, 20 May 2021 14:22

Interesting Gruen for your viewing pleasure: ID'd as the "Strap Model 319" in the factory record book. Here is their photo of the watch (b/w photo), albeit different dial than mine. On most any given model, the factory would sell it with several dial/hand options. This has the Caliber 581 movement which is a round 15-jewel "Precision" grade movement from Gruen. The case is "Guildite," which was Gruen's version of stainless steel. I do not know if the bracelet is original, but probably is aftermarket. It came to me with box and guarantee certificate. Vintage is mid- to late-1930s. Please forgive clumsy formatting of this post. It's been a while since I've posted.


Hey folks I'm back to writing about watches, following my stroke back in January, which basically paralyzed my left side (and I'm left-handed wouldn't you know). A very good friend has set up a gofundme campaign to help with medical expenses. For more information, or to contribute, go to:

Edited by moderator: added picture in message, removed dead links

Model Identification and discussion | 5 comments

The Launch of the first Quadron -- the Missing Strap Models 37-40

Thu, 20 May 2021 14:12

A few mysteries may have been resolved: (1) when did the quadrons launch, (2) are there missing early quadron models, and (3) what were Strap models 37-40 that are missing in the Master Book?

The Nov 7, 1925 Saturday Evening Post ad gives us an answer.

Strap models 37-40 appear to be the original Quadrons, before they were named Quadrons by Gruen. The ad shows Strap 40, the "newest Gruen strap watch", with a familiar description of the rectangular movement advantages seen in later Quadron ads. So the Quadron name came into play in 1926, with Quadron 1 following after these earliest models classified as Straps. (edit: also helpful to benchmark introduction dates for Straps--41 will be late 1925/early 1926)

You'll see a caliber 117, with a serial number that looks like 576,806.

And one of us is now in possession of an original quadron (pre-Quadron). Note the hands match the ad, not the later Quadrons in the Master Book. Also note the serial number of the movement--a caliber 117 with sn 581,291. I believe this is a variant of the above and with its different dial will have been one of Straps 37, 38, or 39. Hope this will be helpful info to the new owner (hint: I'm making a shameless plug to see more of that watch, including the case number)


Here's a link to the OP for this watch: &goto=13765&#msg_13765

Research | 32 comments

Plate 26E

Thu, 13 May 2021 21:00

Model name: plate 26-E - Tonneau style
Type: ribbon wristwatch
Period/date: 1918 - ?
Gender: female

Case Maker: unknown
Case Material: 14kt green gold
Case Serial: 58
Case Style no: not on case, but in gruen guild book description - OS2

Caliber: 101 (15 jewels, 4 adjts)
Movement Maker:
Movement Serial: -

Bracelet: GF Bruner-Ritter with Bretton’s famous supermatic safety catch (pat pending 1947). To open, simply slide it in the direction of the wybert shape and lift up.

Other: the case serial is inside the case and on the back of the dial. “Exploded” roman dial. Platinized or silver.



1910's and prior | 3 comments

Long service box

Wed, 12 May 2021 18:32

Fake leather paper and wood box. Greek golden rim. Gruen service crest inside. Has a metal push button to open te case. Inside the case there is a black velvet removable holder for a wrist watch. With an insert. Gruen wrist watch guarentee A71-1125120.

Period: 1925- 1930
Watch type: men wrist watch
Size: 15.6cm wide, 2.65cm high, 5.9 cm deep.
Inventor: unknown
Patents: pat. Mar. 10. 1925 (USD66772 Harold R Haerr)

Box maker: Unkown.


1920s | 9 comments

Cartouche 414? Recommendations for crystal replacement.

Looks like Cartouche 414 from 1929 Guild Book except for case description.; Mon, 10 May 2021 22:49


I was quite sure that this watch was the Cartouche 414 from the 1929 Guild Book, but the Book description indicates "reinforced with extra gold" whereas the case here does not.

Also I would like to replace the crystal which appears to me to be made of glass. I was wondering what the best option might be. After looking around a bit, I came to the tentative conclusion that having one made might be the only or easiest option.

As a side note, I believe that the staining on the dial was caused by melted beeswax. When I removed the crystal, it appeared to be held in place by beeswax.

Here are some photos:



Model Identification and discussion | 9 comments

Unknown Precision Quadron

Similar to Quadron 113 but earlier; Fri, 07 May 2021 02:48

Another uncatalogued variant

Model name: ??
Type: Quadron
Period/date: ca1927?
Gender: Men’s

Case Maker: Wadsworth
Case Material: White & Yellow Reinforced 14K Gold Filled
Case Serial: 5224639
Case Style no: 117 8W

Caliber: 119
Movement Maker: Gruen Watch Co
Movement Serial: 639630

Bracelet: none

Other info: (edits from below) Quadron 113 launched later, as late as 1933, with caliber 157–but clearly another version here. Movement is transitional from Caliber 117 base, with 117 fully stricken off and 119 overstamped, also “Temp” stricken off and “Un” added to “adjusted”

Wadsworth’s patented dust-proof crown, but not a Crown Guard model.

Another surprise: the caseback was not fully closed when it arrived. Peeking in, the winding wheel is stuck on the caseback! Old oil, I guess. Anyone run into this before? I’ve not yet had a chance to look at it under magnification. Otherwise, movement is good to go.

Never seen this one in an ad, to know if it was named.


Model Identification and discussion | 7 comments

Veri-Thin Scientist

When is an Import not an import?; Wed, 05 May 2021 13:57

Model name: Veri-Thin Scientist
Type: variant of Import # 252 (or 245 or 249, per below)
Period/date: 1941-1943
Gender: Men’s

Case Maker: Pioneer
Case Material: 10k Pink GF / Guildite back -- bezel appears to be sterling base, from the discoloration
Case Serial: 6029908
Case Style no: 411SS-494

Caliber: 410SS Precision (17j)
Movement Maker: Gruen Watch Co
Movement Serial: 714682

Bracelet: 12k pink gold filled "grains of rice" link bracelet

Other info: Stamped with US patent # 2,229,979, covering the case design by Pioneer Watch Case Company.


1940's | 13 comments

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