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Gruen Cartouche Car 587? Late 1930's

A case maker trademark unknown to me and help identifying the correct movement; Thu, 22 July 2021 17:55

I recently bought a Gruen Cartouche with a case maker trademark
on the case back that is not known to me. I normally do not buy
Cartouches, but the stepped art deco case is yellow rolled gold
with Guildite lugs and very nice with minor brassing. It is a close
match to car no. 587 in the "Gruen Masterbook/Catalog". The outside
of the case back has a case trademark that is an inverted triangle
with a "P" stamped inside and is followed on the same line with
"10K Rolled Gold Plate". A previous owner ground off the information
inside the case back and dropped a 835-caliber movement in it that
doesn't fit the case (see the uploaded photos). One question is:
What company made the case?

The Masterbook entry indicates that the case housed a 907-caliber
movement, but that doesn't make sense, because that movement is
much too narrow to fit the case (18.6mm W x 25.3mm L x ~6.3mm TH).
I am guessing from the car no. 587 match of this watch it is from
the late 1930's. I'll also be looking for a movement that will fit
the case of this watch.

Any help would be appreciated.



Model Identification and discussion | 17 comments

Is this a Gruen movement?

Thu, 22 July 2021 14:53

Seen on a watch that has no Gruen markings, but just kind of has my Gruen senses tingling. I don't know that Gruen ever did much in the way of private label stuff, and I don't recognize the movement, so probably not Gruen. But I thought I'd throw it out there.

Model Identification and discussion | 15 comments

Gruen Mystery Dial

1958; Thu, 22 July 2021 00:38

Model name: Unsure
Type: Mystery Dial
Period/date: Unsure// maybe 50's?
Gender: Male

Case Maker:
Case Material:
Case Serial: J63809
Case Style no: 068

Movement Maker: Unsure
Movement Serial: Unsure

Bracelet:Unoriginal Spiedel expansion

Other info: Dial is almost like a "pan". Ball hour marker and spoon shaped hand that curves over the ball. The gold plate on top has posts drilled into the crystal. I wasn't expecting such a small movement is a rather big case. Please let me know if any other information is needed. Thank you.

1950's and Up | 10 comments

Not sure how to identify this watch...

Gruen Watch Identification; Sun, 04 July 2021 04:01


Sorry, new to vintage watches, and Gruen watches. I'm not really sure how to ID this one. The movement inside is a UT 30C, but unlike a lot of other Gruen movements, it doesn't have any other markings on it aside from "17 Jewels". The case is likely a replacement, as the back case doesn't have a serial number inscribed in it, rather, it says "Unisales Div Hong Kong," and "Made in China" on the strap. So what's the deal with this watch? Why does "U" in the Gruen, have a dot in the middle? And is this just a complete fake, or was this just a case replacement? Trying to figure out more about this watch, and chalking this up to a learning experience Smile




Model Identification and discussion | 2 comments

Gruen Lady Pocket / Pendant watch by Georgine Pau

Thu, 01 July 2021 14:11

Here's one for the ladies!

Model name: unknown
Type: pocket/pendant
Period/date: 1916-1921
Gender: Lady

Case Maker: Madame Georgine Pau, Geneve
Case Material: 935 “extra” Sterling
Case Serial: 40
Case Style no: n/a

Caliber: 611 or 610, with sub-seconds
Movement Maker: Watch Specialties
Movement Serial: 29347 (or 29 347)

Bracelet: n/a

Other info: The watch measures about 1 1/8" across. Case signed "Watch Specialties Co.", matching movement. Dial back stamped "46." It appears to have had something around the outside (possibly a decorative wrap of gold?) which was held with two screws through the case. It has a hinged top & a metal insert to hold the movement that is stamped with the case number.


1910's and prior | 4 comments

Ever See a Crystal Like this one?

Sun, 13 June 2021 03:07

Model name: 657
Type: Not Sure
Period/date: 1950
Gender: Men's (but - I think it would be better on a lady)

Case Maker: Gruen
Case Material: Not Sure
Case Serial: C378440
Case Style no: Not Sure

Caliber: 335
Movement Maker: Gruen
Movement Serial: Not Sure

Bracelet:Black Leather Band (not original)


Edited by jenneke: inserted images in message

Model Identification and discussion | 5 comments

What is this watch?

Fri, 11 June 2021 02:20

I've had this watch for a while, and it crossed my mind to wonder whether anyone knows what it is. I can't get the back off, go figure. The case is marked Gruen and is stainless steel.


Could this have been Gruen's last octagon? (not counting modern reproductions of course)

Model Identification and discussion | 3 comments

Earliest Verithin

The one that started it all!; Wed, 09 June 2021 00:05

I feel like showing off one of Gruen's earliest Verithins. Not *the* earliest - but certainly the earliest I have ever seen, or am likely to hold.

It is a thing of beauty.


That dial sure has aged well - most of the time they're in terrible shape.



Quite a low case serial!


Note the 1DG4 monogram for 14k gold. The other day, I was looking over early Gruen trademarks, and I realized why it is this way. The old Queen City Watch Case Co. used a very similar 1QC4 mark with interlocking letters (it looks much prettier too). I guess it represents an attempt at continuity of trademark (though I can't think it is a very good one).

I have seen lower case serials on several Gruen cases housing the earliest cal. 35 movements (SN 125k). From this I conclude that early serial numbers were assigned in blocks.


And lastly, the movement. A fine LV1, running and keeping excellent time. This one is within a thousand of the lowest SN I've ever seen (120,527, but that one was an orphan) and one of only three movements that I've ever seen with a serial lower than 122k. I would love to see more, if you have them!

Watch Tables | 5 comments

More Early Gruen info: 1894 to 1902

founding of Madretsch, offices, addresses, Queen City Watch Case; Thu, 03 June 2021 17:23

I was browsing through my copy of “Time for Gruen, Vol. 1”, and I saw something in the 1901 ads that I’d never noticed… so I fell into a Jewelers' Circular hole!

I'm sure much of it is known to some, but I thought it might help to summarize: addresses, office opening dates, and more info up to the opening of Madretsch. Pics are attached in a pdf.

The “Establishment of D. Gruen & Son…manufacturers of all kinds of complicated watches” was announced in the November 28, 1894 issue of The Horological Review. The original office address was 935 Denison Ave, Columbus, Ohio. The factory is in Glashütte—and it will remain the only Gruen factory listed until 1901. The only Glashütte movement on hand is an 18 Size, with a 16 Size promised.

Just shy of two months later, on January 23, 1895, comes the announcement that the first Gruen catalog has been received by the trade. It was titled "Gruen's Precision Watches." The format seems very similar to the 1906-07 version posted in Reference section, and the color insert of the Grossman escapement is already there. It discusses Swiss movements, but it extols at length why the Gruen factory is in Glashütte. Which implies Gruen is sourcing Swiss movements, but the only custom Gruen movements are coming from Glashütte. Note that the 18 Size Glashütte is the only movement detailed; it is unclear if the 16 Size was available yet.

By January 1897, Gruen has moved its Columbus office a few miles north, to the Wesley building on North High Street (exact street number unclear).

1898 brought drastic changes to Gruen—both good and bad. The August 3 issue announces Gruen has moved to Cincinnati, a first-floor office on the corner of 5th and Elm Streets. As part of this move, they have connected with the Queen City Watch Case Company. More info comes August 25, 1898: the Cincinnati office is the Lion Building; and Gruen has control of all QCWC distribution. “Precision & complicated watches” being made/sold. But also, here is the first announcement that Gruen has opened a satellite office. Surprisingly (at least to me), this was the West Coast office: 115 Kearney Street, San Francisco.

Three weeks later on September 15, 1898, disaster strikes Dietrich Gruen: he is forced to declare bankruptcy and liquidate his entire personal estate to satisfy the creditors of the old Columbus Watch Company.

Another move comes in the January 5, 1899 issue. After less than 5 months in the Lion Building, Gruen has relocated Cincinnati offices to the Johnston Building at 55 Fountain Square, Cincinnati. QCWC goes with it.

1901-1902: NYC & bridge to Madretsch
Fast-forward to January 2, 1901 issue of Jewelers’ Circular: Gruen has just opened its first New York office in Room #71 at 65 Nassau St, NYC, under the oversight of F.C. Allen. Presumably, this happened in December 1900. It carries “a line of German and Swiss movements and American gold cases.” However, all company literature and information confirms Gruen’s only factory is in Glashütte/Dresden.

Here’s where “Time for Gruen” started me down a rabbit hole!! On April 10, 1901, Gruen runs its first Jewelers’ Circular ad, which only lists the Dresden factory. On the same page in the JC is a mention that Fred is heading to “Europe.” Possibly of interest: previous coverage of the Gruens’ voyages always specifies that they are heading to Glashütte, and I wonder if “Europe” means a Switzerland visit.

On April 17, again we see the Gruen ad with Dresden only—but in the April 24 issue, there’s a subtle change: under Factories, we now see “Switzerland” added beneath Dresden. This April 24, 1901 ad is the first time a Gruen Swiss factory is mentioned in any Gruen literature.

A new ad runs in the June 12 & June 19 issues, now advertising “Gruen Precision and Swiss Movements” (emphasis added, seemingly implies Precision movements are not Swiss, aka Dresden)

But the ad changes again on June 26, 1901, and we see this: “Factories: Cincinnati, Dresden, Madretsch.” This is the first mention of Madretsch. It would still be more than a year before the Madretsch movements were advertised: the first ad ran on October 1, 1902.

Three other things worth mentioning from 1902:
• On January 22, we learn the casing works for Gruen-National and Queen City have moved to a 6th Street location in Cincinnati (offices remained in Johnston Building)
• Gruen’s NYC office moved to 182 Broadway sometime between March and July 1902
• Gruen’s July 23, 1902 ad (first with the new Broadway address) is all about the new line of Gruen-made cases—looks like this could be the phasing out of Queen City, a move seemingly begun in mid-1901 judging by the ads

Research | 3 comments

Caliber 495SS

Did it exist?; Wed, 02 June 2021 20:00


Today in a German forum someone showed his Lanco watch and the movement photo made me wonder: 73998/#post-6370347

It is an Autowind movement marked AUTOWIND PATENTED, 495SS in the correct style and has the GXC import marking. But no reference to Gruen, the name itself is missing.
I have until today never heard of a caliber 495SS. Could it be that Gruen planned to buy the Langendorf caliber 1233 (which this actually is) and market it as cal 495SS but the deal busted last moment?
Any insides, has anyone ever seen a caliber 495SS or a reference to it in any literature?

Research | 5 comments

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