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The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16658] Tue, 31 May 2022 22:52 Go to next message
JackW is currently offline  JackW
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Model name: 'Adams' with expansion band -or- Nimrod with leather strap
Type: Wristwatch Veri-Thin
Period/date: 1940-1944; the movement serial number is date estimated to early 1944.
Gender: mens'

Case Maker: Star Watch Case Company
Case Material: goldfill on silver and rhodum plated sterling case back*
Case Serial: 090790
Case Style no: 406-459

Caliber: 406
Movement Maker: Gruen
Movement Serial: A328801

Bracelet: In both ads it is shown with an expansion type band for the VT Adams. The leather band on the watch as purchased, is 1940s era but is marked 'Waltham'. An obvious replacement. The ads for the VT Nimrod show a leather strap.

Other info: Identified in Shawkey's book as strap 418. page 131. Strap 418 is shown with a presumably an expansion band.

I found this in a pawn shop in Chicago this past weekend (May 29, 2022). Was an inexpensive buy. The tarnish to the case made me suspect that it was a war era watch with the silver alloy basemetal for the goldfill. Otherwise it is not the typical type or style that I collect.

[Picture Front]
/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9382&private=0
/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9384&private=0

[Picture caseback inside]
/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9383&private=0

[Picture movement]
/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9385&private=0

[Picture ad]
Advertisment from December 1942 clipped from the Chicago Tribune
/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9380&private=0

Although not named, it is the same model shown in this May 1944 advert from the LA Times.
/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9381&private=0

Barnett's 1940s Decade book shows a very different 'Adams' in 1948. Could also be confused with the contemporaneous 'Stuart' but that has ridges that run onto the case sides.

*some debate below on my metal assessment of the back. There are certainly examples of this watch where the case back is marked as sterling. Other examples that are clearly stainless steel Guildite.

also... edits to reflect Barney's below addition of the VT Nimrod ID.


All I know is based on hard work & writing by others. I can only aspire to augment this body of knowledge. If I am wrong it is because of my own failings. -me

"If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - Newton

[Updated on: Fri, 03 June 2022 02:09]

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Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16660 is a reply to message #16658] Wed, 01 June 2022 05:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ephemerald
Messages: 911
Registered: October 2018
Location: City of Lake Salt
Gruen Master
Nice score!!! Strange...The stamp "GUILDITE BACK" on your watch would suggest that your caseback is stainless steel. Yet you're stating it's a "rhodium plated sterling case back"
Is that right? That's why I am confused... so I am curious as to how you came to that conclusion. The Chicago 42 ad states "Guildite back"....

Star did make the 406 - 459 model casebacks in both Guildite and Sterling.
If your model caseback is indeed Guildite as it's stamped, then on your outside caseback it should have a Star stamp of the double headed eagle clutching laurels and "GRUEN BASE METAL".
If it is silver then your inside caseback should be stamped "STERLING BACK".


Matthias

[Updated on: Wed, 01 June 2022 05:22]

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Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16662 is a reply to message #16660] Wed, 01 June 2022 19:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
thesnark17 is currently offline  thesnark17
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It is clearly a Guildite back, as marked on the watch. I think Jack just made a typo.
Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16663 is a reply to message #16662] Wed, 01 June 2022 19:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timeliz
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Most likely "on sterling" is referring to the bezel.

"Some days are diamonds, some days are stones..." -John Denver
Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16664 is a reply to message #16663] Wed, 01 June 2022 21:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
GaryM is currently offline  GaryM
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I'm pretty sure the intent was a guildite back but quicky changed to sterling because rationing of metals in the war. Similar to the "S" markings in the Wadsworth cases switching from nickel to sterling.
Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16665 is a reply to message #16664] Wed, 01 June 2022 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ephemerald
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"I'm pretty sure the intent was a guildite back but quicky changed to sterling because rationing of metals in the war"

Which is exactly why I personally think it's possible this watch is from the earlier part of the spectrum, more towards when it initially went on sale in '42, instead of later in '44. But, that's just, like my opinion, man. Laughing




Matthias
Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16666 is a reply to message #16665] Thu, 02 June 2022 02:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JackW is currently offline  JackW
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I base my assessment purely on qualitative aspects:
1) where the case back and the bezel have rubbed together at the snaps, the gold fill is intact, but the case back has blackened at the wear. The plate being far thinner on the back than the GF on the bezel.
2) work hardened silver has a distinct tone to it when it jingles against other metal. If you have a quarter or dime that is pre-1964, you can hear this too. I hear this with the caseback. Otherwise I too would have thought that this was just stainless.

Yet, short of an XRF scan of the metal content (or some destructive qualitative assessment) it is possible that I am wrong. Mostly about the rhodium plating; it might be chromed silver alloy. But I think rhodium is more likely, because of the reactive properties of chrome plate.

Personally, I think the markings are different, because the early WWII silver case backs by Star were chrome plated silver. If you have seen the worm tracks, this is a reaction between the two metals under moist (think skin contact). Here is an example in a Star case marked for sterling:

/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9392&private=0
/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9393&private=0

This is from a VT Practitioner. I have a later one that is marked "Guildite" on Sterling and also no mention of the goldfilled components.

/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9394&private=0

I think when they switched to the rhodium, Gruen reverted back to calling it "Guildite". Maybe to be consistent with the marketing (*speculation). Rhodium is not reactive with silver and is a far more durable, albeit a more expensive material. It is marked "Basemetal" on the outside as Matt suggests for the "Guildite" case.

but, you know I can still be wrong.


All I know is based on hard work & writing by others. I can only aspire to augment this body of knowledge. If I am wrong it is because of my own failings. -me

"If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - Newton
Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16667 is a reply to message #16666] Thu, 02 June 2022 02:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Case is currently offline  Case
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Interesting problem. Are we open to the possibility that both the bezel and back could be over Sterling?

Pardon my ignorance: would a Guildite back be attracted to a magnet? Never tried it. I am familiar with the distinctive sterling “ring.”

I’ve had a very few transitional Gruen cases that were certainly misstamped for material at the factory.

Anyway, I do have one stamped “Sterling back” swcco made before Jack’s. A Courtney model, I think, if that helps. I can check my records to see if there’s a clear transition point to “gf bezel/Guildite back on sterling” from “gf bezel/sterling back.” Possibly Jack’s could be in that window.

/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9395&private=0

[Updated on: Thu, 02 June 2022 03:04]

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Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16668 is a reply to message #16667] Thu, 02 June 2022 03:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Case is currently offline  Case
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And here’s the earliest I’ve recorded that matches Jack’s caseback, although missing “Gruen veri-thin” stamps. Style number 524 (said to start in 1944) & case number below Jack’s. Movement # 669,3xx, with Veri-Thin on ratchet wheel.

FYI, this is 5,000,000 case range for swcco, but they seem to only stamp the lead digit when they get +/- about 10k from the next million.

/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9396&private=0

[Updated on: Thu, 02 June 2022 03:25]

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Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16669 is a reply to message #16668] Thu, 02 June 2022 04:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timeliz
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I still doubt that they silvered Guildite. Just doesn't make sense.

I don't doubt that Star/Gruen experimented with differnet war time options, but I bet Gruen quickly put the nosh on those options that didn't rise to their standards, which makes Jack's watchcase quite the collectible.


"Some days are diamonds, some days are stones..." -John Denver

[Updated on: Thu, 02 June 2022 05:02]

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Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16670 is a reply to message #16669] Thu, 02 June 2022 11:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barney Green
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I agree that it does not make sense to place guildite on sterling so I suspect that it indeed is a guildite back and the bezel is gold plated on a sterling base.

I have one of those which has a 1943 dedication, serial number is 03xxxx and it says "STAR WATCH CASE CO. 10K G.F. BEZEL - STERLING BACK". This one clearly has a sterling back not plated and the bezel is gold plated base metal.


Regarding the model name of Jack's watch, isn't the VT Adams with it's expansion strap the same as the 1940/41 VT Nimrod with leather strap? May be Gruen needed to make some more money or thought that an expansion band sells better during war time?


Gruen, Gruen, Gruen ist alles was ich habe... Gruen, Gruen, Gruen is all I have...(German folklore song)

[Updated on: Thu, 02 June 2022 11:02]

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Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16672 is a reply to message #16667] Thu, 02 June 2022 15:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
afire is currently offline  afire
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Case wrote on Wed, 01 June 2022 21:58
Pardon my ignorance: would a Guildite back be attracted to a magnet? Never tried it.
I have, and the answer is no. I was hoping it might be an easy way to identify a Guildite case under uncertain circumstances. It is not.
Barney Green wrote on Thu, 02 June 2022 06:01
I agree that it does not make sense to place Guildite on sterling...
But it might make sense to rhodium plate sterling and call it Guildite under wartime conditions. After all, it's not like marking for precious metal content where you have to be accurate. Guildite can mean whatever Gruen wants it to mean, including rhodium plated silver if that was easier to source than stainless steel.

I'm going to trust Jack's experience and firsthand observations here.
Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16673 is a reply to message #16672] Thu, 02 June 2022 17:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ephemerald
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I kindly disagree. I highly doubt Gruen is producing rhodium plated sterling silver case backs and stamping them Guildite. Every which way I look at it, doesn't add up.
Jacks watch could be an anomaly, if it actually is what it's theorized.

Of course, I can only speak from my experience also but I've worked with, in, on and under stainless steel for the last 25 years, and I can spot it a mile away, in the rain, bad photos, whatever,...From what I see of Jacks inside caseback, that is Guildite, it absolutely has the look of stainless. Unfortunately, I do not see a pic of the outside caseback of debated watch, so literally impossible to even truly discuss it.






Matthias

[Updated on: Fri, 03 June 2022 07:32]

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Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16675 is a reply to message #16673] Thu, 02 June 2022 17:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barney Green
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Matt,

this is in line with my findings and watches. If Jack could look up the outside of the case back it may help. All my Star made Guildite backs have the Star Logo and GRUEN BASE METAL marking, while all Sterling backs are not marked at the outside.
But this is just from the watches I own and may not be a proof although it statistically makes another 10 samples to tighten the theory.


Gruen, Gruen, Gruen ist alles was ich habe... Gruen, Gruen, Gruen is all I have...(German folklore song)
Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16678 is a reply to message #16675] Thu, 02 June 2022 19:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
thesnark17 is currently offline  thesnark17
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I agree with Ephemerald. I also looked at that caseback and said, "has to be Guildite", when I made my initial post in this thread. It has the "look" about it.

I've definitely seen mistakes in case markings from this period, but I've never seen anything as wrong as this marking would be, if it is wrong.

For the record, I once found a Gruen from this era with a Guildite back that was magnetic. Not only was it attracted to a magnet, you could pick it up with an unmagnetized screwdriver... needless to say, that's atypical behavior in a stainless steel! The movement would run out of the case but not in it, and it took me forever to find out why (since I "knew" that Gruen's stainless steel is nonmagnetic). And then forever to fix the problem - I ended by blowtorching the case back to anneal it, which finally worked. Never found anything else like that one though. I wonder what happened to it to induce the magnetism in the first place.

[Updated on: Thu, 02 June 2022 19:37]

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Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16679 is a reply to message #16670] Fri, 03 June 2022 02:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JackW is currently offline  JackW
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Barney Green wrote on Thu, 02 June 2022 05:01
Regarding the model name of Jack's watch, isn't the VT Adams with it's expansion strap the same as the 1940/41 VT Nimrod with leather strap? May be Gruen needed to make some more money or thought that an expansion band sells better during war time?
Here is an image of the Veri-thin Nimrod:
/vgforum/index.php?t=getfile&id=9397&private=0

That name sure has not aged well. Rolling Eyes

Anyway.... it is certainly the same case design from the ads, as the Adams. Isn't the first time that Gruen seemingly swapped a feature, such as band or case color to justify a different name. Thank you Barney; I've made some changes to the OP to reflect this.

Glad I can still engender a lively conversation.


All I know is based on hard work & writing by others. I can only aspire to augment this body of knowledge. If I am wrong it is because of my own failings. -me

"If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - Newton

[Updated on: Fri, 03 June 2022 02:10]

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Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16680 is a reply to message #16679] Fri, 03 June 2022 02:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
GaryM is currently offline  GaryM
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JackW wrote on Fri, 03 June 2022 02:01
That name sure has not aged well. Rolling Eyes
You got that right! Laughing

Definition of Nimrod
1 : a descendant of Ham represented in Genesis as a mighty hunter and a king of Shinar. 2 not capitalized : hunter. 3 not capitalized, slang : idiot, jerk.
Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16682 is a reply to message #16680] Fri, 03 June 2022 03:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Case is currently offline  Case
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I was wondering how to say that I want one, just for the pleasure of owning or one day listing on eBay a “Vintage Nimrod”... guess I just did! Laughing
Re: The Veri-Thin 'Adams' [message #16684 is a reply to message #16680] Fri, 03 June 2022 06:18 Go to previous message
Barney Green
Messages: 1686
Registered: February 2014
Location: Wolfsburg, Germany
Gruen Authority
Thanks a lot for the education, Gary, as I indeed was only aware of the first two definitions.

Gruen, Gruen, Gruen ist alles was ich habe... Gruen, Gruen, Gruen is all I have...(German folklore song)
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