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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,
My name is Andrew and I'm from Germany.
For several years I had inherited a Gruen Ultra Verithin Pocketwatch.
The clock consists of a set. It also belongs a watch chain and cufflinks.
A few years ago the pocketwatch was revised from a watchmaker. The clock is working properly.
Unfortunately, I have no idea about the clock.
I know that my great-grandfather bought the watch. He has worked as a subcontractor for General Motors. But I don`t know, if he bought the watch in USA or in Germany. I think the watch was produced in Swizerland in about 1920+, but I´m not sure.
I am interested in whether there are other pocket watches, cufflinks, have incorporated the sapphires.
There are not much informations in the www, so I hope to find answers in this forum.
I think the type of the pocketwatch is not very rare, but I don`t find anything about this special set.
Can you say something about the value of this set?
Here are some fotographys:
Pocket watch Fashion accessory Watch Jewellery Locket Watch Pocket watch Fashion accessory Jewellery Stopwatch Pocket watch Locket Pendant Fashion accessory Jewellery Fashion accessory Oval Metal Finger Fashion accessory Metal Silver Watch Pocket watch Fashion accessory Analog watch Metal Brown Metal Beige Circle
Sorry for the bad english...;-)
Thank you for your help.
Greetings
Andreas
 

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Hi and welcome Andrew - your English is excellent, and you have a nice pocket watch there from a well respected American company, albeit their movements are Swiss
Can you post the serial number on the movement, then we can exactly date it.
I especially like the blue stones around the case with matching antique cuff links - very, very coll indeed
Nice family piece
Regards
a
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello,
I´m not sure, if it`s the right number: 554351
It´s the no. of the clockwork.
Another one is stamped in the case: 601208 / Switzerland / 18K
Helps you continue this?
Regards
Andreas
 

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554k is Gruen movement from around 1930. A high grade one. It could be years older than special order case. There were many special orders originated from authorized Gruen dealers that were commonly best jewelry store in town. In my opinion these precious metal specials should be valued today at least twice the scrap values, but are about scrap value from ebay bidding, fine dealers sometimes get 1.5 times scrap. Here a platinum and diamonds one from about 1925 that was an easy ebay buy near scrap value.
Analog watch Watch Pocket watch Fashion accessory Watch accessory Watch Pocket watch Analog watch Fashion accessory Clock
 

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Andrew, wie gehts?

My wife is German; from near Munich.

You have a beautiful watch; it is anything but common.

Art's estimate on a date is about as good as you can get. Much effort has been put into reconstructing dating efforts and these are however focused on wristwatches. There is no such thing as an accurate (or precise) date on a Gruen but certainly the ability to estimate is getting better. Art is the one for PWs. I'm sure in your internet searching you have run-across the lament of many Gruen collectors: the company records are gone. Thus, accurate dates are impossible (at present).

You did note that your case is Swiss-made. The sapphires and the 18K hallmark are strong indicators that your watch is among the highest quality watches produced by Gruen. It is potential unique because of the high-quality case. Also, in the early 1930s, Gruen was trying to sell in Europe so it is possible that it was obtained there in Germany. Gruen had a distribution agreement at one point with Alpina.

All-in-all, you have a beautiful heirloom. I'm down-right envious.

Cheers!

ps... if you need a translation of my English to German, please let me know and I can have the wife work on it.
 
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554k is Gruen movement from around 1930. A high grade one. It could be years older than special order case. There were many special orders originated from authorized Gruen dealers that were commonly best jewelry store in town. In my opinion these precious metal specials should be valued today at least twice the scrap values, but are about scrap value from ebay bidding, fine dealers sometimes get 1.5 times scrap. Here a platinum and diamonds one from about 1925 that was an easy ebay buy near scrap value.
Thank you for this very nice pocketwatch. Yesterday I got ab tip for another auction in ebay:
Vintage Alpha Platinum Diamond Pocket Watch 17 Jewel Swiss Made | eBay

I think for collectors of pocketwatches my model is a interesting watch - but I have too many expencive hobbies to start with an new one :)
So my purpose is maybe to sale the watch. But I`m not sure how to start with it...:think:

Regards Andreas
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@JackW: Hello,
congratiulations to your wife :)
Munich is a nice town and the area there is wonderful. I´m there for holidays sometimes.
Did you visit Chiemsee?
Thank you for your assesment of my pocket watch.
The box of the watch is from a jeweler in Freiburg (Schwarzwald). If you are interested, I would search for the exact name of the jeweler - his name is printed on the box.
My great-grandfather lifes there for a few years. But I´m not sure, if it is the original box from the watch.
And there are no invoices or other notes about it.
You are so right - the problem is, that there is no data to find about gruen - I think the data were destroyd by fire?
Best regards
Andreas
 

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Gruen had a distribution agreement at one point with Alpina.
I have read this several times, and it may have ended as just being a distribution agreement,but that it may have started as a merger for distribution and production.

Gruen hinted at this in the 1929 Gruen Guild book



Alpina from they website state that's indeed what it was.



We know that Alpina used the same Quadron movement as Gruen
And I believe there are a few Alpina movements marked Gruen,but they may not fit into this time frame
Could it be, there was a tighter arrangement than first though
B

 

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Hiya Andrew... What a fantastic watch with some great photos.


I like the plain, distraction free front facing portion. There is no distracting engraving. It's simple design that speaks more by using less. (oh, uh, I hope that translates correctly). It's as you turn it that the more rich features become apparent. The side with the gorgeous sapphires certainly caught my eye and immediately said it was a special watch, and then all the way to the back with its 18K white gold that shines. Wow. I'm not typically a pocket watch guy, but I could be with a piece like this. The matching cufflinks really sets it off from the typical watch. They are beautifully made with a deco-styled engraving that's understated just like the watch. I bet that set has seen a number of great parties. What a great relic to have in your family.


A few of my thoughts on dating Gruen watches. The situation isn't quite as grim as it was in the past. In fact, it's a whole lot better with the past 3 or 4 years producing logarithmic rates of knowledge growth. Looking back just a handful of years the situation looked pretty dark for finding dates and model names. Back then there was only one published table, the date-caliber table that Charlie Cleves put together. It was published in the Gruen Master Book, the only Gruen specific book I had seen. The book had some information in it, but it didn't help with names and dates very much.

But now there are numerous tools to choose from when researching a Gruen watch. Using a single tool you can often get to within +/- 1 year. The tools can be tables used to lookup dates, and reference books. Personally I can live with a +/- a year error rate as being precise. I suppose that 'precise' is a relative term that varies

Today there are several ways to date Gruens, I try to utilize as many of them as possible to get as precise as I can. As Jack says, much of the work to date has been wristwatch oriented mainly due to the fact that wristwatches are more collected than pocket watches when it comes to Gruens. When researching/dating, I use the available tools readily at hand - the Style Number dating NAWCC/AWCI published paper, Gruen Model Guide and Decade Guides, the Collector's Guide, the more known movements in the caliber/date table (aka The Book of Barry), and a bit of work on movement serial numbers. I get to numbers that I'm quite comfortable with calling very precise. Jack's serial number work on the 405 family and the Wadsworth cases serial numbers alone yield results that are pretty darned precise, in m opinion.

You can use as many or all of these as you care to spend time with and hone in on a model name and date plus more. For research I've done, it's been a practical approach to get the largest demands handled first and then dig further and further down into the less abundant or popular styles. I'm sure future research will push the accuracy into a widely accepted definition of precise.


Pocket watches and more of the lady's watches are the next push that I think will happen to make additional big leaps forward. Lady's watches are more well known using newer techniques and publications than pocket watches so I suspect it'll be pocket watches that need and will get that added attention. The unexplored spaces within Gruen collecting and research are many and there are plenty of curious people to fill in those spaces. (perhaps you'll join too Andrew if you get bitten by the Gruen bug :- )


Back to your specific question on sapphires. It is an interesting question that I haven't specifically looked into before. After doing a little digging, my suspicions and common sense led me to the 1920's ladies watches. Cartouches in particular utilized them, typically alongside diamonds. They share the same time period as your watch which is quite similar to those found in "The Guild Book" from 1929 and the 1931 supplement. On the 18K gold front, I found that wristwatches from Gruen were in my newspaper ads in 1930 and 1933 specifically, with 1933 having the most. Perhaps Gruen has a different kind of wording that indicated 18K that I'm missing. I see nothing after 1933 that had an 18K description in any advertisements. The super high end watches tended to be platinum.


Your inherited pieces are ones that I would be thrilled, just as you are, to have passed to me. As I said earlier, they are fantastic relics to have within your family.
 
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