Gallery of Mike's Gruens

Galleries of Gruens!  Enjoy the beautiful creations made by Gruen. 

Of those set free (or unleashed depending on how you look a it) they are hopefully being worn often

** Viewing the galleries **

The galleries will always look best if your device is set to show the page in "desktop" mode. The image viewer for the galleries on this site have a user interface made for keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen navigation. Click, slide, scroll. Experiment and have fun with it. The newer galleries (towards the top) will size image to the size of the browser. So, the bigger your browser window, the bigger the picture. Turn off 1:1 in the control bar at the top when viewing pictures and it will use the "Fit to screen mode instead".

The Galleries have been created over time. Because of this, some of them behave a little differently. I am trying to make them operate in a consistent manner, but I'm not done yet.  Some are navigated using the scroll wheel or by "flinging" them. Others you click on the image or tap on the image and it will load the next image.

PLEASE send me feedback on how well they are working or not working for you

1950 Veri-Thin Submarine - Restored July 2015

Yes, it's ANOTHER Submarine that I've restored. I don't know what it is about this model, but I really like it. The dial has a large part to play, no doubt. The military look is another big attractor for me.

Again International Dial did not fail to deliver. The silver sheen on the dial is uniform and without any scratches. It's perfectly smooth. The luminous figures are painted with the expert, high quality skill that International excels at. It's simply a gorgeous watch.

The watch as a whole is in fantastic shape. Case, crystal, and crown are all perfect. This time around I fitted it with a canvas strap that's thinner and much more supple than any other I've seen before. It doesn't need to be broken in to feel comfortable.

This gallery of images is richer than I've ever posted. Each photo has a caption, and there's a button to download the image in high resolution. There are a number of advertisements from a variety of my books.  Four images are from my book, "Gruen The 1950s - A Decade of Watches from the Daily News". One is from "The Gruen Watch Model Identification Guide Volume 2". And the final image is from a yet to be released book. For those that are familiar with Gruen reference books, you'll know right away from where this image originated. Finally, I included a screen shot from my watch timing machine that shows the movement operating very well and has a great balance amplitude

Would you like to wear this watch? If so, watch for it to show up in the The Gruen Watch Shop.  

1941 Curvex Trooper

The classic Curvex Trooper, one of Gruen's most successful early 1940's Curvexes. This particular Curvex Trooper was manufactured in 1947 as can be determined using the Wadsworth case serial number. You can read more about this watch in The Gruen Watch Shop

A mint condition Strap 99

This Strap 99 needed little in the way of "Restoration". It's beautifully all original except for the crystal and band.  You can own this beautiful example of the Guild-era Gruens as it is for sale in The Gruen Watch Shop.

Is the caliber 819 the rarest / least used Gruen movement?

More and more of the watches on this page become "Gruens owned by Mike" rather than "Gruens restored by Mike". These watches in this little gallery of three are clearly not restored, but still interesting in an intellectual sort of way.

What we have here are three cases that look identical in their design. Two of them are white gold, the other green gold. I stumbled on to what I believe is the least used Gruen movement, the caliber 819. The reason I believe this to be true is that I can find only one Style number used with this caliber and that number is 27. Coincidently, in the Gruen Crystal guides calibers 115 and 117 are shown to share the same Crystal as the 819. Missing however is the 179, even though my watch with the Style Number 179 27 looks exactly the same as the others that share this Style number. 

In the gallery you'll find three supporting diagrams. One is an excerpt from the Gruen Crystal catalog that shows the 3 calibers using a Style Number of 27. A second is a list of the known calibers using Style Number 27. And the third is an image from the "Gruen Master Book" showing this model of Gruen as a "Strap 63" utilizing "Reinforced White Gold Filled" as its case material.

The only reference in the "Gruen Master Book" to a caliber 819 is a "Strap 30". Oddly, the crystal measurements do not at all match those of a Style Number 27. In all of the crystal catalogs utilized in the Style Number research, all 17 of them, have but a single entry for caliber 819 which is Style Number 27. This lends me to believe that the data in the Gruen Master Book is incorrect.

If your head isn't spinning with calibers and Style Numbers yet, then perhaps tossing one more model into the mix will put you over the edge. There is one other model of 819 27 that I have found that has the exact same case as these other watches being discussed but with a bezel that is engraved. Like the others it does not have a second hand.

What does all of this actually mean? It beats me I just felt like writing a bunch of stuff. No, no that's not it. It's that the caliber 815 movement seems to have been used in only one or two models. At least documented models. I think that puts it in the category of one of the least utilized Gruen movements. Was it a fluke? A bad design? The reason someone lost their job at Gruen?

I would like to thank eBay seller HolbensFineWatches for the use of images of his beautifully restored Gruens. You will find he has at least one Gruen per week available in his store.


A Pair of Green Gold Quadrons

Here we have two of my favorite Gruen's that I've ever restored.

The plain Quadron is gold filled that has little or no wear to the case as you can probably see. It is my favorite Gruen watch to wear now. It looks great when dressed up as well as wearing jeans. It is plain and elegant. The dial restored beautifully. International Dial restored this dial and they once again came through for me. Robert is the best I know at painting dials.

The other Quadron is a solid green gold model. The actual model name for this one also escapes me at the moment.

A Quadron Stamped with Quadron in the Case

Not quite done restoring this one. I don't recall seeing Quadron stamped in the back of cases very often. Seemed worthy of sharing.

An Unknown Caliber 806 Model

I recently picked up this caliber 806 model but am unsure about whether it is a men's or women's and what the model name is. I am inclined to believe that it is a women's model. The size is 10.5 lignes. The 806 movement was made prior to 1921. You can find this movement in the book "The Gruen Watch Repairer's Reference" on page 48. Page 48 is part of the 1921 Standardized Parts Catalog, thus the date estimate of prior to 1921. It is similar to the early Wristlets. I have done no restoration work to it. As you can see, it is in fantastic condition with an almost mint dial and nice blued moon hands that have no rust. The movement even ticked when I opened the case.

A 1934 Tilton

Style 165-8

This gallery has been over in the watch shop for some time but never thought to include it here with my other restorations.  

A 1952 Veri-Thin Hollywood   

Style Number 335 690

Part of Gruen's early 1950's "Park Avenue" series

A 1936 Rickenbacker. Style Number 700 208

This style case was reused for many watches so be careful when identifying your watch.  Look very carefully at the lugs on your case. It's important to scrutinize every part of a bezel when making an ID using images, including advertising images, down to the most minute level. It's been shown that illustrators sometimes worked straight from drawings or photographs supplied to them by Gruen.

Caliber 705 0S-46 Style Number

An odd looking Style Number but what's more interesting on this watch is how the radiation has burned the crystals.  Buy a Gruen and get the bonus skin cancer for free!

Quadron 77

I have some interest in one of my Quadrons lately, and need to be photographing and sell it and others anyway, so enjoy the pictures of it. It's a 14K Grueen gold Quadron 77, one of the very few solid gold watches I have. In fact, I believe it may be the only solid gold men's watches I have. It can be found in the Gruen Guild Book of 1929 and is known as the Quadron 77. If you are interested in purchasing it, get ahold of me. I'll add to the Gruen Watch Shop shortly and possibly to my eBay store in the coming weeks.

This particular model has not yet been identified. The Style Number puts it around 1934 as it is prior to the Style Number research by only a small amount.  There is evidence of the 165/162 pairing and there are quite a few other models with a caliber 165 that have Style Numbers near this one so the confidence level in the 1934 date is high.

What's interesting about it are two things. The outside of the case is not marked Gruen. The second oddity is the Gruen Guild "M" movement is stamped as "unadjusted", twice, but the case has "Adjusted in USA" stamped in it. 

The 1946 Curvex Comet that wrecked my life as I know it. Ahem, inspired the exploration of the world of Gruens. Everyone recalls their first Gruen, right?


1940 Gruen Belmont

"I would rather be lucky than good."  An old friend used this quote often. He's gone now, so I guess he wasn't all that lucky, at least not in longevity. This 1940 Belmont model I have had for some time and overhauled it as well since it's in such great condition. The Gruen black and gray dials are among my favorites.

I recently acquired a 1940 ad/pamphlet with quite a few models I had not seen the names for previously. So, who knows, perhaps Volume 3 is down the road.... I've been on the lookout for this watch as well as others. I was lucky and stumbled upon the name in this 1940 ad. The dial color is different, but the style of the dial is spot on. There were three watches in the ad with the black/gray dial so it's the right era for my watch.

The Belmont uses a caliber 500F. The 500 was nearing the end of its life in 1940. The Curvexes replaced it as the preferred movement for men's long case watches. Several 500 models had a slight curve to them, but they couldn't create a curve anywhere near that of the 3 Curvex models that were already out in 1940.

The Style Number for this watch is 409. Using the Style Number 409 to date the watch puts it in 1940. Let me take a moment and say that while dating using the Style Number isn't perfect and has some anomalies, in the majority of cases it nails the year the watch was launched. If you haven't given it a try to date your Gruen, it's more than worth the effort.

Enjoy all the pictures. I've included the data block in the same format used in the Gruen Watch Model Identification Guides.

Gruen Precision Electronic

The new idea of putting the newer galleries at the top doesn't always mean you have a positive step forward.  This first watch, a Precision Electronic is not restored, but I had taken the pics and want to share the watch as it is unusual. 

This Gruen is an example of a Pre-quartz, Electric watch. It has all the normal workings of a lever wristwatch. It has a balance wheel, escapte, wheel, keyless works parts, etc. The mainspring has been replaced by a battery that runs the train and thus the watch still ticks like before, but the mainspring is VERY VERY long.  As long as the batteries last long.

Strap  26 - A Green Gold Doctor's Watch

This specific watch was found in the Gruen Guild book in the section labeled as being a Quadron watch for doctors. There are two non-Quadron watches pictured at the end of that section. One of them is this Strap 26. This watch is a perfect match.... except for the hands or hand. The metal dial has the exact same font.  

The other doctor's watch on the same page as the Strap 26 is the Strap 17.  It was a request for information on this Strap 17 model that resulted in the correct ID of both the Strap 26 but also the Strap 16.

Handful of Mike's Restorations

This gallery is a random selection of some of the watches I've restored in the past few years. Most are in someone else's Gruen collection, hopefully getting good use. They were a real joy to work on and bring back to life. A newly restored Gruen watch always brings a new surprise to me as I can finally see what hey looked like when he original owner picked it out from a display case.

I've included a few images from a books in the "Decade Series" of ID Guides (The 1940s, 1950's). One watch in particular I would like to point out is the Richmond. The Richmond is one of those watches I've seen a million times. It bugged me that I never knew the name of this ubiquitous model that you can almost always find on eBay. It wasn't until I completed The 1950s did I finally get the answer I was looking for. 

Recent Restorations Completed in August 2013

Some Gruens have finally started to come out the other end of the restoration process.  A few have a bit further to go, but thought I would shoot as many as I could while I have my attention on them. 

Description of the August 2013 Restorations Gallery 

The first group of photos is of a pair of 1950 / 1951 Veri-Thin Submarines from  1950 / 51.  I have 50/51 down because of the differing ads for the watch. The newspapers all have them in December of 1950 where Gruen's national ad was run in 1951. So, I think it was released right around that 50/51 border. 

The very last picture of the Submarine group was the previous Submarine that I restored. Because of how awesome the results were, I knew I wanted to do another one... or two.  I sold the first one so I'm without one of these fully restored ones. I'm at a bit of a dilemma.  I restore dials 99% of the time. One of these will for sure get restored, but I'm seriously debating about the other. It's in nice condition, but it's still not perfect like my first and the perfectness was the attraction for me. Must think on this one a bit.

I've included the Model Identification and Data Block for the VT Submarine as well. For the [conspiracy] theorists of the submarine pictured on the dial, that makes 3 Submarines that I've owned with no sub bobbing in the water.  I neither claim I'm one of the believers nor disbelievers of the dial picture theory.

Following the VT Submarines is a lady's watch that is not technically restored but rather a new acquisition. It's pictured because it's solid gold. It is the only remaining solid gold piece in my possession, for any brand.  Sad but true. Note how tiny it is.  I liked it because of the enamel inlay and the gold strap buckle.  While I haven't spent time finding the model, it looks like a classic Cartouche to me. I'm sure I'll find the model name soon enough.

I have popped a few of the images from the Model ID Guide publications and from the new Decade Series (The 1930's, The 1940's, The 1950's).  The Curvex Royalty that I have included has two illustrations, one from each of the different identification guide styles.  They are different in both form and function. 

A fully restored, and sold, 1950 Veri-Thin Submarine

This Submarine I restored several years ago. I believe it is one of the best jobs International Dial has done for me. This color / style of dial seems to come out great every time. I had a Lexington that also had a similar dial that also rocked.  You'll find it in one of these galleries. 

A "Collection" and watches stopping in for a visit

I never liked the idea of being a "collector". It always feels like hoarding to me. I like Gruens that come and go the most. It's certainly not for financial reasons as most restoration projects are losses with some break-evens (do the math or better yet restore a few!). I like them because it means someone is most likely to be wearing one of these Gruens and are potentially becoming real Gruen fans. The more the merrier.

There are a few that I've come to think of as permanent fixtures in my watch case and realize that I have indeed become a collector. It's a losing battle. Keeping the number in check is my goal now.

I've identified most if not all of my watches. It's hard not to try as soon as I get one. I'll spare you the identification part and leave that for the other page where I showcase other people's Gruen identification results.

What would a gallery of Gruens be without at least one Pan American in the mix?


1948 Veri-Thin Apollo

This VT Apollo was one of my earlier Gruen restorations.  My notes say I completed it in 2009. 

I've found quite a few illustrations of this watch. The Gruen Watch Model Identification Guide Volume 1, page 67 is the best among the batch. It's in full color and beautifully drawn. There are also two more shown in the book, The 1940's, pages 229 and 261. All of the Apollos I've seen have the deco-style dial. There are similar cased watches in the 1950's, but they don't have this deco dial and have different movements I would think.

I did not take pictures of the interior of this watch. It was restored during the time period that conventional wisdom was that the case data was useless information to collect, except for the caliber number in the case that could be used to match cases to movements. Little did I know how important this information was to become.

Some photographs of my Pebble Smart watch with Gruen Pan American dials and an Elgin A-11 World War II military watch. I jumped on the smart watch train when the pebble was still getting started and it's been a lot of fun (and handy). But I missed my Gruens when wearing. The solution, make Gruen dials.  I also like the look of the A-11 Pilot's watch dial so I made one for it too.  You can download the dials in the reference section.

Trying out a new gallery host for the fun of it.  Check out the ability to view the image at full resolution. It's nice to zoom into the movement sometimes. This one isn't done of course but wanted to share anyway. 

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