Galleries of Gruens, Most are Found in the Gruen ID Books

The Gruen Identification books in Action.

Some are galleries of other Gruen watch restorers and have yet to be identified.

These galleries are of Gruen watches restored by others. Most of these folks use the Gruen ID guides to find model names, but some watches posted here have yet to be identified. I chose many that were from the Decade series as those are some of the most obscure watches. However, some of these watches are quite common, but their names were not common knowledge.

Many of these Gruen Galleries comes to us from Israel from a company named Timepiece Limited. If you've spent time on eBay looking at Gruens then you've no doubt seen their Gruens before. The restorations are among the best I've ever seen. You can expect to see more of their stunning Gruens here in the future. There is something new that I haven't seen every week and they are beautifully shot. Every angle that I need in order to perform a solid identification he's taken. 

Timepiece Ltd. is an Israeli business dedicated solely to restoration and sales of vintage watches with an emphasis on correct restoration. You can view some of their ongoing work in process on time Timepiece facebook page. They also operate the ebay shop, EmpressSissi, where some of their restored Gruen watches, as well as other brands that have also been meticulously restored, can be purchased.

He has been generous to allow me to post these high resolution images straight from his auctions. Please honor the copyright of these images in return for his generosity.

His galleries are arranged with the newest at the top.

The Cartouche 76 model - Another journey with surprises

This particular watch was brought to me by a collector wishing have his watch identified. As usual, there were surprises along the way that were very eye opening and shed light on the process Gruen used in creating ads as well as the accuracy of watches portrayed in advertisements.

 Take a look at this stunning Cartouche first, just to soak in the beauty. Wow, what a timepiece to be able to research. Tasty stuff. Lady's watches still get a bad rap, but with some collectors the beauty / cost ration is so low that it's difficult to pass up purchasing a few. Additionally, just as many heirloom Gruens are from women as men. The photos requested when getting ID help were all submitted (thank you very much for that!)

A little background on Cartouches led the effort, along with the hints found in the watch itself. If you were to follow the techniques in the tutorial on learning more about your Gruen, you too may eventually land on this Cartouche model name as known to the public versus the internal naming from the Master Book.

Gruen began producing Cartouche watches in 1921 according to the Gruen Guild Book of 1929. They continued to be advertised until approximately 1931 as can be seen in The 1930's book. Only one or two of them were stragglers that stayed in the ads until 1934.

The first thing to do is write down all the text from the case and movement. The patent date of 1925 in the case is clue #1. This date may not be the date the watch first started to ship as the lag between a patent submitted and issued can take a while. In the 1920's, unlike today, it only took a year or two to get a patent issued if it isn't contested. 1924 became the target date to begin the search.

It was a difficult search if held to just the watches found in published materials such as the 1929 Guild Book. One reason for this may have been the case material of this watch. It is a gold filled case. Those in the Guild Book are for the most part solid gold. It wasn't present in any of the nationally advertisements that I could locate either. However, I found a match in numerous newspaper ads. MANY matches in fact. Luckily they printed the real model name for this watch in the ads. It's a Cartouche 76.

The surprise part was when I took the verification one step further than usual. I made a digital image of 7 separate ads from different newspapers with the watches lined up next to each other. They all matched nearly perfectly. These ads spanned the years 1925 to 1928 which matches that patent date in the case. Additional images continued for this model until the 1934 cutoff discussed above. 

The illustrations matched so well next to each other that I decided to try superimposing the ad onto the physical watch. It was shocking to say the least. The ad, perfectly matched the photograph of the watch. You can easily see this in the image in the gallery. The inner ring and the numerals around the outside are too close of a match to be coincidence. 

Gruen was known to supply drawings to newspapers so that they could run images of the watches in their ads. This image, that matches so well, is one of those Gruen supplied images. There was no artistic license at all present in these drawings. There is no doubt that this artist was working from a blueprint or other scale drawing of the watch. The thought that artists routinely drew watches incorrectly or did their own thing to them is something I've never believed. There hasn't been much proof to support it in terms of comparing published ads to watches. Usually what has happened is that the identification put forth doesn't match the ad because the identification is simply wrong. There's no match because it isn't that watch.

Agree or not with the ID, we can all agree that this watch is absolutely stunning and is enjoyable to examine, so have fun!

This 1948 Groom I've seen countless times in my ads, but I had never put the ad picture to a watch. Since I've seen this ID, I was looking at my Gruen drawer and found I had one too.

And, this week, another rolls off the line from my friend Tal, the eBay seller with the store EmpressiSissi. 

Here is a beautiful 425 713, yet to have its model name identified. The Style Number puts the watch right at 1950 which is in line with the style of the watch itself. The peaked crystal of this watch is one of the features that gives it that little 'pop'. These crystals became quite popular in the early 1950's with Gruen.

OK, so this next gallery is of watches I restored and identified. Can't hurt to put them here with the other identified watches. 

I was really blown away when I saw this very complete Gruen.  It's probably the most complete New Old Stock Vintage Gruen I've ever seen. It's a 15 jewel Veri-Thin All Star 1.  It has every piece I can think of from the box (both outer and inner) to the tags on the band.  Instead of the usual "wear me!" voice I hear (yes, I hear voices from watches), this one says "no way!"

While you'll see that the watch is in one of the ID Guides, this complete setup does a more than adequate job of self-identifying. I suppose the date is the only real value-add.

You are lucky because it can be purchased.  Contact 'Stoph' at

 Time Restored on eBay - Finds of very common Gruens, but not commonly named 

This 1954 Richmond is a watch we've all also seen a LOT on eBay or even owned several.  I'm sure I have.  They're just common for some reason.  I saw, in The 1950's Decade Book many many years with it advertised.  It wasn't until 1954 that I saw an ad with the name.  The Style Number marks it at around 1953 which seems close as I did see some in 1953.

While not officially buzzing in eBay ads, I it will show up.

If you're an eBay seller, and you are finding my guides to be of great use to you, if would could please give shout-out it sure would be appreciated as it's a great way to get the word to collectors that want to learn more about their Gruens.

Have fun kids.

A series of reports on the TixnTox eBay listings

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For July 1, TWO Great TIXnTOX Gruens Found in The Decade Books

Continuing his long line of beautifully restored Gruens, you'll find many very nice watches of his on this site.  This week, he added two more that he found the model names for in my books... the 1938 Carlyle and a 1940 Pilot.  ou can bet these are right there at the top of the quality Gruen watches offered on ebay this week.The "New to Me Gruen of the Week"

This week he surprised me with at least two identifications from my most recent books.  One is the VT Banner above in the gallery.  
The other Gruen is this awesome, wildly faceted crystal Veri-Thin Regal.The crystal is wild. I've included one more picture that shows it well.  Very cool design by Gruen's designers.  Imagine the fun sitting in on a few of their design meetings....

Finally a Ladies ID this Week

Lady's watches are simply not very popular compared to men's.  But I don't give up on them. Looking at the advertising, women were clearly the focus of their ad campaigns. The Gruen lady's watch model were sometimes very similar, but all of them are stunning in my opinion. Even a utilitarian one such at the VT Hopkins have their own beauty.  I don't expect to give up giving equal weight to lady's watches as men's.  Who knows, someday perhaps the tiny cocktail watches will come back when eye surgeries are commonplace and every sees better than 20/20. Give it 60 or 80 years and you'll see.... literally (ha!)
A common Gruen with uncommon lack of wear

These Gruens shown here are a tiny faction of the Gruens he's restored in total.  He's worked to find model names for quite some time. I believe it was an Epoch that he used the ID Guide book to find. I recall it was a color picture.

This week he has a nice looking Veri-Thin Banner.  Most folks already know the name, and some the date.  If you've seen one before, you've more than likely seen the wear they tend to have on the bezel of the watch.  Not in this example though.  It's a rare specimen.

Gary's been super nice, polite, and provides some of the best customer service on eBay.  You can easily see this in the prices he gets for his Gruens. His customers know they are getting a quality Gruen and are willing to pay for that extra bit of quality and service. 

The hunt for the CARTOUCHE 65 model name

This is one of those "meandering Gruens" that takes you on an interesting path when you dig into it a little. Aren't they all meandering to some extent? This one in particular taught me a lot about Gruen, patents, and their cases.

I liked it because, I dunno exactly. I think it was the inlay combined with the "diamonds".  But upon close look, there are no diamonds. Where it looks like diamonds (at a distance they looked like diamonds to me) there is actually a pattern cut into the case. Maybe it's rookie stuff to be discovering, but I'll be the first to admit I learn something pretty fundamental and often trivial every day.

A few days after privately showing it off and claiming it may be one of the Gruens advertised with "Onyx Inlay", my research partner Barry turns up a patent for a very similar watch. It was a perfect match
 Way to go Barry! Damn, he's good and I'll just keep sponging off of him.

This patent was applied for on May 26, 1924 so this gives me a great date to begin the hunt for nailing down the exact model of watch I have.

It's time then to go do a bit more of a proper ID. Cracking the watch open I find that the movement is an 833, an early Cartouche model. Digging through all my reference material and books, I found a match with a "Cartouche 65". The case matched but the dial and hands did not which is all OK.  The ID solved much of the mystery for me.  

I also found , the same year it the very similar Cartouche 37 was offered for sale. In fact, Barry located the patent for the Cartouche 37 case. The difference between the two is the 65 has 2 pieces of inlay, the 37 has one., 192

While looking at the caseback, I was presented with a case that is FILLED with repairer's marks..  Every square millimeter seemed to have something scratched into it. These I find fascinating as it shows a history of the maintenance of the watch. This owner clearly really cared about it and kept up a regular service for many many years. They also add a human touch as the watchmaking working on the watch etched, with their own hand, a record of the repair. FYI, these marks were, and continue to be, made using the outside tip of one of the tongs of a pair of tweezers. I find that I have more control and smoother writing, with less digging into the metal, using this method than using a scribe.

Also, take a look at the Wadsworth stamp in the back of the case.  It says:


The 833 matches the movement caliber so no surprises there. What is surprising is how crude the words were stamped into the back. They look hand engraved to me. 

Meander now starts in the direction of "What do old Gruen Wadsworth cases look like?"  This is how one loses a night. 

Another case is pictured in this gallery for a caliber 155. It too looks hand engraved.  But wait, the flaws in the first case's letters are identical to the flaws in the second case.  It sure looks like an identical die was used for both cases and it was one that was hand-written.  Weird.  The same die was used.  One of the pictures is a line from each of the cases shown together.

These cases have serial numbers that are 138,176 between them. The numbering scheme of them makes sense as the 833 predated the 155 by a year or two.  You would think in that amount of time someone would have replaced the hand scrawled lettering. That leads to a question of "why?"  Could it be that perhaps someone important, say a "Mr. Gruen", wrote it?  Sssuuuurrreeee... that's it!  New Gruen folk-lore is born!  Pass it on with conviction!

The images and text are copyrighted 2013 Second Hand Press.  No distribution using any media print or electronic is allowed unless specifically granted. Thank you to the other contributors that shared their beautiful Gruens with us. Please also use their images with great care. Enjoy these beautiful works of functional art.