Saturday, January 28, 2012

AUTHENTIC VINTAGE 14K WHITE GOLD FILLED GRUEN TANQ ARTDECO GENTS WRISTWATCH













BRAND/JENAMA: VINTAGE GRUEN ARTDECO DATE GENTS WRISTWATCH
MADE IN/BUATAN: SWISS
CIRCA/TAHUN: 1953 based on style no 885 stamped on the caseback
MODEL: ARTDECO
CRYSTAL/CERMIN: ACRYLIC
MOVEMENT/ENJIN: SWISS AGLEAR GRUEN GUILD 15 JEWELS MANUAL WINDING MOVEMENT
DIAL COLOR: SILVER TONE
FUNCTION/FUNGSI: HOUR AND MINUTE
HANDS/JARUM: LUMINOUS BLUE METAL (NO LONGER LUMED)
MARKERS/TANDA WAKTU: BOLD BLACK ARABIC
CASING : 14K WHITE GOLD FILLEDK
LUGS: 16mm UNIQUE DESIGN HARD TO FIND
MEASUREMENT/UKURAN: 30mm DIAMETER EXCLUDING CROWN and 36mm LUG TO LUG
DITANDA/ENGARVED BACK CASING: GRUEN
CROWN: GWHITE GOLD FILLED
STRAP/TALI: NEW BLACK LIZARD GRAIN LEATHER BAND
SIZE STRAP/SAIZ TALI: 8.5"
WORKING CONDITION, KEEPING TIME, DISCONTINUED MODEL & HARD TO FIND
PRICE/HARGA: PERSONAL COLLECTION BUT WILLING TO LET GO FOR RM1,500

Gruen Watch Company
On June 12, 1874 Dietrich Gruen applied for a patent on an improved safety pinion, which was granted on December 22. He was 27 years old.

In 1876 he formed the Columbus Watch Manufacturing Company in the basement of a downtown Columbus, Ohio bank building.

In his Columbus workshop, Dietrich modified, finished and cased raw movements that were imported from Switzerland. These new watches included his patented safety pinion. Dietrich introduced 16-size watches as an alternative to the heavy and thick 18-size and larger watches that were prevalent at the time. He also introduced the first stemwind watches sold in the U.S. market.

As the company grew, they moved to two floors in a commerical building a few blocks away.

In 1882, in collaboration with a number of new partners, the company was reorganized as the Columbus Watch Company and moved to a newly-constructed factory building located on Thurman Street, in the 'German Village' section of Columbus. Dietrich was President of the new corporation.

By 1888 production was about 45 watches per day; the company would grow to 300 employees and output to 150 watches per day. Although the company continued to issue stemwind watches, they also manufactured keywind movements for some of their less-expensive models.

After a series of disagreements with the other partners, Dietrich Gruen and his son Fred left the Columbus Watch Company in 1894, shortly before the business went bankrupt. Dietrich had lost his share of the company to the investors, and was faced with the prospect of staying on as a salaried employee at the company that he had founded. He chose to leave rather than bear this indignity. After the departure of the Gruens the firm was reorganized, refinanced and renamed "The New Columbus Watch Company."

The New Columbus Watch Company survived until 1903. The contents of the factory, including all the tooling and stocks of movements, were eventually purchased by the Studebaker family, moved to Indiana (along with many key employees) and used to start the South Bend Watch Company. Some early South Bend watches were sold with signed Columbus movements in them.

In 1894, Fred Gruen and Dietrich Gruen decided to try to start a new watch company. Using money borrowed from friends and relatives, Dietrich and Fred formed the partnership "D. Gruen and Son.".

These first Gruen watches are of very high quality and are beautifully made. Both 18 and 16 size versions were manufactured, each in both open face and hunter styles, and in 18- and 21-jewel versions. The earliest D. Gruen & Son serial numbers started around 62000. The Gruens dealt directly with individual jewelry stores; there were no wholesalers or jobbers involved in the distribution of their watches.

In 1898 George Gruen joined the firm as treasurer and financial officer. The company incorporated and its name changed to D. Gruen, Sons & Company.

In 1903 Gruen introduces its "VeriThin" line of watches.

In 1908 Gruen introduced both men's and women's wristwatches. These proved popular only with women. Gruen was one of a very few companies to take wristwatches seriously this early, seeing their potential in spite of disappointing early sales to male customers.

Gruen made both wrist and pocket watches for the military during World War I. Most had silver cases, which would tarnish but would not corrode under adverse conditions. To satisfy U.S. military regulations, these watches all have luminous dial markings and hands.

1911 Dietrich Gruen dies suddenly. Fred Gruen takes control of the company.

In 1913 the company purchased Nanny Goat Hill, a pasture just outside of Cincinnati, and renamed it Time Hill. Work began on a new building designed by architect Guy C. Burroughs at a construction cost estimated at $50,000 USD. The company moved to the new location in 1917.

1921: Gruen introduces The Cartouche wrist watch calling it "The logical wrist watch shape".

1922: Gruen introduces "The Pentagon" pocket watch. "the Croix de Guerre of American achievement"

Up until 1922 there had actually been three Gruen companies: D. Gruen, Sons & Company; The Gruen National Watch Case Company of Cincinnati; and The Gruen Watch Manufacturing Company of Biel, Switzerland. In 1922 all three businesses were merged to form the Gruen Watch Company, with Fred as President.

In 1924, Gruen released a special pocket watch in an edition of 600 to commemorate their 50th anniversary. The watch cost $500 at the time.

In 1925, Gruen introduced the men's Quadron. These were rectangular watches containing very high-quality 15-j or 17-j tonneau-shaped movements.

In 1928 Gruen releases The Techni-Quadron. The famous Techni-Quadron "doctor's watches" are so-called because the large seconds dial was handy for timing a patient's pulse.

In 1935 Fred Gruen, now 63 years old, became Chairman of the Board and Benjamin S. Katz was brought in as President of the Gruen Watch Company. In 1935, Gruen was about $1.8 million USD (roughly $36 million USD today) in debt; nervous stockholders and investors were behind the change. Fred would retire in 1940, but continued to sit on the board for the rest of his life.

In 1935 Gruen introduces the most famous Gruen wristwatch- "The Curvex". These watches are one of the greatest examples of 1930s streamlined design.

1937: Gruen introduces "The Ristside" or "driver's" watches.

In 1938, continuing the success of their VeriThin pocket watches, Gruen also launched a series of Veri-Thin wristwatches. Contemporary Curvex and Veri-Thin movements often are closely related, and can share many parts. By the 1940s, most Gruen wristwatches were either Veri-Thin or Curvex models.

Although Gruen did not manufacture watches for the U.S. military, they offered the public a collection of eight military-style watches, to be used as personal watches.

In 1949, the company introduced their first watches made entirely in the U.S., a line of 21-jewel men's models called the "Gruen 21". The movements are marked "Cincinnati" or "US" instead of the usual "Switzerland."

Fred Gruen retired in 1940 and died in 1945, and his brother George died in 1952. In 1953 the Gruen family sold their interest in the company. The same year, Gruen president Benjamin Katz was forced into retirement after a scandal, and in 1954 the company bought out his shares for $2 million USD.

In 1953, the Gruen Watch Company had its highest sales in its entire history.
Gruen, Rolex and Aegler

One of the most deeply-held myths about Gruen is that Gruen and Rolex at one time manufactured movements for each other's watches. Both firms did use some of the same movements—the best known examples are the Gruen Techi-Quadron and its twin, the Rolex Prince. In reality, these movements were manufactured by a third company, Aegler, who was a very close neighbor to the Gruen Precision Factory.

Above: The Aegler factory in Biel. Aegler made movements for Rolex (which had no manufacturing capability at the time), and this building is the main Rolex factory today. Aegler was partly owned by Gruen.
Gruen and Rolex were Aegler's biggest customers, and were both large shareholders as well—the full company name at one time was, Aegler, Societe Anonyme, Fabrique des Montres Rolex & Gruen Guild A. Gruen and Rolex both occasionally showed pictures of the huge Aegler factory in their advertising, making the implication that this was a Gruen- or Rolex-owned facility, although ownership at the time was divided among Gruen, Rolex and Aegler itself. Gruen sold their Aegler shares in the 1930s, after they moved all production to the Precision Factory. After this time, Aegler became increasingly tied to Rolex through the sale of stock. Today, the main Rolex building in Biel is the old Aegler factory, and though it is now owned by Rolex, it is still run by the Aegler family.

This article taken from Complete Price Guide to Watches, American Wriswatches, Rolex Wristwatches: Best of Time and Gruen Master Book

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