Gruen Movement Mystery

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441victor
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Gruen Movement Mystery

#1 Post by 441victor » Thu May 04, 2017 4:32 pm

I’ve finally come up with some answers about a series of Gruen wrist watch movements that I first posted about in 2011. Collecting watches "Made In the USA" has led me to Gruen’s grade 335 and 335SS movements made in Cincinnati Ohio and I’ve managed to collect a few nice models. My searches have also turned up pictures of other Cincinnati movements like a ladies grade 275 and the subject of this post, the 23j versions of the grade 335. I found the first two examples on Ebay. They were in gold filled cases marked 335/876. Their movements showed evidence that they had started out life as 21j grade 335’s but had been up-jeweled, likely in an attempt to stay competitive with offerings from Hamilton, Elgin and Bulova.

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The 21 Jewels on the train bridge had been over stamped as 23 and the balance cock had a grade marking of 235R. My post looking for information wasn’t very successful, returning only a few shrugs and the fact that the R indicated the prominent upgrade to shock-resistant jeweling for the balance. But this was before the game changing research by Mike and the hard work by the Gruen community here that has done a lot to make up for the sadly missing production records. In the 5 years since then I came across only one additional model. Pretty slim evidence to underpin a line of research.

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This one in a square case, no inside picture, and having the same movement modifications. Now let’s get to my latest find, that prompted me to post again. This week I received the results of a BIN auction for another 23j Cincinnati manufactured movement. This one missing its case. No doubt a victim of the plot to turn anything of beauty and value into more tasteless pieces of schlock clad in “20 milligrams of pure gold”.

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The markings here indicate a move toward 23 jeweled production. Starting as a center seconds grade 3351SS it has the re-stamped 21 but now no reference to the 235R. And the dial side shows 4 cap jewels for the pallet and 2nd, 3rd and escape wheel pivots.

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The seller was kind enough to pass along the dial and hands so the quest begins.

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It was time to spend an evening with my new Gruen Watch Catalog. Hoping I might be able to identify what model this came out of. On page 69, in the middle of the Strap section the models based on the Calibre 335 start to show up. I see some of my old friends there, the Strap 701 and my latest Gruen a Strap 716. About ten pages from the end, the grades 3351 and 3351SS stop appearing. And on the final 2 pages, there are 4 models based on the Calibre 3353 and 3353SS. All with 23 Jewels printed on their dials. The Strap 043 is the 14k yellow gold model that I now have a dial and movement from. The Strap 026 matches the images of the first model I found and the square cased watch is a match to the Strap 057 adding at least a 5th selection that was available. Paints a sad portrait of the final days of production in Cincinnati. Workers remarking movement parts and filling 6 or 10 new models with the last few thousand movements coming off the production line. Does anyone have more information to add. I have more questions of course. Like are there any ads out there for the 23 jeweled watches. And what is the Strap 844 that mentions a Calibre 2351. Is it a typo or a hint about the meaning of the 235R stampings. I would appreciate hearing about any more examples of movements or watches that are available or maybe even a spare Strap 043 case.

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MikeTheWatchGuy
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Re: Gruen Movement Mystery

#2 Post by MikeTheWatchGuy » Thu May 04, 2017 5:22 pm

Envious of the multi-strike movements :-)

Thank you for this post!

More later...
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Barney Green
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Re: Gruen Movement Mystery

#3 Post by Barney Green » Thu May 04, 2017 11:07 pm

Thank you for lining up the Norwood movement evolution.
Just to add a short answer: yes, there are a few ads for the 23 jewel watches. If I remember correctly they were all from 1957 to 1959 (plus a later series with non Gruen produced movements).

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MikeTheWatchGuy
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Re: Gruen Movement Mystery

#4 Post by MikeTheWatchGuy » Fri May 05, 2017 6:31 am

You'll find several 23 jewel watches in the Gruen Watch Model Identification Guide Volumes 1 and 2.

Barney is correct that most were in the late 1950s, however you'll find one from 1951.
The 1951 Autowind Medallion had 23 jewels and used the 480-3SS movement. It's on page 78 of Volume 1 and 120 of Volume 2

In Volume 2 you'll find a number of men's and women's 23 jewel watches that were sold in 1957. The Valiant is on page 133 and Remembrance & Teasdale on page 135.
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Royo
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Re: Gruen Movement Mystery

#5 Post by Royo » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:41 am

Hi there.
I came across this thread/forum whilst trying to find out about a 21J Gruen 335 I'm trying to restore and this is my first post here. But now I discover that photos can only be posted via a hosting site. I have to confess this is a pet hate!
But I'll try to add the snaps later.
My immediate problem is that the clutch wheel doesn't engage fully with the intermediate setting wheel. Looking at it as currently assembled I don't see sufficient wear on the teeth to account for the substantial gap. Nor does anything else look obviously wrong. Wrong stem?
Anyway, TBC I trust.
Roy
now, does this work?
https://ibb.co/dgv8Op
https://ibb.co/n9WtpU
https://ibb.co/e0cNip
https://ibb.co/hUVxG9
hmm, links
how about?
https://ibb.co/dgv8Op
https://ibb.co/n9WtpU
https://ibb.co/e0cNip
https://ibb.co/hUVxG9

I give up.

441victor
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Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Gruen Movement Mystery

#6 Post by 441victor » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:37 pm

Welcome to the forum Royo.
First the solution to your image problem is simple. When you are creating a post click, on the "Insert Image" button of the message tool bar. This will insert a pair of img tags in square brackets, []. For each picture you want to show here, right click on your image on the imgBB site and select properties. Copy the link, which for your first image would be https://image.ibb.co/gupDpU/PA110016.jpg. Paste this between the img and the /img tags in the message, and the result will be:

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I keep my images on Google and I have to do just this to get them into a post. If you don't have your images hosted somewhere, you can attach them using the instructions on the Attachments tab at the bottom of the post dialog.
Next, looking at your movement and comparing it to the dial side image in my post, it looks like the clutch and winding pinion are different. Yours may have been replaced by parts from a different movement. There may be something about how the clutch fits on the stem that won't allow it to move into engagement. I'll look at some more movements to see if they show the same differences. Joel

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Nookster
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Re: Gruen Movement Mystery

#7 Post by Nookster » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:58 am

You Gruen guys are doing great work in here.
mark@vintagehamilton.com
VWF owner, moderator and Hamilton Enthusiast

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