Case serial numbers found in The Gruen Watch Catalog reveal interesting data

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MikeTheWatchGuy
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Case serial numbers found in The Gruen Watch Catalog reveal interesting data

#1 Post by MikeTheWatchGuy » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:36 pm

I noticed something remarkable about the serial numbers of the cases found in The Gruen Watch Catalog. What's nice about this printing is that I've been able to collect more serial numbers from Gruen watch cases by simply using the photos in The Catalog. I noticed that FOUR different models were all within a 1,000 range.

The Quadrons 77, 78, 85, and 86 can all be found on page 22. All of these cases were made by Gruen Case

Working on the Caliber 440 serial numbers has started to put real-world production numbers into perspective. The number 4,000 has been tossed around as a "batch size" for Wadsworth orders. I'm starting to think that perhaps the orders may have been in that size, but it was unlikely to all be the same MODEL.

What's interesting about these 4 Quadron models is that 3 of them I think are the same basic design but have a different pattern stamped on the bezel. Other than that, the bezels & case backs are the same dimensions and basic rectangular design. They have matching Caliber/StyleNumbers of 877/8. The odd-Quadron-out is the Quadron 77, a non-rectangular model and is a 119/8

1273410 Quadron 85
1273457 Quadron 78 (delta 47)
1273470 Quadron 86 (delta 13)
1274152 Quadron 77 (delta 682)

These were made by Gruen's own case factory so maybe they have more control over the "batch" size.
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Barney Green
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Re: Case serial numbers found in The Gruen Watch Catalog reveal interesting data

#2 Post by Barney Green » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:07 pm

Very interesting find, Mike!
I can think of three possible explantions.
1) These were sample badges of probably 20 cases.
2) Wadsworth provided bare cases and Gruen did the embossing of the pattern inhouse
3) Wadsworth produced and stamped the backs in one badge and shared with the different bezels

2) is unlikely, because one would probably see marks from the embossing or they would also have to do the final polishing in house
I tend to possibilty 3)

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JackW
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Re: Case serial numbers found in The Gruen Watch Catalog reveal interesting data

#3 Post by JackW » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:27 am

MikeTheWatchGuy wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:36 pm
The number 4,000 has been tossed around as a "batch size"
From Cleves' talk he stated 2000 for batches from Wadsworth. Keep in mind this was from his interview with employees of Wadsworth towards the end of Wadsworth as a going concern. Might be worthwhile to review the talk again or write Charles.

Are these solid gold cases?
All I know is based on hard work & writing by others. I can only aspire to augment this body of knowledge. If I am wrong it is because of my own failings. -me
"If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - Newton

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Barney Green
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Re: Case serial numbers found in The Gruen Watch Catalog reveal interesting data

#4 Post by Barney Green » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:53 am

According to the Catalogue the Quadrons mentioned have been available only in solid gold.

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MikeTheWatchGuy
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Re: Case serial numbers found in The Gruen Watch Catalog reveal interesting data

#5 Post by MikeTheWatchGuy » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:02 am

Yea, all solid gold, which to me explains why the small "batch size", at least in terms of the individual models.

I don't think the cases shown in The Catalog were special made to be shot for the catalog. I think Gruen probably made a mixed batch of watches, a normal production run perhaps of 50 of one model, 100 of another.

I'm merely pointing out that the QUANTITIES of cases manufactured at any one time is much smaller than I anticipated, but it does make sense for them to stamp out watches according to the MARKET and to ORDERS placed by jewelers rather than a fixed number, such as 2,000.

Maybe there was an order size of 2,000 placed, but I doubt that they were always for the same model. The production numbers don't support making 2,000 cases for each model ordered, right? Recent 440 movement serial number work is showing that the Curvexes sold only 1,000 per year in the early 1940s and that was for ALL models of Curvex combined.
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