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 Post subject: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:19 pm 
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Anyone recognize this watch?


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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:49 pm 
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Typically the Ultra-Verithin watches date from the 1920s, but there are different movements that could narrow that down. A picture of movement would help. Any markings inside the case back?


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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:18 pm 
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Any ideas on how to get the back off? I don't see any place to grip or pry...
Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:17 pm 
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Here's info from inside the Gruen Ultra Verithin pocket watch.
Can anyone date this watch?

Number inside back:15403
Number on watch mechanism: 557314
Watch repair inscription inside back cover: MA9231-1073M


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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:41 pm 
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What a beauty!

I have never seen one of these before and it does not appear in one of the ads or books I own.
So dating the watch to me looks difficult. But let us give it a try. The Ultra VeriThin movement is said to have been introduced in 1922. This probably gives a starting point although the Blue Book from 1917 already metions the Trademark Ultra-Vertithin. The last ad I have mentioning the Ultra VeriThin is from 1933. This should give an end point. Neither the 1929 Guild Book nor the 1927 Stock Record Book or the Master Book / Catalog shows this watch. The Master Book / Catalog starts late 1922 and is showing the majority of watches sold between 1922 and 1957.
Taking all these facts together leads to 1922 as a date for the watch.


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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:37 pm 
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IMO, it's not surprising that this wouldn't be in any books or catalogs. I think it's becoming continually more clear that Gruen was involved in the one-off or small run business in the 1920s. God only knows why or for whom this watch was made, but it sure looks like a custom piece of some sort to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:57 am 
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Nice!!

I agree that this is a Swiss custom made case. I have recorded quite a few of them and found cases with 5-digit serial numbers and cases with 4-digit serials. I have no information on who produced them so far, but maybe there is a link to the Swiss made high end wrist watch cases, Weber & Cie. being one of them. I have not researched if there is a serial number correlation between the wrist watch cases and pocket watch cases.

The 5-digit examples below are close to your case number.

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Gruen Ultra VeriThin 1.1 voorkant.jpg
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Two 4-digit examples

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As far as dating your pocket watch I would date it a bit later than 1922. I have found a couple of Ultra Verithin serial numbers with dated cases of which I'm reasonably sure they are more or less correct. I know you always have to be careful with drawing conclusions from dated cases...
The ones relevant to your serial number are

- 556,038 with a date 1931
- 557,070 with a date 1934

This would date your pocket watch early 1930's, but no later than 1934 when "adjusted temperatures" was milled out, "unadjusted" and "GXC" US tariff importer code was added on the UV calibers. The only issue is that pocket watch sales by that time was declining sharply and you will find earlier serial numbers "GXC" code as well, most likely old stock that was sold after 1934.

Anyway my best guess.
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Gruen Ultra VeriThin (cal. UV) movement errased adjust 1.2.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:32 am 
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I don't know if this possibly help or hurts with the dating, but my Strap 79 has a Swiss 14k case, similar logos and a serial number not all that far off, 17548. It appeared in the 1927 book. No guarantee that it's the same case maker or same serial number series, but it certainly could be.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:32 pm 
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I know its not a gruen but this case has similarities..the colored enamel notably the red/orange balls and of course the head. This serial # for this watch is 3994527 dates it to 1921. This is a swiss cased longines and the serial # is on both movement and case. Longines movement # dating is not perfect but is accurate enough to give you ballpark figure. My opinion is that the gruen is from the same time period as this watch.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:51 am 
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SFC wrote:
I know its not a gruen but this case has similarities..the colored enamel notably the red/orange balls and of course the head. This serial # for this watch is 3994527 dates it to 1921. This is a swiss cased longines and the serial # is on both movement and case. Longines movement # dating is not perfect but is accurate enough to give you ballpark figure. My opinion is that the gruen is from the same time period as this watch.


The case maybe so, but I don't agree with dating the movement to 1921. The UV caliber was only introduced by Gruen in 1922 as Barney already said.

The only reliable way of dating Gruen pocket watches today is through Wadsworth case serial numbers which however were only used towards the end in combination with the UV calibre.

The earliest Wadsworth case serial numbers that I have found so far (total of 72 data points) are starting with “G0” which were produced from 1937 to 1939.
The lowest UV calibre serial in a “G0” case is 557,979 meaning that I can say with reasonable certainty that that movement was married to that case not earlier than 1937.

Bill’s serial number 557,314 is not too far off that serial number. However the reason I date it before 1934 instead of closer to 1937 is because Bill's movement still has “Adjusted to Temperatures” engraved on the bridges as explained before.

For reference the earliest UV calibre serial number I have found so far is 549,044 and the highest serial is 564,680 which is cased in a Wadsworth “G1” serial number (1940-1941).

This is my best educated guess of why I date it early 30's.


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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:14 am 
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SFC,

Quote:
Longines movement # dating is not perfect but is accurate enough to give you ballpark figure.


Are you aware that you can write/email Longines and they'll look up the watch in their ledgers. Those I think are pretty precise. Something that has gone missing for Gruen. I'm also pleased to see that the Wadsworth serials are being helpful to this rather interesting discussion.

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:28 pm 
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I realizing I'm stating the obvious, but even if that movement dates closer to to 1934, that certainly doesn't mean the case does. I'd be shocked if that case wasn't made considerably earlier than that, and closer to the date of the Longines that SFC posted.

Another wildcard with Gruen is that I don't think anybody really has any clue what their intentions were with some of these elaborate cases. Just looking at the circa late '20s to mid '30s Import section of the Master Book, there are probably well over 50, maybe over 75 extremely elaborate wristwatch cases, and many more plainer models that I've never seen in nearly 20 years of stalking them, and I've seen others that weren't in the Master Book at all, so it's anybody's guess how many of these one-off or extremely low production cases were actually made. Only a handful of the more conservative Import designs ever show up in the marketing materials that still exist. I guess anything's possible, but it seems unlikely that each of these wild designs was produced as the result of a specific customer request.

So how and why were these cases ordered? Were they immediately fitted with a movement and put up for sale? Did they sit in inventory, possibly for years, before a need arose leading to significant discrepancies between case and movement production dates? The lack of concrete facts around these custom/one-off/limited production models certainly doesn't make it any easier to date them.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:23 pm 
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Just to add to the confusion :lol: . I actually own one of the Swiss pentagons that was posted. It has an engraving I had not researched.
The UV number is 557,438 a bit higher than the original watch posted
I looked into the golf tournament..their website shows that the tournament started in 1925 and that J.L. Bumgardner won the tourney in 1927.
It very well could be his victory watch from 1927 but since the engraving only praises the man for sportsmanship you can't know 100%


http://www.virginiasseniorsgolf.com/Tournaments/History.aspx
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 Post subject: Re: Gruen Verithin Pocket Watch - date?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:00 am 
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That's exactly what is making Gruen so exiting ;)


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