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 Post subject: Gruen 19 jewel
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:34 pm 
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Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Thanks to Barney, Mike and John for helping with the ladies watch.

Seems I keep stumbling over watches here and there. Latest was from a antique dealer visited yesterday who had a stuffed jewelry case and under a bunch of jewellery boxes I saw the Gruen blue of a watch box peaking out. Found it was indeed a Gruen box and inside was this 19 jewel. I probably paid a bit much as there is not much gold fill left on the case but thought it would be a good practise watch. Movement seemed ok too. Paid $45 with the box. That's in CANADIAN dollars; what's that, about $5 USD? :lol:

The case back says 535 SS - 161. An obvious sweep seconds movement. Inside I can't see any markings other than the 19 jewels and what appears to be a pallet fork symbol and number 1161 I believe. There is what appears to be III marked on the balance cock.

Tried Mike's online ID with the style number but it doesn't seem to make sense. Put in 161 and it says 1934 (with 703 caliber) obviously not a 30s watch. Then typed in 535 and it said 420SS caliber (pretty sure this is a 17 jewel not 19). What am I missing here? My cursory internet search came up short too.

Any thoughts?


Attachments:
Gruen 19J  1176.jpg
Gruen 19J 1176.jpg [ 71.2 KiB | Viewed 290 times ]
Gruen 19J  1177.jpg
Gruen 19J 1177.jpg [ 96.61 KiB | Viewed 290 times ]
Gruen 19J  1178.jpg
Gruen 19J 1178.jpg [ 127.58 KiB | Viewed 290 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Gruen 19 jewel
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:18 am 
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Location: Germany
Patrick,

the style number of your watch is 1161 rather than 161. The watch was produced after Gruen ran out of three digit style numbers, so that is why Mikes data base came up with strange results when trying the 161...

The watch can be dated to 1960 plus / minus one year. It has been most likely been sold as part of the "Americana" series, where most of the 19 jewel watches have been placed in this 2 year time frame (Sept. 1959 to summer 1961). Unfortunatley I do not have a name for your watch, the dial shows a very unusual font for the numbers which makes me believe that your watch is one of the later (1961).

The movement is not marked with the 535SS, but it is based on the Hermann Becker caliber 1151 just like the three 535 SS with 17 jewels which I own. Your variant has the 2 additonal jewels in the cap plate as differenciation. The 19 jewel variant might have been called caliber 1161 coincidentally.

Barney


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 Post subject: Re: Gruen 19 jewel
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:02 pm 
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Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Thanks Barney. I'll endeavour to show some after pictures. The movement is now ticking away and the dial cleaned up okay as did the case. Interesting the Hermann Becker reference you make; that was all I found while doing an internet search but dismissed it.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruen 19 jewel
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:34 pm 
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Patrick,

after having spent some more time thinking about your watch, a few thoughts came to my mind which I would like to share.
1) My 19 jewel watches which are part of the Americana series are all caliber 100SS. The 535SSs I have are 17 jewel versions. So your watch may not be part of the series.
2) Probably the Americana series was only sold in the US (might be politically correct). Since you are living in Canada and bought the watch in Canada it might not be part of the series.
3) Your movement seems to be missing the GXC import mark. So it was most likely never intended to be sold in the US where it was mandatory until about 1967 to have the mark.
4) I have bought a few watches in Canada in the past also missing the GXC mark. Thesre was a number of them which I have never seen being sold in the US. They were not in the Gruen Catalog aka Master book and never advertised in the US. So I assume that the Gruen branch in Toronto defined a number of watches on their own. The Gruen Watch Company of Canada LTD existed from 1936 to 1995.

These facts lead to the assumption that your watch was probably only sold in Canada, not part of the Americana series and may therefore not be dated to 1960 plus minus one year. Although I believe it must be close to this range...

Barney


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 Post subject: Re: Gruen 19 jewel
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:15 am 
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Interesting chapter!

I have done some investigation, and yes, there was a "Gruen Canadiana" series in Canada at the same time and the watches I have seen looked different than the Americana watches.
And in 1961 I have seen a 19 jewel Gruen Dorchester advertisement. But this is definitely not your watch. The one that comes closest but has a different dial is this one from late 1959:

Attachment:
Canadiana Dec_18_1959.jpg
Canadiana Dec_18_1959.jpg [ 556.73 KiB | Viewed 244 times ]


Barney


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 Post subject: Re: Gruen 19 jewel
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:43 pm 
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Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Excellent find Barney.

Interesting that Bulova, Elgin and Gruen (and perhaps other US watch companies) likely had different configurations for us Canadian consumers. Hamilton on the other hand, seemed to be pretty true and consistent with their product (or is that too general a statement). During my short venture into vintage watch collecting, it appears Hamilton is not a common vintage watch to be found here (at least on the west coast of Canada where I live, which BTW, for those watching at home, is near Seattle).

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