Thread: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

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  1. #1
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    1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    This was my mother's watch. It runs fast, and the jeweler says that the spring is shot so he suggested putting in a digital mechanism that won't affect the exterior cometics for $65. Is this a good idea, or can the spring be replaced by someone else? Should i at least keep the original parts? The watch is beautiful with 3 square rubys per side etc.

  2. #2
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    Re: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    Forget the jeweler and find a good watchmaker.

  3. #3
    Vintage/PilMil/MKII Moderator JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    Hi -

    First of all, welcome to the forum! Hope we can help you here.

    Second of all, yikes! Doing that to a good mechanical watch is like taking a perfectly good engine out of vintage Porsche and putting in a three-cylinder engine from some microcar from India. Sure, it'll work, but yikes!

    Please find a watchmaker! Jewelers tend to not particularly want to have much to do with maintenance and care of mechanical watches, since it's not something they do themselves much any more and they have hence the hassles and not much of the income.

    Third, we love pictures, regardless of the quality (well, we like really nice photos the best...). Even a cell phone picture is better than none.

    Gruen - I collect them - made some of the finest watches around back then, and it would really be close to criminal to gut it like that, especially considering that it's your mother's watch: that can never be replaced!

    The jeweler may even just be telling you that because they don't know what is wrong with it and want to do what is convenient for them (can you tell we've had bad experiences with jewelers that don't have their own watchmakers? Yes....) rather than what is good for your watch.

    That said, finding a good watchmaker who will do that mechanical watch properly isn't easy to find. Take your time, and if you have trouble finding one, come on back and we'll try to help you there. It will also be more expensive, since good watchmakers are rare and hence relatively expensive, but your mother's watch deserves that. A good cleaning and lubrication will be as much as $200 if there is significant work to be done (the watch may just be in need of some TLC, but if it hasn't been maintained for a long time, it will need some work on it...think of it like taking care of a car...), but you may find it be significantly less than that. If that's outside of your budget right now, put the watch aside after you find a watchmaker and save up: replacing the movement with something quartz is largely irreversible, since the hands and the dial feet (which mount onto the movement) would have to be modified, and you can't generally can't undo that sort of major surgery.

    Let us know what you think, and let us see the watch! You might be interested in this thread here as well:

    Need help identifying vintage cocktail Rolex, circa 1940

    where another ladies' watch from around this time era is talked about.

    JohnF
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  4. #4
    Member pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    Hi -

    First of all, welcome to the forum! Hope we can help you here.

    Second of all, yikes! Doing that to a good mechanical watch is like taking a perfectly good engine out of vintage Porsche and putting in a three-cylinder engine from some microcar from India. Sure, it'll work, but yikes!

    Please find a watchmaker! Jewelers tend to not particularly want to have much to do with maintenance and care of mechanical watches, since it's not something they do themselves much any more and they have hence the hassles and not much of the income.

    Third, we love pictures, regardless of the quality (well, we like really nice photos the best...). Even a cell phone picture is better than none.

    Gruen - I collect them - made some of the finest watches around back then, and it would really be close to criminal to gut it like that, especially considering that it's your mother's watch: that can never be replaced!

    The jeweler may even just be telling you that because they don't know what is wrong with it and want to do what is convenient for them (can you tell we've had bad experiences with jewelers that don't have their own watchmakers? Yes....) rather than what is good for your watch.

    That said, finding a good watchmaker who will do that mechanical watch properly isn't easy to find. Take your time, and if you have trouble finding one, come on back and we'll try to help you there. It will also be more expensive, since good watchmakers are rare and hence relatively expensive, but your mother's watch deserves that. A good cleaning and lubrication will be as much as $200 if there is significant work to be done (the watch may just be in need of some TLC, but if it hasn't been maintained for a long time, it will need some work on it...think of it like taking care of a car...), but you may find it be significantly less than that. If that's outside of your budget right now, put the watch aside after you find a watchmaker and save up: replacing the movement with something quartz is largely irreversible, since the hands and the dial feet (which mount onto the movement) would have to be modified, and you can't generally can't undo that sort of major surgery.

    Let us know what you think, and let us see the watch! You might be interested in this thread here as well:

    Need help identifying vintage cocktail Rolex, circa 1940

    where another ladies' watch from around this time era is talked about.

    JohnF
    What he said.
    Regards from Sunny San Diego..........Tom
    ____________________________________________________
    "There are two kinds of people in this world, my friend, those with loaded
    guns and those who dig!"................Blondie to Tuco in TGTB&TU (1966)


  5. #5
    Mod. Public/Cafe and MaL Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    JohnF is absolutely correct. The only time one might consider replacing a vintage movement is if the original is rusted beyond repair. Even then it should not be replaced with a digital or quartz movement, please. Such a thing would completely mess up a vintage watch of some considerable interest and sentimental value.
    A broken mainspring is fixable.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  6. #6
    Moderator at Large GinGinD's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    Please, please, please do not eviscerate your mother's watch! The watch gods will haunt you and I will have to send you hate PMs just on general principle.

    What about Bob Ridley in TX? I know he usually does PP and Rolex, but will he work on a Gruen?

    Jeannie
    Moderator at Large

  7. #7
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    Re: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    wow...i'm glad i found you guys, the jeweler has the watch...i'll call him today. It has been 'cleaned' already and he was to give me the guts back, but now that i read that some parts will be irrevocably changed i'll cancel the order. I'll get it back and post a photo. Thank you for your advice one and all! I know nothing about this (obviously). Katia

  8. #8
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    You came to the right watchforum Katia. Just make sure the jeweler give you back the watch (with the movment) in same condition as when handed to them. Then find a proper watchmaker. A Gruen is a good quality watch, I have one as well. Follow JohnF's guidance and you will have a beautiful family legacy that will last for ever if taken care of.

    Erik_H

  9. #9
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    Re: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    Called the jeweler and canceled the job, he had sent it out so i'll pick it up Tues, then post some pictures. I'd appreciate any help on finding a reputable watchmaker in the Orange County area of Calif. I'm thinking that this might take some time but that's OK.:thanks

  10. #10
    Mod. Public/Cafe and MaL Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's gruen ruby & diamond ladies watch

    Check the article in our Links and Articles sub-forum about watchmakers in your area. There are a couple of databases which should help.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

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