Gruen Precision 25 Jewel Autowind - Page 2

Thread: Gruen Precision 25 Jewel Autowind

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  1. #11
    Member vp70m's Avatar
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    Re: Gruen Precision 25 Jewel Autowind

    Quote Originally Posted by ecthelion View Post
    The markings/text font on the dial of your watch are very similar (the words are actually identical) to those on a Gruen I have (which is also a Precision 25 jewel autowinder), and the caseback looks identical to the one I have, which together suggests to me that your watch is from the early 1960s/late 1950s, and here's why:

    The original (or "first") Gruen was broken up in 1958. An offshoot/incarnation (or "second") Gruen moved back to New York (for several decades before then, Gruen had been making watches at its Precision Factory/Workshop in Switzerland; the first Gruen consolidated all of its manufacturing into this facility in the 1930s - and only watches made in this facility had the "Precision" label on the dial - but the building is now under the ownership of Rolex) and operated there from 1958 until its failure in 1976. These two incarnations of Gruen are the ones in question here.

    My particular Gruen has radium lume (as indicated by "RA SWISS RA" at the 6 o'clock position), and since radium was phased out of watches by 1960, this suggests to me that my watch was either made by the first Gruen before then (i.e. before 1958, when the first Gruen broke up) or between 1958-1960 by the second Gruen. Your Gruen, while sharing similar standard markings (wording and font styles, as well as caseback markings), does not have the "Swiss" marking at the 6 o'clock position, which suggests it was not manufactured in Switzerland. Since all Gruen watch manufacturing was done in Switzerland by the time of the first Gruen's breakup in 1958, your model, which could not have come from before the 1930s when all Gruen watch making was consolidated in Switzerland (i.e. the only other time when Gruen watches would not have been marked "Swiss"), is likely to have been made elsewhere (i.e. New York), by the second Gruen, despite being marked "Precision" as if it had been manufactured at the Precision Workshop (which is still possible; I don't know when Gruen stopped using and sold that facility, and it is possible that the second Gruen was still using it for a while).

    Since the second Gruen operated from 1958-1976 and you have a photo of this watch from as early as 1967, it seems likely that your particular watch could not have been more than 9 years old by the time that picture was taken.

    Hope that makes sense. For reference, I got my information on the dates and manufacturing details for Gruen here: http://www.pixelp.com/gruen/. This page specifically indicates what happened to the first Gruen and the second Gruen: Gruen Watch Company history: 1940-1958: WWII, Pan American, Gruen 21 (near the bottom).
    Thanks so much for the information. I know it doesn't show in the picture, but this dial DOES have the small 'SWISS' under the 6, so at least that's one more thing identifiable on it. Dating it to the 58-76 era matches other aspects, as my father would have graduated from University right around 1960 or '61, and I would bet this kind of purchase would have coincided with such an event. Any idea what the retail at that time might have been?

    Thanks again, it's great to unravel some of the back ground on this.

    I'll be looking at getting the watch serviced soon. Figures, the Ingersoll 'Sweepster' dollar pocket watch I got from him 25 years ago is still running like a top too!

  2. #12
    Member ecthelion's Avatar
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    Re: Gruen Precision 25 Jewel Autowind

    So I guess the second Gruen was still using the Precision Factory/Workshop then. As far as I can tell (partly because I'm curious as to what my Gruen would have commanded price-wise), I can't put a consistent estimate on older Gruens. I wonder if this has something to do with their turbulent history and complex lineage in the latter half of the 20th century, and the fact that watches branded "Gruen" are still being manufactured, licensed by a New York parent company that bought the rights to the name (which I think is also described in those links I posted earlier).

    Personally, the best bet would be to ask someone who has a fairly clear memory of what Gruens cost at that time, but that of course also has its drawbacks. Plus when considering flipping a Gruen of that vintage (as I am), a lot of other factors (besides inflation-adjusted price at the time) come into play.

    Mine also runs exceptionally well despite its age (because it's somewhere around the half-century mark); in fact, it runs more or less as well as a new automatic. I've only had it a few months (picked it up on the 'bay), but the person who sold it to me did not indicate any recent servicing, and I haven't had it serviced either (from what I can tell, it beats at 18800 bph). It is entirely possible that it hasn't ever been serviced.
    Last edited by ecthelion; March 12th, 2012 at 05:08.
    "Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events; great minds discuss ideas."

    As of 2014.09.01:

    Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 #241421 Chronograph (reserve)
    Omega ref. 166.0117, 1020 mvt., stainless steel (reserve)
    Lucien Piccard men's automatic day-date (FHF 909 movement; daily beater)
    Stuhrling Original Montague mechanical (modified; daily beater)
    Parnis sterile dial Explorer GMT (daily beater)


    ...and a number of no-name watches for parts and tinkering

  3. #13
    Member ecthelion's Avatar
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    Re: Gruen Precision 25 Jewel Autowind

    Clearly you've missed the entire conversation - someone already mentioned that it appeared to be from the 1970s, then the OP pointed out that it was definitely from before 1967 because he has pictures of that very watch from that year. Then I looked up the complex history of Gruen watchmaking and we ended up concluding it was probably from the early 1960s.
    "Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events; great minds discuss ideas."

    As of 2014.09.01:

    Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 #241421 Chronograph (reserve)
    Omega ref. 166.0117, 1020 mvt., stainless steel (reserve)
    Lucien Piccard men's automatic day-date (FHF 909 movement; daily beater)
    Stuhrling Original Montague mechanical (modified; daily beater)
    Parnis sterile dial Explorer GMT (daily beater)


    ...and a number of no-name watches for parts and tinkering

  4. #14
    Moderator Emeritus Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Gruen Precision 25 Jewel Autowind

    The baton hands are normally a sign of a watch from 1969 or later but it's not foolproof. The info we got from the owner indicates it's earlier than that. A look at the movement is probably the best way to date the watch.
    If the watch says "waterproof" is usually a good sign that it's earlier than 1971.

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

  5. #15
    Member ecthelion's Avatar
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    Re: Gruen Precision 25 Jewel Autowind

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray MacDonald View Post
    The baton hands are normally a sign of a watch from 1969 or later but it's not foolproof. The info we got from the owner indicates it's earlier than that. A look at the movement is probably the best way to date the watch.
    If the watch says "waterproof" is usually a good sign that it's earlier than 1971.
    That's when the usage of that term was banned by law, right? Oh, and sorry for being so harsh earlier.

    I don't think the OP said anything about the caseback mentioning it being waterproof though.
    "Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events; great minds discuss ideas."

    As of 2014.09.01:

    Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 #241421 Chronograph (reserve)
    Omega ref. 166.0117, 1020 mvt., stainless steel (reserve)
    Lucien Piccard men's automatic day-date (FHF 909 movement; daily beater)
    Stuhrling Original Montague mechanical (modified; daily beater)
    Parnis sterile dial Explorer GMT (daily beater)


    ...and a number of no-name watches for parts and tinkering

  6. #16
    Moderator Emeritus Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Gruen Precision 25 Jewel Autowind

    He did not and I could not read the caseback info from his photo. And yes the term was legally changed in the US at least in 1971.

    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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