Need help dating this old Gruen
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  1. #1
    pej
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    Need help dating this old Gruen

    My latest restauration project 10k white gold rolled art deco monster!
    Will post the final results here soon.

    It's a cal. 422 - does anyone know when these were made?
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    Last edited by pej; January 10th, 2011 at 00:51.

  2. #2
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    Re: Need help dating this old Gruen

    Cal. 422 was probably introduced early to mid 1940s. I am not sure when they stopped - probably mid 50s. Dating Gruen's is hard. MikeTheWatchGuy is working on Vol. 2 of his book, which will include the 50s watches.

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    Re: Need help dating this old Gruen

    Hi there,

    I found the introduction year of this calibre family nowhere in the literature,
    but it was already used in the Panam models from 1943. But regarding the
    fancy case style, this watch is more likely from the late 40s.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

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    Re: Need help dating this old Gruen

    I take back my earlier dates, as this was based on the 42x family to which the 422 belongs.

    I have now looked in the 1939, 1945, 1948 and 1953 Gruen Materials Catalogues. The first appearance of the 422 is in the 1953 catalogue. It is also not present in the 1951 Swartchild catalogue.

    The most reasonable conclusion is the 422 was introduced sometime between 1951 and 53. However, there is likely some delay in 3rd party sources, so I will conclude your watch was definitely produced not before 1948, and most likely produced sometime after 1951.

  6. #5
    pej
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    Re: Need help dating this old Gruen

    Thanks guys! I really thought it would have been a 30's-40's watch due to the lack of shock protection and the oldfashioned case.
    I guess Gruen was a bit oldfashioned in its days anyway ;)

    I'm almost done restoring, case, dial and hands are done, it just needs a service now.
    The dial looked beyond saving but managed to get it pretty good looking.
    Having a bit of a problem tho.
    The pallet + palletbridge are missing! didn't notice that at first but this is a bit of a bummer. Looking for spares now bah..

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    Re: Need help dating this old Gruen

    Hi trim,
    The first appearance of the 422 is in the 1953 catalogue
    You're right, at least partially. I mixed up the 420SS (in Panam models 1943-1945) with the 422SS.

    My literature records mention the introduction of the 10.5''' calendar variant 415CA of the
    family in question in 1953, and in fact I've never seen this calibre without Incabloc. About
    the sub second variants 415 (10.5''') and 422 (11.5''') there are no informations, but almost
    all came without Incabloc. Since all Gruen calibres introduced after 1947 were equipped
    with Incabloc from the start, the 415/422 should have been introduced before 1947.

    High grade movements without shock devices were sellable in the U.S.A. some years longer
    than in Europe, but remember that Gruen produced in Switzerland, and thus became
    a pioneer for shock devices in the U.S.A. So we can assume, that Gruen never delivered
    a movement without shock device after ca. 1950.

    Last nor least, there was almost always a delay between introduction of a calibre and its
    appearance in a material catalog. For instance you find everywhere in the literature the first
    Gruen bumper introduced in 1947. But how could I have had a sample with dedication from
    Xmas 1945 and the correct calibre number in the case back, if this ist true?

    This sample had already an Incabloc, and therefor I believe that the 415/422 without
    Incabloc was latest introduced early in 1945.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

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    Re: Need help dating this old Gruen

    Hi Roland,

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Ranfft View Post
    Last nor least, there was almost always a delay between introduction of a calibre and its
    appearance in a material catalog. For instance you find everywhere in the literature the first
    Gruen bumper introduced in 1947. But how could I have had a sample with dedication from
    Xmas 1945 and the correct calibre number in the case back, if this ist true?
    I would rather believe the inscription is miss-leading rather than the manufacturer took 8 years to put it in their own materials catalogues. Indeed, I would find even the 3 year gap from 1945 to 1948 surprising. I am happy to compromise on around 1948 though, due to the lack of shock protection :-P

    Who can tell for sure why a dedication is made. Perhaps rather than a Xmas gift, it is a anniversary of that 1945 Xmas? It is just as reasonable explanation.

    Also, my understanding is (although perhaps flawed) that the 415/422 are replacements for the 410/420 SS calibres and therefore I would not expect them to be contemporary.

    Cheers,

    Kris.
    Last edited by trim; January 10th, 2011 at 22:31.

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    Re: Need help dating this old Gruen

    Hi Kris,

    I guess replacement of the family 405/410/420/425 by the thinner 415/422 was floating.
    The first models were introduced in 1938 (e,g, 405), and the last in 1946 (e.g. 426SS).
    Assuming a similar periode for the successors would give 1945 for the first (not known)
    and 1953 for the last (415CA, well documented).

    However, it is not more than speculation; we simply must wait until someone diggs out
    further informations.

    Of course I can't discuss every production dates or periodes entered in the archive in
    detail - too much work and boring for visitors. Therefore I proceed in a quite simple
    way: If available, I take data from the literature, from old advertises, catalogues etc.
    And if ever I find a sample with a dedication, invoice or other paperwork indicating an
    earlier date, I shift it accordingly back in the archive.

    For the bumper automatics the introduction year 1947 from the literature was not plausible.
    The Rolex patents for the full rotor had expired, and only a fool would have introduced a
    bumper in 1947. Even 1945 is pretty late, but the dedication from 1945 and the fact that
    they got an Incabloc from the start, makes 1945 more probable than 1947. Good chance
    that anything in the future will proove an earlier start - I just keep patience.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

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    Re: Need help dating this old Gruen

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Ranfft View Post
    For the bumper automatics the introduction year 1947 from the literature was not plausible.
    The Rolex patents for the full rotor had expired, and only a fool would have introduced a
    bumper in 1947. Even 1945 is pretty late, but the dedication from 1945 and the fact that
    they got an Incabloc from the start, makes 1945 more probable than 1947. Good chance
    that anything in the future will proove an earlier start.
    Ah hah! the dedication date was for a 460, I had thought you had it on a watch with a 415/422 - in hindsight an obvious misunderstanding.

    I totally agree with an earlier date than 1947 for the 460. I agree 1945 or earlier is likely.

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    Re: Need help dating this old Gruen

    The Style Number in the back of the case (415) puts the watch at 1940. But it looks MUCH older than that. The 422 was in use well into the mid 1950's. I think it's around 1954, perhaps later I'll attempt a model name find.
    Last edited by MikeTheWatchGuy; May 23rd, 2013 at 21:03.

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