Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

Thread: Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Inactive
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    141

    Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

    This is sure dumb question for you. But all are not experts from Day 1.


    Have heard that when the watches are over 60 years, they are often fixed on. They put together watches to get them to work.
    Is there any way to see if they're real? And another question ....
    The watches are often dirty. How do you see the difference between rust and dirt on images?

    Considering this. It looks as if it might be nice with a makeover?

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    108

    Re: Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

    Hi Ndure,

    Imo a question cann't be dumb

    If I have an eye on a watch I'll try to do my best to get as much info I can get incl. pictures from an identical watch (from old ad's or collector's) before I make a bid or buy.
    If I cann't find any info I'll ask on collectors forums if somebody could advice me.
    Because I'm not able to repair a watch myself I buy only running watches or if the price is very low I take sometimes the risk that a service is enough to get the watch running again.

    Hope this helps

    cheers, Frans

  3. #3
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Canada
    Posts
    5,315

    Re: Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

    Not sure what makes this "Military"...looks like a fairly standard grade watch from the 40's or 50's. I don't think Gruen made any military watches for anyone, but other know more. "Military" is one of those terms that ebay sellers like to throw in to get hits.

    When considering "rust", remember that you only get rust on the steel bits...the winding wheels and screws are usually all you can see that'll potentially have rust (and those aren't the bits that rust first or really affect the watch function). The keyless works inside are usually the first to go, thanks to moisture coming in from the stem sleeve. The screws on the watch you linked too shows signs of ham-handed servicing, but there aren't any obvious gouges on the bridges, so it wasn't butchered. The plates are gilded, so unless someone scratched them, you aren't likely to see any corrosion.

    This watch will need to be serviced, but looks good for its age. It has radium lume though, which means you won't be able to do much with the dial (you can see where the dial has been "burned" by the hands when the watch was stopped). There's a couple of burn marks, which means that the watch was stopped for a long time, then someone used it again, and then it was stopped again for while. That could be bad, because of the potential for wear damage.

    If i was specifically looking for a nice cheap Gruen, I'd probably bid on this. But then, I do my own service, so its a cheap investment. If you're paying someone else to do the clean and service, this becomes more of a gamble.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Inactive
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    141

    Re: Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

    Thank you, Rob.

  6. #5
    Member trim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    3,814

    Re: Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

    I think this one is OK as it is on my watchlist as well. I would call it an honest watch.

    Of course like Rob I would service it myself, so the risk is only small.

  7. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Wegberg, Germany
    Posts
    3,645

    Re: Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

    Hi Ndure,

    if you won't mind the dial discoloration it is an attractive watch. The missing calibre number inside the back, the number on the back, and the style date it into WWII periode, and not many Gruens from this time had all steel cases (most were either gilt or chromed).

    How do you see the difference between rust and dirt on images?
    Be sure, on ebay discolorations on dials are always dirt, in the real world they are always corrosion. They will come off easily - together with all lettering.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  8. #7
    Member JohnF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Oberstedten, Germany
    Posts
    9,650

    Re: Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

    Hi -

    Gruen made no official issued watches during WW2. That was the domain of Elgin, Hamilton and other US-based manufacturers, with the emphasis on manufacturers: Gruen, well before this point in time, had outsourced movement manufacturing entirely and hence was not able to move to war-time production, as getting Swiss movements out of Switzerland during the war meant going through what was effectively enemy territory. The Axis powers turned a blind eye to commercial trade in movements, but also were quite clear on the fact that they would confiscate shipments that had an obviously military usage.

    This is not to say that there were no Gruens worn in the military: quite the contrary.

    There is a difference between the issued watches - which were generally very good performers - and the Gruens was prestige and the ability to pay. Gruen made the PanAm models during this time - starting in 1942 - and these were considered to be rather nice watches, but were only issued to Pan Am employees. Some of these were also held military ranks and took their watches to war with them. Others acquired Gruens for their loved ones heading into harm's way.

    Hence: a Gruen may have been used as a military watch, but it was not one of the issued military watches, such as the A-11 and other military watches. No Gruen appears in the TM 9-1575, which is War Department Technical Manual or Ordnance Maintenance of Wrist Watches, Pocket Watches, Stop Watches and Clocks from 6 Apr 1945 and covers all military watches issued to US and US-led troops during WW2.

    JohnF
    コスト下げ やる気も一緒に 下げられる


  9. #8
    Member trim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    3,814

    Re: Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

    Spot on.

    The only thing I would add is that Gruen did market some military 'style' watches to the general public - but as said, these were private purchases. I usually think of these ones as 'military', the one on ebay is not one of these. I am fortunate to have a 'Dix' with an army ID number and name engraved on the back - pretty good evidence that it was a watch that went through WWII on the wrist of a man in the military.

    Image below is from the Gruen forum, hopefully it is OK to repost it here.

    From 1941...

    You might notice these are all Guildite and rolled gold cases, these were not chrome or nickel plated.



    P.S. the only thing about the one on ebay that worries me is the lack of 'precision' on the dial. Being a 17 jewel it should have it. It is possible it is not the original movement or dial.
    Last edited by trim; November 18th, 2010 at 01:45.

  10. #9
    Member JohnF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Oberstedten, Germany
    Posts
    9,650

    Re: Need some advice. Shopping wristwatch pre 1940's.

    Hi -

    Yep, seen that ad there as well.

    Gruen dials have a history: after the VeriThin Precision watches (especially the Curvex models) being so successful, Gruen found that unscrupulous jewelers (their main distribution channel (the jewelers, that is)) were taking easily available replacement dials carrying both names and putting them on movements that did not qualify (as well as fakes). As a result, Gruen stopped delivering replacement dials bearing both "VeriThin" and "Precision", unless the watch was returned to Gruen for work, which alienated quite a number of jewelers, since the money for repairs and refurbishing went to and stayed with Gruen, rather than in their shops (this was a significant source of revenue for the shops as well). For a while Gruen then would sell replacement dials with both logos only on an individual per-repair basis, which didn't help turn-around times much, further alienating their sellers since it meant no inventory.

    There were, however, so many replacement dials out there that even today you can find NOS dials if you look long enough, 80 years after they were made. This was part of the start of the long and slow decline that led to the demise of Gruen. Hence a basic lesson: don't alienate your distribution channel when competitors start selling similar products, as they may stop working with you just to be ornery, leaving your watches out of shop windows when you need them in there!

    JohnF
    コスト下げ やる気も一緒に 下げられる


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •