New Vintages...

Thread: New Vintages...

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  1. #1
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    New Vintages...

    Hi -

    Well, I blame y'all.

    At least for the Roamer and for the Enicar. If I hadn't read so much about them here, I'd not have researched and then acquired the two I show here.

    So where do I start?

    Of course, with my Gruen Pan Am. This has been a grail watch, for good reason: while a tad small for modern tastes, this watch feels like a Curvex, even when it isn't. Fits extremely comfortably. Great time keeper, but needs a new mainspring: don't get more than around 22 hours out of the existing one, and that is not right.

    But the hands *are* right: they remind me of the proper Strela hands, but lack of course the lume. This watch was built between 1943 and 1958, when Gruen built the watches that flight personnel of Pan American Airlines used. It's not a pilot's watch: those were usually solid gold, and this is only 14k rolled gold. They were sold to the public from roughly 1950 onwards, but weren't a success because people didn't want the 24-hour time so clearly on the face. The calibre is in really beautiful shape, except for the relatively weak mainspring: accuracy is around -12 s/day without regulation, as is from the watchmaker. Will have to see what the story on the mainspring is before playing much with it. The back is press-on, but with a small lip on the back that only clicks when at the six o'clock position, meaning that to open the back you need to remove the lower part of the strap! It came on a pretty poor simple black leather strap, but as you can see in one of the later pictures is now on a much nicer faux croc that complements the lovely shape of the watch and the gold much better...

    That's the first one.

    The second is an Enicar Ultrasonic. This is the one that I haven't been able to find out too much on the calibre itself. I've posted two pictures of the face, trying to get the texture right, not easy. The calibre is beautiful, a joy to work with, and has been keeping excellent time, better than I expected. Enicar is, I think, a brand that is perhaps undervalued (but let me get a few more before you all go out and clean them off the market!).

    The third is a Roamer Searock Automatic. This was more or less an accidental acquisition: didn't think I would get it for the money and was pleased to get it. The face is very 1960s (and indeed the inner case is marked 7-1960, which I am assuming means that it was made in July of 1960), with a beautiful metallic dark blue center and that funky chocolate rim. The bezel is in pretty good shape, but it's not really a diver's watch, as this lacks clicks and moves both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Keeps really excellent time.

    Next we have a somewhat strange Bulova. The case is, to my eyes, fairly recently replated with the usual modern super thin gold plating, and the hands are new. Inside is a 10AK movement, but I think this is a Frankenwatch. It was very inexpensive, so I'm not really upset, but the movement needs some work on it, keeping fairly poor time (-240 s/day). I think this may be a watch to be given as a gift to one of my students after cleaning and regulation. The calibre is the last picture in the series.

    So, next we have a Gruen Precision 25 jewels Autowind. This isn't actually new, but I'm giving it some wrist time to see how it has handled a relatively long hibernation. It's always nice to rediscover some of your vintage watches (I just found a Ruhla Worldtime that I need to work on!), and this one has an 710CA caliber inside, one of the latter-day Gruen calibers from the early 1960s that showed that Gruen was still making decent watches, unlike the more modern incarnations. Also an excellent time keeper, running around +6s/day. That's a TimeFactors strap on the watch.

    The last three pictures are of the Gruen PanAm on my wrist and the five all together. The very last is the Bulova movement...

    Not the best photos, but at least they're up now.

    There is a nice Delbana coming in, and I hope to add the one or the other before Christmas...but that's pretty much it for the year.

    Next year?

    I've still got a couple of grail watches, and there will be at least one non-vintage, new watch on its way to me in 2007. I've got three weeks in the summer when my wife is in Norther India that I will use to get some of my watchmaking skills up to speed (especially cleaning and lubrication!).


    JohnF
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    Last edited by JohnF; November 28th, 2006 at 23:14. Reason: Forgot something, as usual...
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  2. #2
    Member Russ Cook's Avatar
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    Re: New Vintages...

    A beautiful collection of timeless, understated, watches.Thank you for showing them.

    Regards,
    Russ Cook

  3. #3
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: New Vintages...

    Hi -

    Thanks! That's what mods are for.

    Someday I'll post all 60+... once I've got them all properly sorted out, up to spec and polished up.

    JohnF
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  5. #4
    Member Docrwm's Avatar
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    Re: New Vintages...

    John,

    While I mean no slight to the other watches....................

    Gruen =

    That is one lovely timepiece. I'm a sucker for the dial style you have there on that watch. It reminds me is an odd way of my Bulova Concentric's dial - which I was drawn to the minute I saw it for the first time.

    Sorry to hear about the mainspring but you have a great watch.
    -Robert
    Buy what you like, keep what you love, don't spend too much.
    As long as you follow those simple rules - you shouldn't listen to anyone about your watches.


  6. #5
    Member pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Re: New Vintages...

    Outstanding collection of acquisitions, John. I love that Gruen PanAm but feel the case is smaller than I would like. Wish it was 34-35mm.
    Regards from Sunny San Diego..........Tom
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  7. #6
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: New Vintages...

    That is a sweeeet collection

    One thing though: I think the reason why you can't find a match for the calibre of the Enicar is that it might be an automatic movement with the automatic bits removed. Notice how the edge of the movement is stepped rather than bevelled, possibly to accomodate the edge of the rotor, and the bridge is cut back adjascent to the mainspring barrel. What do you reckon?

  8. #7
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    Re: New Vintages...

    Hi John,

    congrats to that great finds!
    Love them all, but the Enicar is a real classic beauty!
    Isn't the Roamer to young for you?

    Cheers,

    Axel

  9. #8
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: New Vintages...

    Thanks -

    Now you know why that Gruen was a grail watch for me. The dial itself isn't flat, but rather shows a complex curve, the top of a sphere, which is darned hard to make but is a great design element. The mainspring is a relatively small problem that my local watchmaker can handle without going to the expensive guy: it's better than not having the watch.

    JohnF
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  10. #9
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: New Vintages...

    Hi -

    That is sorta what I was thinking as well...

    BUT:

    if that were the case, then I'd see the mounting points for the automatic module, and they are NOT there. Nowhere to be seen. That is why I don't think it is an automatic with the winding module removed: but it does sort of look like that, doesn't it?

    Strange calibre. Will have to continue to research that one...and if it were an automatic, then the calibre markings would have led me to find the calibre, but as an automatic and not a manual wind...

    Unless it was something that Enicar itself brought out. But then it's not an automatic with the module removed. The fact that you cannot see any mounting points (i.e. holes for stabilizing pins and screw holes for attaching the automatic module: these are a must because of the torque involved from that rotating weight!) points to a purpose-built manual wind watch...

    JohnF
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  11. #10
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: New Vintages...

    Hi -

    The Roamer is indeed more modern than I usually collect, but hey, it's a nice watch. Matches up with some of the 1960s Gruens in my collection (not pictured here) and at some point they will be so retro that they will appeal even more to me.

    JohnF
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