Vintage Gruen

Thread: Vintage Gruen

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  1. #1
    Member brewtown's Avatar
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    Vintage Gruen

    Hey guys. This watch is my late grandfathers. My grandmother says he bought this watch before being drafted into the marines and being shipped off to the pacific theater in WW2. He was a tank commander- Amphibious shermans to be exact. this watch went through most of the Marines campaigns including Guadalcanal so it has alot of sentimental value. its a simple small gruen, and my grandmother would talk about how "he wore it on this god awful smelling canvas strap." I don't know if this watch really was produced before wartime and this is all true, but I was wondering if I could get any info on it. :thanks
    burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the skies from me.

  2. #2
    Member pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Gruen

    You can find a lot of info on the Gruen Pan American here:

    http://www.pixelp.com/gruen/1945.html

    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)


  3. #3
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    Re: Vintage Gruen

    On page 168 of "American Wristwatches" by Faber & Unger is a photo of a similar dial. For my money this is perhaps the most beautiful watch Gruen ever made. The Veri-thin was Gruen's top of the line watch, and this was their very best.

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  5. #4
    Member Beau8's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Gruen

    That a wonderful looking sentimental piece~Cheers!

  6. #5
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    Re: Vintage Gruen

    Hi -

    If he wore it in the Pacific Theater, then he got it off someone who worked for PanAm, as they were not on sale to the general public until 1945. The watch first dates to 1943, and were what Gruen saw as being "the future of watches".

    It is a truly iconic watch: the dial, while a tad battered, is original, as are the hands. It really deserves a good visit to a good watchmaker, who will enjoy working on this watch. It was my grail for quite some time and I was lucky enough to find one...

    JohnF
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  7. #6
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    Re: Vintage Gruen

    Guy (my grandfather) was a big betting kind of guy. He traded, or played poker for most of the things he owned overseas, so I'm suspecting he nabbed it off of a pilot. I also agree, I'm going to have it serviced by a good jeweler/watchsmith no matter the cost. any strap suggestions for this fine piece of history?
    burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the skies from me.

  8. #7
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    Re: Vintage Gruen

    WWII era canvas straps both original and replicas are available. An inquirery o the Pilots and Military Forum should get recommedations if you don't recieve one here. You could also search ebay. The original was likely a plain leather band.

  9. #8
    Member mrsnak's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Gruen

    Really like all the gritty patina on that Pan American. I just picked up this 1945 (one of the earliest non-military versions).
    What year would he have bought this? Had not seen one with raised numbers before, but there's one on eBay now for reference (search: Gruen Pan American Rose). You can see an illustration of the leather band on the brochure in my case.



    Last edited by mrsnak; January 29th, 2010 at 18:50.
    "My grail showed up today"

  10. #9
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Gruen

    Hi -

    Very, very very nice example of the Gruen PanAm.

    I popped over to eBay to check the two up for auction right now: one has the wrong hands (way too long, wrong shape, wrong style, wrong wrong wrong...and I have my sincere doubts about that dial, as the original batch of dials were with the applique 12-3-6-9, instead of being printed...), while the other one is recased in a ... strange case.

    Finding one in the shape that yours is in is hard, especially at a decent price point. I've been looking for a gold-cased one pre-1945 (these were the actual pilot's watches!) and it's just plain depressing to see how many have been butchered in one way or another.

    All the best, and yours is great: wish mine had that box!

    JohnF
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  11. #10
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    Re: Vintage Gruen

    thanks john, did some digging-

    apparently my great uncle, my grandfathers brother, was a pilot for PAN-AM before the war! knowing that he was leaving for the pacific, I can almost guarantee that he gave it to him as a present/or payment. His brother also did alot of EA flying after the war, he died in the 60s, but I have never met that side of the family, so details are fuzzy. I am going to leave the patina on the watch how it is, but i'm going to have that movement serviced, and back to running condition. Does anyone know of any qualified places to take it in the Chicago/Milwaukee/Rockford/Madison area?
    burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the skies from me.

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