WATCH TALK FORUMS banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

Registered
Joined
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Case across this watch and really cannot find any information about it. Solid 14K Gruen Hunter case with an open face waltham movement. I would guess that the movement was a later replacement (maybe not - correct me).

So, I would like to know what movement should be in this case (right now it's 16s Cal 645 Waltham).

Also, where can I get any info on Gruen hunter case watches - it seems that after 1904 when the veri-thin came out, Gruen stopped making hunters.

Thank you
 

Attachments

Registered
Joined
4,542 Posts
Case across this watch and really cannot find any information about it. Solid 14K Gruen Hunter case with an open face waltham movement. I would guess that the movement was a later replacement (maybe not - correct me).

So, I would like to know what movement should be in this case (right now it's 16s Cal 645 Waltham).

Also, where can I get any info on Gruen hunter case watches - it seems that after 1904 when the veri-thin came out, Gruen stopped making hunters.

Thank you
Hello srh11293

Welcome to the American!

First of all, that is a beauty!
So glad to see that it is being kept so nice.

It breaks my heart to see these treasures being sold off for
the gold content these days:crying:

Is this a family heirloom?

We have some incredible PW guys here who will be along
with some more info.

Again... Welcome!
 

Registered
Joined
1,125 Posts
Well ,that movement is for an open faced case . The only Gruen PW cases I've see have been either demi - hunter or open faced . That stamp looks like it says " National " w .c.co and I don't remember ever seeing the word "national " in reference to Gruen . You have to keep in mind that cases and movements were sold separately for a long time and the turn of the century was a difficult time , we were switching to wrist watches ,imports were shipped "caseless" to avoid taxes and there was not the "brand presence " that we are accustom to today . Many of the pieces from this era have me wondering if anyone was running the ship, but your movement does not belong in that case .
 

Registered
Joined
65 Posts
Gruen Hunter case

Your case is rather rare, and appropriate for any 16 size Hunter movement from the 1898 to 1911 period.

It may not make sense, but Gruen sold cases to jewelers and jobbers in standard American sizes, for use with their competitors movements. From the 1870s through the early 1900s, the major manufacturers of watch cases aligned themselves in a trust, and gave preferential pricing to the big American makers (Waltham, Elgin and eventually Hamilton). This is what drove John Dueber to buy the Hampden Watch Co., but that's another story...

In order to guarantee their supply of watch cases, in 1898 Gruen bought the Queen City Watch Case Co. of Cincinnati. Queen City was a relatively small but high quality maker of solid gold watch cases. Gruen changed the company name to "Gruen National Watch Case Co.", and would operate it as a subsidiary until 1911. After that, the case works were incorporated into the Time Hill factory, and their cases are simply marked "Gruen". GNWCC cases are usually seen in smaller (0 or 6) sizes, and are often beautifully engraved, but they also made larger cases. To my knowledge, all Gruen National cases are 14K or 18K.

There were Swiss movements made and imported in American sizes, notably by Omega, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. Gruen also imported a modest number of 16 size movements, some of which entered Canadian railway service. Any of these would be appropriate for your case, but so would an American movement from the time period. If you want to find a Swiss movement, make sure it's one with American style winding, where the stem is part of the case, not part of the movement.

Regarding Gruen hunter cased watches, I am not aware of any Gruen produced hunters after they consolidated production in the Biel factory around 1908. I do not believe there were ever any VeriThin marked hunters, but Gruen did subcontract with several makers from Madretsch, and there were some hunters produced by those makers.
 

Registered
Joined
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info ...

First of all, thank you for all this information.

So, as far as I understand:
1) Gruen National Watch Case Co (previously known as Queen City Watch Case Co.) existed as a subsidiary of Gruen from 1898 to 1911
2) Most likely that the case was made before 1908, since after consolidation of operations @ Biel, hunter cases have not been observed.
3) Some were fitted with Gruen movements, some were fitted by other US (and Swiss) made movements (i.e. contract cases for other manufacturers)
4) only few larger Gruen Hunter cases were produced

Sounds like I ended up with a interesting case with a very cool engraving. I will post additional scans of the case and markings shortly (if anyone want to use the scans for their archives, please feel free to do so).

I will be looking for a 16s Gruen Hunter case movement to replace the waltham I currently have in the case.

Again, thank you for the information,

Vlad
 

Registered
Joined
65 Posts
First of all, thank you for all this information.

So, as far as I understand:
1) Gruen National Watch Case Co (previously known as Queen City Watch Case Co.) existed as a subsidiary of Gruen from 1898 to 1911
Yes.

2) Most likely that the case was made before 1908, since after consolidation of operations @ Biel, hunter cases have not been observed.
Not necessarily. Gruen was in business to make money, and they would sell any case that someone was willing to buy. This case might have originally held a Gruen movement (making it before 1908), but it was more likely sold without a movement to a jeweler or jobber who would have fitted it with an off-the-shelf movement from any other maker. Therefore, it could date to post-1908.

In my experience, Gruen imported very few 16 size movements, and I don't know that I've ever seen a hunter.

The vast majority of GNWCC cases that I have seen (that are not also marked VeriThin) have held either Elgin or Waltham movements. As those were the most common movements at the time, this seems to make sense.

3) Some were fitted with Gruen movements, some were fitted by other US (and Swiss) made movements (i.e. contract cases for other manufacturers)
Yes, as stated above.

4) only few larger Gruen Hunter cases were produced
Again yes.

Sounds like I ended up with a interesting case with a very cool engraving. I will post additional scans of the case and markings shortly (if anyone want to use the scans for their archives, please feel free to do so).

I will be looking for a 16s Gruen Hunter case movement to replace the waltham I currently have in the case.
I would suggest that if you are able to find one (open faced models do appear occasionally, usually in Leo Aeby produced Madretsch models that are prized by European collectors), the cost of the movement would exceed the cost of the case, and even then it might not be a correct combination. Were it mine, I'd try to find a nice higher grade Elgin or Waltham, Illinois or Hamilton. A private label movement would also be appropriate, since Gruen sold in small quantities directly to the jewelers in their dealer network.

Just make sure that whatever movement you choose has a setting mechanism that matches the case. If the case is equipped for pendant setting, make sure the movement is designed for that as well. If you choose a lever set movement, make sure that the case has a cut for the lever, and that it's in the correct position for the movement.

Again, thank you for the information,

Vlad

You're welcome! Hope it helps.

Cary
 

Registered
Joined
96 Posts
Cary has it right. Case is from 1895-1905. Made a few for 16s Assmann and Aeby supplied movements. I have one with 1902 gift engraved. Not too likely to have been originally used with U.S. movement, but certainly could have. Case screw marks visible? See photo for Assmann. There was at least one Gruen hunter case with an early Swiss 17 ligne size Verithin movement. Gruen did practically any combinations with cases you can imagine, but not normally as a case alone supplier. They also would sell from years old stock. Scince your case is already with 16s U.S. stem arrangement I would use a proper age good Waltham in it, or Assmanns are most often seen in U.S. cases, even cheaper gold fill, and transfer. There are many Gruen Assmann and Aeby Mad. owners without one that would pay very well for a gold case.

The case number from my observation indicates much earlier than inscribed 1917. photo here not mine of the earliest Verithin in slightly later Gruen hunter gold case that is for sure from before 1908.
 

Attachments

Registered
Joined
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Art, Cary,

Thank you very much for the information and scans. Now I have a better idea as to what I have and what I need to do.

Once I complete the project(s) (get a movement for the Gruen case and get a case for a waltham), I'll post some more scans.

Again, thank you,

Vlad
 

Registered
Joined
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
more...

and yes, I might have few more questions about other pocket watches I have

- Elgin, cal 472, up/down, invar balance, w/ original BW Raymond case
- IWC, platinum
- H. Bissen, Paris, in a very interesting case and beautiful movement
- Patek Chronograph (movement)
- John Beesley, fusee
and so on...
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top