Rare and how early Veri-thin Gruen?

artbissell

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I think this is a 1910 special movement put in an 18k 1929 pentagon at Gruen for a presentation watch order in 1929. Dial original gold alloy with 100 years of oxidation. Madretsch source did not make many Verithins? Does mark D G & S mean made before 1910? What is the ccw arrow marked screw for near winder wheel? Photos will not load. Mvnt. is gold plated engraved 17j like 50th. serial 140,ooo+. Madretsch marked. Extra precision. chronometer balance. Dial looks like solid gold alloy deeply engraved with black paint numbers. One photo did load after 10 minutes. Fine image quality takes time.
 

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artbissell

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Another with lower serial number from Gruen factory all original. Their best old Verithin model. How old? Has the old marking D G & s. U.S. Gruen case. Both of these have the superior poised pallet (mustache lever) and similar regulater not in later Verithins. I am hoping for info on these because they are part of a short article considered acceptable by Bulletin Editor.
 

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Dr. Jon

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You have a very rare. possibly unique watch. It looks a to like a protoype or variant of the 50th anniversary watch. They may have used to try the look of various engarvings. The company called their best watchs Deitrich or D. S. Gruen. I suspect that is the meaning on this one.

I believe teh arrow you asked about is to unlock the detent to allow the stem to be removed from the watch
 

artbissell

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Art
Couple of interesting Gruens for sure.

I would suggest contacting Jack Goldberg in Houston, Chapter 139
http://sanjacinto139.homestead.com/Officers.html

I do not have Jack's email, but I included the 139 officers link above for you, and I am sure they can refer you to Jack.
Appreciate your probably good reference. Their Home Page locked my computer like a virus attack.
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You have a very rare. possibly unique watch. It looks a to like a protoype or variant of the 50th anniversary watch. They may have used to try the look of various engarvings. The company called their best watchs Deitrich or D. S. Gruen. I suspect that is the meaning on this one.

I believe teh arrow you asked about is to unlock the detent to allow the stem to be removed from the watch
I am inclined to agree it is a special as you say. The odd screw is not for stem. Some how acts on winder. Turned ccw it will loosen, cw tightens.
 

HenryB

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Art:

I sent you a PM for Darrah's email (he is the Chapter 139 VP), too put you in touch with Jack Goldberg.
 

Tom McIntyre

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Here is a picture of my 50th for comparison. I agree yours almost looks like a prototype of the 50th.
 

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Tom McIntyre

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This is the watch I am accustomed to calling the Madretsch watch. I thought all the others were from Bienne. (Except, of course, the Assman Glasshutte watches.)
 

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darrahg

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Very much appreciate your persistence in getting me to Jack. Notice Babe Jensen gone. Fine person usually attended our Denver Mart.
Art, I sent you Jack's email address and cc: him. Let me know if you still cannot contact him and I will drop him line to contact you. Darrah
 

mrbill

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The screw with the arrow most likely "locks" the setting mechanism in a "wind position" while the movement is out of the case. While in for service, if left overnight on the bench, without this engaged it would be turning all the clutch wheel / stem and setting pieces effecting the time keeping.
 

artbissell

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Here is a picture of my 50th for comparison. I agree yours almost looks like a prototype of the 50th.
Nice to see yours. Gold dial? I hate silver dials. I have serial 70 In triple hinge back case presented by Fred Gruen to friend Collier.
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Art, I sent you Jack's email address and cc: him. Let me know if you still cannot contact him and I will drop him line to contact you. Darrah[/QUOTE

Thanks much. Sent him photos, etc.
 

rubeg

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Thanks for sending me these pictures on a very interesting Gruen. First let me say that I am not at home and do not have access to the photos of all of my watches.
But I will make these “preliminary” comments:
1. This watch has a lot of features that I have not seen combined in one movement.
2. I have never seen a gold toned pocket watch movement with the exception of the gold 50thAnniversary watch. However, Gruen did make a gold plated wrist watch movement that had a similar appearance to the 50th Anniversary watch.
3. Similarly I have not seen this engraving style on a pocket watch except the 50th, and again it is similar to the 50th design.
4. The plate design is similar to a “standard” precision Verithin movement,
a. But I do not believe this serial number range was used for the “standard” precision series of watches (V1 ½, V2 ½, V4, V7). I believe there was a serial number table of a sample of watches in my article in Bulletin#300 I believe.
b. The 140,000 serial number range is generally used for the higher precision “chronometer” escapement with the poised pallet, but not with this Verithin plate design (I really need to verify this statement with some research.). I have attached a photo of an Extra” Precision with this serial number range and chronometer balance, but with a different plate design.
5. The screw with the directional arrow is used to allow you to change the watch from set to wind position when the stem is removed.

Art. I think you have a very unique and interesting pocket watch and I want to do some more investigating into other watches that I have seen.
Speculation: I have seen a number of 50th Ann look-a-likes in the wrist watch area, and I wonder if this was a similar attempt for the pocket watch, but I have never seen one before. The presentation date looks like 1926, just after the 50ths were issued.

jack g
 

artbissell

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Fine comments by Rubeg. With his apparently generous and enthusiatic help I may become a little more than a superficial collector. I have been lucky this past year gaining a few like this 5oth signed by Fred Gruen that had never been lubricated or much used since new.
 

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artbissell

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Unlike Rubeg who has not seen sharp images of the old gold painted dial I believe it indicates a much older movement than the 1926 case. The dial is I think a solid gold alloy deeply engraved by hand, but it has poorly and imprecisely applied painted numbers and letters. Not what Gruen would expect a presentation watch customer should get. Fred Gruen was very fussy about dial quality and precision. Also I read that the D G & S mvmt. mark was not normally used on mvmts. after 1910 when second son was employed. Valid assumptions?
 

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mnpd

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I have several of the Gruen Verithin pocket watches. I know the date on one of the watches because it came with the original owner's certificate of purchase.

Here's some photographs of one of the Verithins I had repaired and serviced. I got it back from the watchmaker yesterday, wound it, sync'd it with the WWV shortwave time signal and hanged on the wall. I came back this evening and the watch is stunningly accurate!... it had not gained or lost a single second hanging crown up. That's a first i think.

Since the watch lacks the hypen in its name I'm figuring it was made prior to 1930 (?). The word "Precision" is lacking from the dial, so I had figured a regular grade movement was in place. But, it's a very nice 17J movement fully adjusted to 5-positions and temperature. The extra engineering for accuracy apparently is working given the suberb timekeeping of the watch. Nothing pleases me more than a mechanical watch which might meet chronometer certification standards for accuracy. This is also the only pocket watch of any brand I own which has dual back covers. There's a name for that design which escapes me at the moment.

If anyone can comment on the watch I'd appreciate it. I have only a general knowledge of Gruens. I'm especially curious about the Roman numeral markings visible on the rim of the Wadsworth case.

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mnpd

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I hear there's no rhyme or reason to the Verithin serial numbering, but for what it's worth the one Verithin pocket watch for which I have a certificate is serial 463827, sold on November 19, 1915 to a woman named Classon. The movement had a one-year warranty, but the case's warranty was "permanent". Price was $40 ($858.22 in 2010). Gruen's name changed several times over the years, but at the time of sale was known as "Gruen Watch Company". The jeweler was Oscar C. Watterich located "Cor. Main St. & Superior Ave.".
 

Larry Treiman

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The Roman numerals scratched on the rim of the case center ring are the last four digits of the case serial number (3014). The scratched Roman numerals are usually found inside the bezel. The case center usually has stamped Arabic numerals, but I have seen other case centers with the scratched Roman numerals. As you might imagine, it would be very hard to scratch small Arabic numerals with their curves. The Roman numerals are all straight lines and thus much easier to scratch by hand. I notice that on your case the "0" appears to be represented by an "X". On all the scratched Roman numeral case markings I have seen in the past, the "0" appeared to be represented by what looked like an upside-down V.

For those who may not know, the reason for numbering the individual parts of the case is to keep fitted and matching parts of the case together during various phases of production prior to final assembly. The same is true of the plates and bridges and other fitted parts of watch movements, which carry either the serial number or the last (often four) digits of the serial number, though the last two digits would suffice (if that is all that would fit); watch movements typically went through the production phases in groups of 10 or 20, or so I have been told.

Larry Treiman
 

artbissell

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After observing many Gruen V. models there is a serial aspect to their series numbers. I appreciate seeing your 500,000 series with exact date. An early one, before 1920. My known 1929 is 550,000+. My known 1932 is 650,000+ but it is a cheaper grade with different series number. A 21j extra precision is 130,000+. A couple of chronometer balance(poised pallet) are 140,000+. A pre 1910 140+++. A post 1912 141+++. So at least the numbering 1905 to 1930 is consistent. Presentation dating does help to confirm that. Gruen did not have big production quantities in pocket watches like the U.S. big 3 as indicated by your early 507+++ and 1929 550+++. What model has the 426+++ number?
 
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mnpd

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Seems like Gruen sold quite a few later-day pocket Veri-thins (with the hypen), some with "Precision" on the face, and some without. These seemed to be the thinnest of 'thins at the edges least, and the movements were all unadjusted regulars. The movements started with a "4", followed by a hyphen then the serial number. My other Gruen Verithin pocket is one of these; it doesn't have the "Precision" stamping on either face or movement.
 

artbissell

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I know nothing about these round cased movement lower cost Gruens. Very surprised at early 1915 date for yours. Mine shown here is 2-xxxxx. Other is I assume much younger which is a 4-xxxxx. I will investigate.
mnpd: Is yours marked like these? 1915 date would likely be for the fine 507xxx one not for 4-xxxxxx.
Both marked Conoruma which is for stable alloys in balance rim and spring thus indicating near 1940 origin?
 

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mnpd

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mnpd: Is yours marked like these? 1915 date would likely be for the fine 507xxx one not for 4-xxxxxx.
Both marked Conoruma which is for stable alloys in balance rim and spring thus indicating near 1940 origin?
Oh no, Art... I confused you. Sorry!

The 4-XXXXXX watch is another watch, not the 1915 one. The 1915 watch with serial 463827 has a much better movement than my later model 4- watch. The 1915 movement is like the one you show.
 

mnpd

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Here's the later model Veri-thin (with the hyphen) I was talking about. These were the later models which had the lesser grade, unadjusted movements in either 15 or 17 jewels. The ones I've seen had a serial number beginning with a 4, followed by a hyphen and some more numbers. The earlier Verithins seemed to come with position and temperature adjusted movements, while the later hyphenated models seemed to be comprised of regular grade, unadjusted engines. Some of these Veri-thins retained the "Precision" label on the face, but others like this one did not. These later watches also lived up to the "thin" in the name, and had the thinnest edges of any. My earlier Verithins have much thicker edges giving them a less curved appearance than this later model whose crystal is quite convex.

I no longer remember how I dated it, but I recall figuring out this watch was made about 1940. This watch was also serviced recently (July 2009). Although this later specimen isn't of the same workmanship, I still think it is very pretty.

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I hear there's no rhyme or reason to the Verithin serial numbering, but for what it's worth the one Verithin pocket watch for which I have a certificate is serial 463827, sold on November 19, 1915 to a woman named Classon. The movement had a one-year warranty, but the case's warranty was "permanent". Price was $40 ($858.22 in 2010). Gruen's name changed several times over the years, but at the time of sale was known as "Gruen Watch Company". The jeweler was Oscar C. Watterich located "Cor. Main St. & Superior Ave.".

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I hear there's no rhyme or reason to the Verithin serial numbering, but for what it's worth the one Verithin pocket watch for which I have a certificate is serial 463827, sold on November 19, 1915 to a woman named Classon. The movement had a one-year warranty, but the case's warranty was "permanent". Price was $40 ($858.22 in 2010). Gruen's name changed several times over the years, but at the time of sale was known as "Gruen Watch Company". The jeweler was Oscar C. Watterich located "Cor. Main St. & Superior Ave.".
(Note: the watches I have pictured here are NOT of this watch. This 1915 watch is presently disassembed and undergoing repair for a broken hairspring and other problems)
 
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vlieger

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I have the same problem with my Gruen Precision PW. the details about mine are as follows. Ultrathin, Cincinnati , suisse, 14K, the case # is 1001369. the # on the mechanism is 41138. the inside of the PW contains the above information and 19 jewels, I would certainly appreciate any information re this watch. The dial is a matte/brushed color and the hands are black. It has roman numerals. Most gruens I have seen have the usual numbers. it is the first gruen PW that I have seen with roman numerals. thanks
 

vlieger

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no it is not missing a digit. I opened the case again and double checked to make sure, in fact the case is open in front of me at this moment and the number is definitely 41138. as for it's looks, it does bear a resemblance to the very thin model shown. This one is an ultrathin in 14k gold. the watch face is a matte/brushed gold color and it has roman numerals instead of Arabic. Inside the back cover directly under the 14k symbol there is written Cincinnati Ultrathin is marked on the inside of the secondary rear case. there are other words on the inner mechanics of this PW.
Gruen watch company. precision. all positions, temperatures adjusted.19 jewels. unlike the verythin model portrayedso0me of the innards of this ppiece are different though the layout is the same. ther is also no dash present in the #. I hope this info is helpful.
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It also has "extra" etched into one of the post.
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The innards of mine resemble the silver model depicted rather than the gold. Thanks again. J
 

mnpd

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vlieger,

Any way to post a photo or two? I think I've seen a Roman numeraled Verithin somewhere. Sounds like your watch is from an earlier production era. The movement serial is most interesting.
 

vlieger

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I will try to post photos of this PW possibly today. as for the #, after looking at all the samples of numbers on line, I have discovered that, according to the literature and history of the Gruen watch company, serial #s started around 62000. I too found this strange. It should be noted that PW has some condition issues. it is my intention to have it restored . precisely why I would like to know more about it.
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As previously stated, mine is an ultra thin model. this may very well be the reason for the odd numbering. Artbissell was correct in assuming that the ultra thin is marked on the case.
 
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artbissell

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There was an early model not Ultra-verithin that was near 1918 and like the rare Dietrich Gruen. Not made in Gruen factory which could account for the low number. This is a very fine and rare one. Otherwise it might be like
this early one marked extra. Extra mark by Gruen always meant absolute best. On this one dial marked extra, but usually on movement.
 

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artbissell

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Photo here of Dietrich Gruen the top grade for 1918. Followed closely by your Ultrathin about 1/3 cheaper depending on case. Notice similar serial number. Never saw yours. So yours is rare and fine. Fix it. Photo? Like to see it.
 

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vlieger

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Jul 22, 2010
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Should all go well i'll be posting a photo(s) of my Gruen. The movement is actually working and keeps time properly. I do believe that the crown is not original. The condition issues are primarily on the dial. Aside from the dial and the crown and the lack of a chain, it is perfect. I will definitely treasure it.

Thanks again.
 

vlieger

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Sorry to say that I am having some difficulty with getting clear pictures. I will keep on trying and hopefully will be able to post as soon as possible

J
 

artbissell

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Appreciate efforts. I saw just today in Shugarts price guide an old catalog little drawing of the movement. No need to waste your time for me. Title is
Ultra Thin. UUT=19j. Extra Precision. Very like the 23j D. Gruen but not marked Dietrich. Has same 42xxx number. More from 1918 catalog: $265. only in 18k case. There was actually an Ultra Precision 19j $315. Most expensive was Dietrich Gruen minute repeater with Chrono $825. I know where you can get one for $35,000. Read somewhere that these were made by LeCoultre, maybe yours was.
 
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vlieger

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Thanks for the response. I did manage to get some photos though they are not of the highest quality. I wasn't aware that these PWs were this valuable and somewhat rare. I am attaching some that I think ok. J
 

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vlieger

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After scouring the internet, I found some photos of movemnts that are almost identical to mine. Naturally, there are minor variations. I am posting these so you can have a better idea of what I have. I also found and ultra thin with roman numerals. the casing on mine is certainly not as decorative as you can see. J
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more pics
 

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artbissell

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Your image of 21j extra uses the 140xxx series number reserved for their best. Oddly not marked adjusted but certainly was. A Gruen factory made best Verithin. Your photos good enough to prove you have the rare and expensive Ultrathin that may not be a Gruen factory product. Quite different in appearance from the similarly small and thin Verithins. Also the dial numbers are unusual. This little exercise in sorting out yours has helped me better understand these expensive early nonverithin Gruens.
 
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vlieger

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The picture of the 21J , I got off the internet just as a matter of comparison. I posted 3 pics of mine. the pics are somewhat unclear but I think they are clear enough to see the serial # and the Gruen precision mark. the conditionn issues on the face are not that clear but ther certainly are some. the dial is seemingly dirty and the roman numeral XI is missing. though the PW works, the crown is not original. The only other Gruen I was able to find with roman numerals instead of arabic, were the hexagon shaped. I would like to have mine recoditioned , any advice as to how and where i would be able to do this. any issues I should be careful of. Does cleaning and refurbishing take away from it's value? anywhere I can find reliable service and perhaps a crown and chain? cretainly wouolod appreciate any help. what next? any advice? thanks J
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Thank you artbissell for all your research on my behalf. incidentally, any I dea as to the exact or therabouts date of this PW
 

artbissell

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You can say without any objection 1918 or 1915. No records to prove otherwise. My guess from the few numbers I have seen is 1915. Seems like your main watch improvement is dial work. Any good watchmaker for the running movement, and find a good dial restorer which can only enhance it. Some collector might only replace the gold number leaving dial as is.
 
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artbissell

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Appreciate efforts. I saw just today in Shugarts price guide an old catalog little drawing of the movement. No need to waste your time for me. Title is
Ultra Thin. UUT=19j. Extra Precision. Very like the 23j D. Gruen but not marked Dietrich. Has same 42xxx number. More from 1918 catalog: $265. only in 18k case. There was actually an Ultra Precision 19j $315. Most expensive was Dietrich Gruen minute repeater with Chrono $825. I know where you can get one for $35,000. Read somewhere that these were made by LeCoultre, maybe yours was.
Is yours not exactly like this 21j Meylan? Anyway very like it and definitely not a Gruen design but probably like several top grade Swiss.
 

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vlieger

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Very similar to the Meylan you posted. some minute differences, definitely Swiss movement. Does not say Meylan anywhere on the movement. same layout. I was wondering about the approximate value of this PW. I live in New York (Bronx) and am afraid to lose it and/or have it stolen from me. It would seem that in NY at least "anything that glitters,....Is stolen. Not something I would just take with me anywhere. I would like to know for Rental Insurance Purpose. Thanks. J. I have attached some more pics of mine.
 

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artbissell

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We know it is uncommon but not extremely rare and is 18K probably near 1 oz in not very good cosmetic condition. I would double the gold scrap value. For a near mint condition which like a rare coin makes it rarer and more in demand at 100% more. My guess. Others likely to be much less or much higher. Range: scrap to 3 times. I just bought a very nice 18k pentagon 1922 precision for scrap from a knowledgable seller. an advantage of it is the thick enamel dial with recessed numbers and seconds to me a real advantage over the usual diseased silver. Very easy cleanup to do on this to make it nice. Even 18K gold oxidizes.
 

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artbissell

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Neglected to mention that on preceding, 1922 patent case was bought in 1922. Also later ones did not have the THIS SHAPE words. So one of the first. Not visible in photo is the yellow gold central frame part along with crown and bow. Works well with gold and white dial for refined simplicity although does have a typical Gruen back ornate engraving.
 

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Thojil

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Is yours not exactly like this 21j Meylan? Anyway very like it and definitely not a Gruen design but probably like several top grade Swiss.
As far as I know from other "Gruen experts" the 19j UUT Extra Precision movements were apparently not produced by Gruen. Like most info on Gruen it is a mystery who is the manufacturer. Maybe it was Meylan.

The PW of "vlieger" (sounds Dutch to me?) is in my opinion a special military version. Based on your description of the dial (mat gold finish) and looking at the (still :)) not so sharp pictures on which the roman digits look they are in luminous paint, I am pretty sure it is a military one. Attached a picture of the still unrestored version I have with an identical mat gold dial. Unfortunately mine is only a rolled gold cal. V4 version :(. The other image is from the 1918 Gruen book showing a version with normal digits.

Assuming "vlieger's" dial belongs to the watch, what is maybe unusual is the very high grade movement for such a watch. I have only seen cal. V4 so far, but then again it could have been a special order for a rich Officer. As long as you paid Gruen would produce anything :)
 

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vlieger

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You are right about vlieger being Dutch. It can sometrimes be astronomically difficult to find an English user name that hasn't been taken. Have been in the States for most of my life (23 Years), but I definitely cherish the wonderful memories I have of the old country. Should be visiting sometime within the coming year. Your assessment that my PW could be a military version might very well be the truth. I have learned that a military man (Navy?) owned this PW before it came to me. I am sorry about the pics. I will try to post clearer ones as soon as possible. There is an uncanny resemblance to your PW and mine. As for the dial, the #s on mine are not painted on. They are individual numerals fastened to the dial. in fact the roman numeral XI is missing.
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Additionally Mine has Gruen Precision in black letters on the dial. The hands also have a slightly different design.
 

artbissell

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This posting for me is a real delight. It is forcing me to be careful about making absolute assumptions about anything Gruen and encouraging research effort and broadening my interest in Gruens other than V and UV. For instance I thought all early UUT had 18K cases. Am considering one of a couple very nice Assmann Gruens. One in gold, other in same American plain case gold fill. Never saw a Gruen marked hunter case watch. Any? 2 of 3 shown are hunters. They have the 62xxx numbers which some say is earliest Gruen number.
 

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artbissell

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Gruens Fred and father wanted to supply the best timekeeper performance. They selected Assmann with the Grossmann escapement in 1894 for their first watches. When they gave up the 16 and 18 size Assmann pocketwatches about 1904 they still used the poised pallet and Grossmann balance in the best grades of their own and from Leo Alby, Madretsch. These were marked extra, precision, and chronometer balance. The 16 size Maretsch even had the Grossmann screw regulator. This done up to about 1920 for movements or dials marked extra. Here shown Assmann movement, lever and Tom McIntyre best Madretsch 16 size. Added my typical Verithin Extra. Marked on dial, later ones on movement. Wish I had kept my 1872 Grossmann.
 

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Rockford's early high grade movements by Greg Frauenhoff