Although Gruen watches are now considered obscure, it was once part of an elite club of American watchmakers. Gruen was one of the first American companies to manufacture precision mechanical watches. As a matter of fact, the word "Precision" was trademarked by Gruen and used exclusively on their watches. Gruen has always produced high-quality watches, many of which are still functional and highly collectible today. Even in the early 20th century, men favored pocket watches over wristwatches as they were considered effeminate. Gruen was instrumental in making wristwatches popular, facilitating the transition from pocket watches to wristwatches. With Gruen's commitment to thin movements, wristwatches were made possible by developing mechanisms that could realistically be worn on the wrist. Browse Bidsquare’s curated list of the mighty and mesmerizing vintage Gruen watches from this nostalgic brand that you shouldn't miss.
The company was founded in Ohio by Dietrich Gruen, a Swiss-trained German immigrant in the late 1800s as Columbus Watch Manufacturing Company to manufacture pocket watches. From a simple safety pinion patent, Gruen went on to build one of the greatest watch companies of the early 20th century. In fact, the Gruen watch company was once the largest watchmaker by total sales in the US during the 1920s. The watch industry underwent a revolution under Gruen between 1874 and 1958. A number of Gruen patents reshaped the watch industry during this period. As with Gruen's original patent, Gruen's safety pinion made it easier to prevent the marring of the inner movement by malfunctioning mainsprings. In fact, Gruen was instrumental in introducing a great deal of new technology into the watch industry. There have been times when a new design was precipitated by the movement itself. Among them are models like the Curvex and the Veri-Thin, both of which were developed as a way to push the boundaries of watchmaking and the movement as well.
Prior to WW1, wristwatches were regarded as feminine ornaments. Pocket watches at the time were typically rugged and precise, and men generally preferred them. However, during WW1, wristwatches proved more convenient and practical than pocket watches in the trenches or on planes. In WW2, Gruen Watch Company introduced the '21' series of watches. It is the 21 jewel movements that give this watch its name, and it was completely manufactured in the United States.
Over the decades, Gruen's innovations and attention to detail made its watches popular with wearers. Unfortunately, the original company, like virtually all American watch brands, failed to survive the transition to quartz technology in the 1970s. The Gruen watch company is a classic vintage watch company that has since faded from the public eye. In addition to adding value to the collection, collecting vintage Gruen watches is also a great way to enhance one’s overall style. Watch connoisseurs are aware of this and have likely been researching obscure watch companies that offer vintage Gruen watches of exceptional quality. The company may not produce new watches anymore, but its classics of antique Gruen watches from the early 20th century remain a landmark in the history of watches. Many collectors prefer vintage watches, which were produced between 1894 and 1972, although modern battery-powered Gruen watches are still available for sale at online auctions platforms.
Quick Facts about Gruen Watches
- Gruen was One of the earliest who introduced Swiss-produced basic movements in the United States for the first time.
- Aegler, who went on to work for Hans Wilsdorf of Rolex, manufactured some of Gruen's finest movements.