Monthly Archives: May 2010

Gruen 420SS

Gruen 420SS with Gold Bezel

It may not be much to look at but it has a great personality. We’ve all heard that at one time or another and in this case I’m glad I took the chance. The movement is in much better condition than the dial would have you believe. And although I prefer restoration over refinishing, this one just has to have a proper redial. The caliber 420ss was produced in the late 1940’s and this is the “Import 270” Very similar to the Gruen Marine but not quite. Given Gruen’s penchant for re-using names I wish they would have spent an extra five seconds thinking about this one.

Upon delivery of any watch that?s been sold as non working or needs TLC and a service, I check for a few things before anything else.

1: Check to make sure hairspring hasn?t jumped up onto a train wheel.
2: Check to make sure hairspring hasn?t jumped out of the regulating pins.
3: Make sure it?s wound. (Go ahead and laugh, I bought one watch as needing a new battery and in need of repair. The grinding heard when turning the stem was the click spring.)
4: Check for obvious debris blocking the train and escapement.
5: Check jewels for any chips/cracks bad enough to slow or stop a pivot.
6: Check for oil and grease build up. It?s better to have a watch that stopped and was thrown in a drawer than one that was dipped a couple times in sewing machine oil.

These are some of my standard inspections for vintage wristwatches and a good many can be brought up to running condition after checking these simple points. A watch with poor amplitude or one that struggles to run is no longer a frustration when I open the case up. Removing and cleaning/oiling the balance jewels will give you a perfectly capable occasional wearer.

1932 Bulova cal 7AP

1932 Bulova cal 7AP

One of my first Bulova’s and still one of my favourites is this 21 jewel cal 7AP. It’s clad in a rose gold case that gives it a warm glow. It’s a small watch by today’s standard at 33 x 21mm but switched over to a leather strap it’s quite wearable and always receives compliments. Bulova has lost much of the prestige when it comes to their designs and movements but it’s easy to see why they were at the top of the industry in the early to mid 1900’s

Bulova cal 7AP movement

Bulova cal 7AP movement

Bulova cal 7AP movement

Bulova cal 7AP movement

The finish on this era of Bulova movement is as good as any American made watch at the time. These were anything but an ordinary watch and the finish reflected that. This watch will get a restoration rather than a refinish. The white areas of the dial will be cleaned and given a light wash of white water base acrylic that can be removed at any time in the future. The hands will be cleaned, polished and re-blued which should improve the readability greatly. For Sale

Before visiting the Spa

Marcel & Cie 17j Day+Date Automatic

Marcel & Cie 17j Day+Date Automatic

And after a good scrub, case and a crystal polish

Marcel & Cie 17j Day+Date Automatic

Marcel & Cie 17j Day+Date Automatic

Marcel & Cie 17j Day+Date Automatic

Marcel & Cie 17j Day+Date Automatic

Being attracted to Day+Date I picked this one up from an estate buyer untested or timed. After spending the day on the bench and being cleaned buffed and massaged it came out fairly well. The movement is a Felsa 4009 (updated) I’ll have an update in the next couple of days when I disassemble, clean and oil the movement. Until then I’ll just admire the classic look. Another example of affordable jewellers brands with quality components inside. For Sale