Monthly Archives: November 2010

Gruen Barclay before restoration1951 Gruen Barclay before restoration
Gruen Barclay1951 Gruen Barclay cal 335 after restoration

Every Gruen collector knows this model and mine arrived in the mail this morning.  Some call it The Spider due to the lug shape but I suspect it’s as much cool factor as anything else. It does have a very distinct look to it and it’s easy to see why it’s collectible. The calibre 335-21 was the first entirely U.S. made Gruen and marked Cincinnati USA. The bridge design is pure Gruen with it’s well finished machine anglage, chamfered  and polished crown and winding wheel. As you can see this one is in dire need of a service.

The balance looks good and swings flat and true but obviously won’t run due to the years of dirt and old oil deposited.

Gruen Barclay Dial and casebackGruen Barclay Dial and caseback

The dial matches the movement in as much that it needs a thorough clean. There is some lifting of the lacquer so that will have to be addressed.

Gruen 335 movement Before COAGruen 335 movement Before COA
Gruen 335 after overhaulGruen 335 after overhaul

A few hours after tearing it down and pegging and cleaning pivots it’s running strong. It was a pleasure to work on and went back together like the parts wanted to go home. I wish they were all this easy. There is still a small problem with the winding gear and the train jewels have to be taken off and cleaned but it’s close to being finished.

Gruen Barclay after overhaul and crystal polishGruen Barclay after overhaul and crystal polish

The case needs polishing and lug straightening  but for a days work it looks pretty good. The second hand doesn’t show up very good in the photo but it’s there and original.

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Running with good amplitude and a beautiful sound to the beat. Unfortunately there’s no sound in the video so you’ll have to take my word for it.

La Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie

La Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie

I was browsing YouTube last night after putting my tools away and came across that comment. I know I should stay away from the “Best Replica Watches” video’s but I can’t help it. It’s a guilty pleasure like watching TMZ (I don’t watch) or scratching five seconds longer than you need to. The reasons for buying these obvious and horrible looking fakes is always pretty much along the same theme. “Most people can’t afford them and they look exactly the same so I’d be stupid not to” I saw a great one last night that tested the boundaries of stupidity and maybe went just a little over the edge. and I quote: ” these are not fake, they are real watches, just replicated and still with high standards” I can just see this kid with his shirt sleeve rolled up hanging out at the local skate park with his bright mineral glass blinding his friends as it catches the sun. All you need to top it off is a pocket full of replica one hundred dollar bills and everyone will think you made it big!

What`s missing is, by the time you can afford a Rolex Submariner or an Omega Aqua Tera it`s less about what it looks like and more about what you have on your wrist.  Knowing the craftsmanship and artistry that went into making your watch gives you a satisfaction that you just can`t replicate. For the price of one of these “good fakes” you can buy a sterile Submariner homage with a good quality ETA 2836-2 movement that will last for the rest of your life if maintained properly. The plus side is you won’t need to throw it away later when you decide to buy a Rolex.

Maybe they should change the campaign’s name to Fake watches are for people who don’t mind being laughed at.

Franken Watch #2 limited edition

Franken Watch #2 limited edition

I noticed I had three AS 1187 movements last night in various sates of repair so with nothing to do I decided to make them into one working watch. I grabbed a case and dial from the last parts lot and changed the balance and train bridge. With a quick clean and oil it stared running. In true frankenwatch tradition I decided on the most unlikely combination of hands I could find that would still give it that “what the Hell is it” look. I need to fill and drill the hour hand since it’s way too large for the wheel but you get the general look I was going for. So without further explanation I present: Frankenwatch #2 (limited series of  one, very rare)

Go ahead and laugh, I did. 🙂