vintage watch restoration

Watch, book and glasses

Vintage movement holder

Vintage movement holder before cleaning

While there are several effective ways of cleaning parts and tools this method was followed by the older watchmakers. It involves two solutions one of which you may have in your kitchen cupboard. The first solution is for rust removal for the simple reason the part may not be structurally sound underneath the oxidation. For that I use Earl Grey Tea. The tannic acid in tea is an excellent rust remover and there’s no foul odour to deal with. The longer you steep the tea the more tannic acid is released so twenty minutes or more is advised before removing the bag.

Continue reading

Gruen 400

Gruen 400c

Gruen 400 with Wadsworth 10k GF over Sterling case back.

Gruen 400 with Wadsworth 10k GF over Sterling case back.

Research on this movement has been more difficult than most as past sales of the cal 400 are few and far between. I’m not ready to tag it as rare yet but it does have some unique features not present in other veri-thin’s. First, it’s the C model of the 400 which has the curved front which gives the dial some depth.

Gruen cal 400c movement

Gruen cal 400c movement

The movement almost looks like it’ a switch out giving it looks like new old stock in an otherwise worn watch. The other explanation is the watch lost it’s crystal and sat inside a drawer or parts tray where it sustained minor cosmetic damage. The case is gold fill over sterling silver which puts it in the period where steel was being diverted for military use.

Gruen 400c curved profile

Coming with what looks like the original strap or a time correct replacement is a real plus. With minor repair it will stay on the watch finishing it off with a real vintage look.

Phase two of the restoration

gruen 400

Gruen 400 restoration

My lights are packed for another shoot? (will replace when re shot) but this is phase two of the restore. The dial has been cleaned along with the hands. The case while not apparent in this shot has been blocked and smoothed. The scratches have been taken off the lugs and top bevel and sides/ends. The glass crystal has been re set. The only thing left is a good polish of the hands so the bluing will be even and a final polish to remove the previous misses.? All in all this is a very easy restoration due to the amazing condition of the movement. A quick tear down and oil should take no more than an hour and this will be ready for the Sales page, or my wrist for the summer. I’m thinking the latter at the moment.

Update:

I’ve received a couple of emails asking when I was going to put the watch up for sale so I pulled it out to re photo and post on the sales page. Unfortunately the dial after cleaning looked great with the underlying sterling silver taking on the white sheen. After sitting for a month the silver has tarnished and returned to it’s “not so appealing” finish. I’ve ordered a parts movement that comes with a redial and a signed crown. The next step is to send it in the the re finisher after picking out the best markers of the two and having them re applied. The benefit is a beautiful dial with proper second hand and a correct signed crown making it as close to a complete restoration as I can get. With the case being in excellent condition showing very little signs of wear I consider it worth the wait. In conclusion, sorry for the delay but I think it’ll be worth it.

Gruen 400c

Gruen 400c

Gruen GF over sterling silver case

Gruen GF over sterling silver case

47 Gruen Bumper

47 Gruen Bumper

Welcome to A Vintage watch.

I collect and restore men’s Vintage watches from the 1800’s to the 1960’s. As the collection grows I pick out examples and offer them to others in the collecting community. I think you’ll find the cost to be very reasonable considering the condition of the models I collect. I do this because of an appreciation for the master watch makers of the past, not to get rich. Shop around and check on-line prices and I’m confident you’ll return for a second look. Most of what I sell are affordable American and Swiss manufacture.

In general the blog is about restoration and I hope you find a tip or technique that saves you time or in some cases a valuable movement. I hope I can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made when I started working on my own watches without proper tools or experience.

If you have a better way of achieving the same result, don’t hesitate to comment and help others in the community. If you’re looking for parts that I don’t have drop me an email and tell me what you’re looking for. I know how long it takes to find rare movement pieces and more eyes looking out for them can cut the time to acquire them in half.

I’m currently re-shooting the models I have for Sale and arranging them specifically for this site. Every few days there should be something new posted so come back and check out the progress.

Thank you