vintage watch

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

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.

1955 Wyler Incaflex

1955 Wyler Incaflex

1955 Wyler Incaflex

1955 Wyler Incaflex

1955 Wyler Incaflex uncased

1955 Wyler Incaflex uncased

1955 Wyler Incaflex balance

1955 Wyler Incaflex balance

Paul Wyler formed the Wyler Watch company in 1896. In 1927 the Incaflex balance wheel was introduced and was an immediate success. The one piece balance wheel is supported by spiral arms which flex protecting the pinion.

In 1956 representatives from the Wyler Watch company climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower and dropped two Incaflex watches off the side. A watchmaker was waiting on the ground to certify the victims were still alive and ticking.? I’ve heard that Wyler salesmen would enter a jewellers store, take out a sample and throw it against the wall to show the reliability of the incaflex design but I’m sceptical this was a common practice. Either way the design worked and the casing was very well constructed. I have two Wylers and both upon opening looked brand new and dust free. For Sale