Watch's origin: Swiss
Number of jewels: 17
Type of Watch: Wrist
Lug Width: 16mm
Dimension: 39mm by 23mm
Gruen emerged as one of the pre-eminent watch houses in the United States, producing accurate timepieces in stylish cases that became Jazz-Age darlings. Watch houses sought to outdo one another, carrying the wristwatch as a fashion statement to even higher levels, but none seemed to touch the panache of Gruen. Founded in the United States in 1876, the legacy of Deitrich Gruen is a benchmark for watch designers to this day.
This Deco Gruen certainly illustrates the adage "Out with the curves, in with the geometric lines." So was the philosophy of "L'Exposition des Arts Decoratifs," an international fair held in Paris in 1925, from which the term "Deco" was derived. Designs were less florid, more geometric, drawing on abstract and cubist influences.
Gruen had a few curves left on the drawing board, though. This fabulous 39mm by 23mm Gruen Curvex, circa mid-'30s, has a perfect combination of the sweeping and the angular: combined with the famed "Curvex" movement, it is everything a wristwatch can be. Its two-tone silver and eggshell dial with gold Gothic numerals is completely original, a startling discovery for such a piece. Sub-seconds dial is a beautiful little tribute to the post-industrial "Metropolis" look. A well-fitted acrylic crystal is clear, and coin-edged crown is tight with no rubbing.
Fancy and unusual claw lugs complement the restored, yellow gold-filled case off, and an un-engraved back snaps open nicely to reveal the true prize: a completely original 440 caliber Gruen Precision Curvex hand-assembled movement, marked "Seventeen 17 Jewels/440/Gruen Watch Co./ Curvex Precision Pat/Switzerland."
We've taken the liberty of cleaning, oiling and timing the watch, readying it for a spin around the firm or dinner engagement. We've also fitted the watch with a new black crocodile strap and matching gold-tone buckle, rounding out a package that is definitely a testament to the good taste of the wearer.