New Watch: Gruen vintage

Got a nice score from a funky antique shop today, a Gruen hand wind dress watch!

This is the untouched watch, with a wonderful linen pattern dial.  It is a 17 jewel Swiss made hand wind movement, cased in base metal is 10 micron gold plate.  The crystal is in excellent condition, with very minor scratches, barely worth buffing out.  Temporarily, I have it on a Fossil leather band, but I think will pick up a reptile or crocodile band for it.

So far, the watch is keeping excellent time.  Opening the back did not reveal any time stamp or indication it was made, but my bet is no later than the mid 60’s, so this is watch is probably 50 years old.  Pretty amazing to see a 50 year old piece of machinery still working like it was designed to do.  The watch is 35mm in diameter with 17mm lugs.  Overall, I am very happy with this watch and I will post a full review once I get a chance.

Update:  The Gruen is now on a brand new Hadley Roma genuine lizard watch band.  I think it is very appropriate for this vintage of watch.

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My other watch hobby

You know what is fun, really does not cost money, and is watch related at the same time?  Collecting watch catalogs!

All you really need to do is dress decently and carry yourself with some confidence and live close to some high end retailers, and you too can collect some watch catalogs.  There are some really beautiful pieces in these catalogs.  With the exception of Swatch, I don’t think I would want to pay for any of them 🙂

First off we have the Swatch catalog. It is a pretty strait forward affair with minimal text and a soft cover. There are some fluff photos, see above, but the photos are well taken, especially for the newest pieces. The core collection has much smaller photos, but at least the catalog is pretty complete. If it is in the store, it is probably in this catalog. It was offered freely at the Swatch store in Oak Brook. That reminds me, time to pick up a Spring/Summer 2010 catalog one of these days.

How it was acquired:  Picked up at the Swatch store, Oakbrook, IL.  Freely available on counter.

Next up, we have Omega catalog. It is also a soft bound affair, but printed very well. Most photos are true to real size, so it makes guesstimating how the watch will look on your wrist pretty easy. There are some fluff celebrity photos and some explanation text explaining Omega and the movements they use. The speedmaster is my personal favorite, followed by the new professional divers.

How it was acquired:  Freely available on table in entrance at Merry Richards Jewelers, Oakbrook, IL.

Next we have a really stunning quality catalog from Mont Blanc. You usually don’t think of Mont Blanc for watches, but they have some decent pieces, at prices that are very competitive. The catalog is hard bound and looks like a quality coffee table book. The photos are well taken, but most are not true to size.  There is some text detailing the manufacture and design of their pieces.  Thankfully, there are no celebrities in there either, which is probably why their time pieces cost thousands less than the competition.

How it was acquired:   Offered by sales person at Mont Blanc store, Oakbrook, IL.

Weighing in at around 200 pages we have the Breitling catalog.  Slickly produced with amazing photos, I am still surprised they don’t charge for their catalogs.  The book, I mean catalog, details the entire history of Breitling.  Their complete line is included in this thick tome.  I sure hope most of the photos are larger than real life, otherwise these are some seriously large timepieces.  About half the catalog is photos of aircraft, tying their history to the history of flight.  It takes a couple of days to get through this catalog.

How it was acquired:  Offered by sales person at Baily, Banks, and Biddle, Oak Brook, IL.  (Store out of business).

Finally, we have the Piaget Polo 45 catalog, well, more of a pamphlet at about 8 pages long.  The photos are well taken and the watches are unique looking, without being gaudy.  Only four models are detailed in this Forty Five catalog (45mm watches).  The text deals entirely with the features of the watches, so no fluff in here.

How it was acquired:  Freely available on table in entrance at Merry Richards Jewelers, Oakbrook, IL.

So, head on down to your local, high end jewelry store and you may be able to snag a few catalogs yourself.  I had a few Rolex catalogs, but they were more fluff than substance.  They look like golf or sailing magazines, but they are actually 100 page long Rolex ads.  The key is, don’t be pushy and don’t look like a slob, and act like you are interested.  Maybe, some day, you may actually pick up one of their time pieces.

All photos are copyright of their respective owners.  Used to review purposes only.

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Oh so tempting panda

I don’t usually look at vintage pieces, but this one is just calling me:

It is a Seiko 6138-8020 “panda’ automatic chronograph.  It has nice, clean lines, a 12 hour chronograph and day and date.  To get these features in a new watch would cost you thousands.  On e-bay, examples are going for less than $500.  It looks really sharp on a leather band with white stitching.  It is 40mm across as well, so a modern, but not too big size.  I really like the 6138 movement.  It is as good or better than any modern movement.

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