Watch Freeks banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Oris Freek
Joined
·
4,231 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Doing my usual hoping to find an ETA powered watch for cheap search about a week ago. I stumbled upon what looked like a nice Gruen GSM014 dress type watch powered buy a 2824 for $99 with three days remaining on the clock. So I put it away in my watch list and followed it.
While waiting I decided to do a little research on it and came up with quite an amazing history.
I remember Gruen as being a well respected watch maker back in the 60's. Presenting watches to Apollo astronauts upon their arrival home and such. But I guess the company came on hard times in the 90's and were sold to a Chinese holding company eventually.

Pressing on I learned that in the early 2000's this company made a deal with Walmart to design a line of three different watches to be sold only at Walmart for the cost of $151 each.These would be rectangular dress type watches with Chinese case and strap and Swiss internals. Pretty good looking pieces if you could put up with the huge Invicta like Gruen chiseled into the side of the case.

I came across some interesting chatter on now defunct watch forums stating that for some reason these watches just didn't sell. Some said it was because Walmart shoppers weren't the Swiss watch type. Others, such as Minuteman's Thomas Carey questioned whether the Swiss ETA 2824 movements within were actually Swiss at all. Is nothing sacred I thought. Could the Chinese actually build a 2824 movement stamp and all ? Anyway, back in 2004, these started turning up on ebay for $30 or $40 as it appeared Walmart was trying to make what they could off of them and just put this thing behind them. More forum chatter said that people / companies were buying in bulk just to get the movements out of them and repurpose them.

I've noticed since, that everyone that is trying to sell one avoids picturing the exhibition back above the balance wheel where the stamp is. Such was the case with the one I was watching. They are marked "Swiss" in front but not "Swiss made" at 6 o'clock. Case back marked Gruen Swiss model GSM014 and Swiss Automatic Movt. 2824. No ETA mentioned, and no "made" after Swiss. Interesting. I was beginning to doubt the provenance of the watch at this time. It had no bidders and was coming to a close. My interest was piqued though and I had to know if the movement was for real. I threw in a quick snipe for $125. But alas it was not to be. Beaten by another bidder who went $139. Guess I'll never know if I missed out on something special.

I'd like to know if any of the older members here remember these watches and what they thought of them at the time. Also if they knew what the other two dials looked like. If anything, it was an interesting journey.




 

·
Marine Tunnel Rat
Joined
·
6,025 Posts
Really nice looking watch, even if it had a ChiSwiss movement in it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: forzaferrari

·
Marine Tunnel Rat
Joined
·
6,025 Posts

·
Oris Freek
Joined
·
4,231 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
This may be one of the others. GSM015. Its a 40mm round case on a bracelet. Sold used for $135 back in 2009. Note the similarity in the movement and case back. Could be just a coincidence. Gotta figure that the other ones are either GSM012 and 013 or GSM015 and 016. It would stand to reason. But you never know.



 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,979 Posts
Forzaferrari:
My uncle George left me a Gruen ages ago (1951)
Nice piece but I never could bond with Square watches.
Can't even recall what I did with it.
I was beginning to think Gruen only sold square watches
til I saw the post of yours. Live n learn!

Lou Snutt
 

·
Oris Freek
Joined
·
4,231 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Forzaferrari:
My uncle George left me a Gruen ages ago (1951)
Nice piece but I never could bond with Square watches.
Can't even recall what I did with it.
I was beginning to think Gruen only sold square watches
til I saw the post of yours. Live n learn!

Lou Snutt
Glad I was able to educate you on the subject Art. Gruen was once a big player both round and square in the sixties and earlier. But like alot of brands, the Japanese quartz revolution did them in. :(
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,699 Posts
Don't know anything about the Gruen watches made by the Chinese owners for Walmart but do know that the Gruen of old made some decent watches that were way underrated imo. So a decent underlying pedigree there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
677 Posts
Don't know anything about the Gruen watches made by the Chinese owners for Walmart but do know that the Gruen of old made some decent watches that were way underrated imo. So a decent underlying pedigree there.
I've got a half dozen 60-70's Gruens that I've picked up at flea markets and such over time and they were good little watches back in the day. I believe most of the ones I have are A.Schild movements and can be a great deal if you like vintage watches.

It looks as though the watches Forza posted may have been their last gasp at making legitimate watches before disappearing into the history books. I think the name is still being used along with Elgin by makers of dubious quartz crap. I was at Walmart the other day and they had a fine selection of "Elgins" encrusted with "jewels".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Doing my usual hoping to find an ETA powered watch for cheap search about a week ago. I stumbled upon what looked like a nice Gruen GSM014 dress type watch powered buy a 2824 for $99 with three days remaining on the clock. So I put it away in my watch list and followed it.
While waiting I decided to do a little research on it and came up with quite an amazing history.
I remember Gruen as being a well respected watch maker back in the 60's. Presenting watches to Apollo astronauts upon their arrival home and such. But I guess the company came on hard times in the 90's and were sold to a Chinese holding company eventually.

Pressing on I learned that in the early 2000's this company made a deal with Walmart to design a line of three different watches to be sold only at Walmart for the cost of $151 each.These would be rectangular dress type watches with Chinese case and strap and Swiss internals. Pretty good looking pieces if you could put up with the huge Invicta like Gruen chiseled into the side of the case.

I came across some interesting chatter on now defunct watch forums stating that for some reason these watches just didn't sell. Some said it was because Walmart shoppers weren't the Swiss watch type. Others, such as Minuteman's Thomas Carey questioned whether the Swiss ETA 2824 movements within were actually Swiss at all. Is nothing sacred I thought. Could the Chinese actually build a 2824 movement stamp and all ? Anyway, back in 2004, these started turning up on ebay for $30 or $40 as it appeared Walmart was trying to make what they could off of them and just put this thing behind them. More forum chatter said that people / companies were buying in bulk just to get the movements out of them and repurpose them.

I've noticed since, that everyone that is trying to sell one avoids picturing the exhibition back above the balance wheel where the stamp is. Such was the case with the one I was watching. They are marked "Swiss" in front but not "Swiss made" at 6 o'clock. Case back marked Gruen Swiss model GSM014 and Swiss Automatic Movt. 2824. No ETA mentioned, and no "made" after Swiss. Interesting. I was beginning to doubt the provenance of the watch at this time. It had no bidders and was coming to a close. My interest was piqued though and I had to know if the movement was for real. I threw in a quick snipe for $125. But alas it was not to be. Beaten by another bidder who went $139. Guess I'll never know if I missed out on something special.

I'd like to know if any of the older members here remember these watches and what they thought of them at the time. Also if they knew what the other two dials looked like. If anything, it was an interesting journey.




I find your post very interesting. I happen to recognize the value of the watches when they were in Walmart. I purchased all three, the GSM043, GSM15, and GSM16. As a collector all three are in pristine condition and they are accurate, the second hand sweep rival some high end watches. Contrary to what is stated above, each movement is engraved "Swiss Made". See photos attached. So if you can get one it would be worth the money.
 

Attachments

·
Senior Novice
Joined
·
3,466 Posts
Doing my usual hoping to find an ETA powered watch for cheap search about a week ago. I stumbled upon what looked like a nice Gruen GSM014 dress type watch powered buy a 2824 for $99 with three days remaining on the clock. So I put it away in my watch list and followed it.
While waiting I decided to do a little research on it and came up with quite an amazing history.
I remember Gruen as being a well respected watch maker back in the 60's. Presenting watches to Apollo astronauts upon their arrival home and such. But I guess the company came on hard times in the 90's and were sold to a Chinese holding company eventually.

Pressing on I learned that in the early 2000's this company made a deal with Walmart to design a line of three different watches to be sold only at Walmart for the cost of $151 each.These would be rectangular dress type watches with Chinese case and strap and Swiss internals. Pretty good looking pieces if you could put up with the huge Invicta like Gruen chiseled into the side of the case.

I came across some interesting chatter on now defunct watch forums stating that for some reason these watches just didn't sell. Some said it was because Walmart shoppers weren't the Swiss watch type. Others, such as Minuteman's Thomas Carey questioned whether the Swiss ETA 2824 movements within were actually Swiss at all. Is nothing sacred I thought. Could the Chinese actually build a 2824 movement stamp and all ? Anyway, back in 2004, these started turning up on ebay for $30 or $40 as it appeared Walmart was trying to make what they could off of them and just put this thing behind them. More forum chatter said that people / companies were buying in bulk just to get the movements out of them and repurpose them.

I've noticed since, that everyone that is trying to sell one avoids picturing the exhibition back above the balance wheel where the stamp is. Such was the case with the one I was watching. They are marked "Swiss" in front but not "Swiss made" at 6 o'clock. Case back marked Gruen Swiss model GSM014 and Swiss Automatic Movt. 2824. No ETA mentioned, and no "made" after Swiss. Interesting. I was beginning to doubt the provenance of the watch at this time. It had no bidders and was coming to a close. My interest was piqued though and I had to know if the movement was for real. I threw in a quick snipe for $125. But alas it was not to be. Beaten by another bidder who went $139. Guess I'll never know if I missed out on something special.

I'd like to know if any of the older members here remember these watches and what they thought of them at the time. Also if they knew what the other two dials looked like. If anything, it was an interesting journey.
That was a good read fo, I'm sorry it didn't get some facts back in it's day.
Did you ever happen across an answer to your post?
 

·
Long Time Member
Joined
·
823 Posts
I find your post very interesting. I happen to recognize the value of the watches when they were in Walmart. I purchased all three, the GSM043, GSM15, and GSM16. As a collector all three are in pristine condition and they are accurate, the second hand sweep rival some high end watches. Contrary to what is stated above, each movement is engraved "Swiss Made". See photos attached. So if you can get one it would be worth the money.
I would disagree. From your own photos it shows swiss movt, not swiss made. I do not know of a legit swiss watch company that would do that as the swiss federation goes after companies using terms like that. Furthermore, swiss made as pointed out is not at the six o’clock as required for a swiss made watch.
 
  • Like
Reactions: forzaferrari

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,661 Posts
I would disagree. From your own photos it shows swiss movt, not swiss made. I do not know of a legit swiss watch company that would do that as the swiss federation goes after companies using terms like that. Furthermore, swiss made as pointed out is not at the six o’clock as required for a swiss made watch.
If you look closely at the rotor, to the lower right of the word Gruen, you will see it says Swiss Made. This is not uncommon to see on ETA movements. Below you can see it (same placement) on an unbranded ETA 2824:



In his case, you are 100% correct; having Swiss Made on the movement means the movement is Swiss Made, not the entire watch....

However, not all Swiss watch manufacturers put "Swiss Made" on their watches, even though they are. In the case of the Patek Philippe 6301P - Grand Complications, only the movement says Swiss:



 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,661 Posts
Here are the definitions of Swiss Made and Swiss Movement (source is Wikipedia):


Swiss watch

A watch is considered Swiss, according to the Swiss law if:

  • its movement is Swiss and,
  • its movement is cased up in Switzerland and;
  • the manufacturer carries out the final inspection in Switzerland

Swiss watch movement

A watch movement is considered Swiss if:

  • the movement has been assembled in Switzerland and,
  • the movement has been inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland and;
  • the components of Swiss manufacture account for at least 50 percent of the total value, without taking into account the cost of assembly. From 1 January 2017, the law set the minimum at 60 percent.
If a watch movement is intended for export and will not be cased-up in Switzerland, but it otherwise meets the criteria to be considered a Swiss movement, the watch may say "Swiss Movement" but it may not say Swiss made on the watch case or dial. A watch that says "Swiss Quartz" is considered to be a proper Swiss watch. However, it is often improperly used by foreign manufacturers to merely indicate that the quartz movement is of Swiss origin.



To me, it sounds like what the OP said: Gruen purchased a lot of ETA movements, exported them to China, where they were cased in Chinese made cases etc.. So no, it's is not a Swiss Made watch, only the movement is Swiss Made.

However the 60% rule is still open to a lot of abuse.. And the 60% rule can include R&D costs. So, in theory, a Swiss Made watch could be made purely of imported parts (I once asked Palladium AG what their definition of Swiss Made was, their reply was "all of the parts in our watches are source in Switzerland"... notice the word "sourced", it is not the same as "made"). Or, alternatively, Chinese made parts are so inexpensive that you could have most of the movement parts coming from China, and only 1 or 2 expensive parts (escapement / hairspring, baseplate) come from Switzerland and you comply.

Also, inspection can mean someone opening a warehouse door, looking at the boxes and saying "Ok, that's been inspected" and then close the door and it's now "Swiss Made".

It's one of the reasons why Moser & Cie made the Swiss Mad (note Made) watch as a piss-take on the 60% rule. It was partially made of Swiss Cheese (not joking).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,661 Posts
On a side note, please do not think I am trying to denigrate Swiss watch makers. There are some that abuse the rule and others that do not. For instance, this is what Omega says on their website:

136263
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top