TO BUDDY FROM FRITZI:
A GRUEN VERITHIN
BY WALT ODETS
Albert “Buddy” Gondee must have been quite a guy–or at least Fritzi must have thought so. On some important, unknown occasion around 1920, Buddy received an 18 K Gruen VeriThin
from Fritzi. The Gruen undoubtedly served him well for many years. I hope their relationship did as well.
Gruen, an American company producing watches in Switzerland, is probably among the
three or four American greats in watch manufacturing. The VeriThin–with a movement a mere 4.8 millimeters thick and total case thickness of only 10 millimeters–is certainly not a radical piece
of engineering. But it is a remarkably beautiful, craftsman like piece of extraordinary quality by today’s standards. The pictures tell the story.
The VeriThin caliber utilizes simple silver plating of the exceptionally well-finished bridges and plate. The wheel train
runs in nineteen jewels.
The center, third, and fourth wheel upper pivots use chatonned jewels, the escape wheel traditional polished steel
plates to provide cap jewels top and bottom.
The pallet lever banking pins are adjustable! Extensions of eccentric screws, the pins can be rotated from the dial side of the
The regulator index pins are clearly hand made.
But much of the beauty of the Gruen VeriThin lies, not within, but in its beautifully chased silver dial and 18K white
By contemporary standards, the Gruen VeriThin is an extraordinary piece of work, obtainable in a very tiny handful of wristwatches at exorbitant
prices. And what is the old Gruen worth today–18K case and all? About US$900. So, today we can admire the craft and beauty of the the VeriThin and we can also think about it in
a way that did not even occur to Fritzi. We can think of it as a bargain.
© 2016 Bourne in Time Inc.