National Geographic : 1916 Sep
THE- MAN-WHO- SUCCEEDED WHERE -HERBERT SPENCER -FAILED SEVENTY-THREE years ago, in Derby, England, lived a young man who had a new ideal in watch-making. Dayafter day he sat bended over his work table, deep in study, with innumerable sketches before him, seeking to make his dream come true. He was Herbert Spencer, then an inventor, later one of the world's greatest utilitarian philosophers. His idea, to quote from his autobiography, was "a re-arrangement of the works with a view to greater flatness." Although his principle-that a practical thin watch could be accomplishedonlythrough a e-arrangement of the works-was correct, Herbert Spencer failed. "My model," he writes, "proved to have no superiority; indeed it was a bad one." Another Man's Ideal In Cincinnati,Ohio,thirty-three years later, another man conceived the same idea. Like Spencer, he saw that all watches were not only too large., but too thick. This man was Dietrich Gruen, a young Swiss watch manufacturer who had learned his trade under one Martens of Freiburg, Germany, among the most re nowned horologists of his time. He had founded his business in America with the ideal of pro ducing a watch of ex- DIETRICH GRUEN ceptional merit. For its HOROLOGIST production his thoughts turned naturally to Switzerland, where from time out of mind the finest watches have been produced. He knew that for accuracy and other attributes of a satisfactory watch, there was no equal to the careful hand-finishing of the skilled Swiss craftsman, with his generations of inherited cunning. So it was to Switzerland that Dietrich Gruen turned for workmen who could produce a watch of superior value. There he gathered together a group of the finest craftsmen and established his first factory for producing watch movements, importing these and fit ting them to their cases in America. The smallest watch made was what is known as the "18" size. But Dietrich Gruen planned and experi mented until he produced the watch known as the "16" size-for many years the popular size watch and the size made today by all manufacturers for railroad use. But even this did not satisfy the ideals of Dietrich Gruen. For he realized that the American public wanted a timepiece still smaller and thinner. He saw imme diately that no cutting down of existing movements would do. He started then from the bottom, striving to find a new arrangement of movement parts, which, without weakening any individual wheel or pinion, would build up a watch of exceeding thinness. Then came success! In 1892 his son Fred, who had been studying horology both in America and Switzerland, was pronounced a finished watchmaker by his masters, and he now took up the problem in collaboration with his father. In 1896 they succeeded partially, but it was not until 1902 (while Herbert Spencer still lived, it is gratifying to state) that Dietrich Gruen's thin model was brought to the high standard of accuracy and durability which the name Gruen Verithin stands for. It was an invention of Fred, who today personally supervises the manufacture of Gruen Watches, that made complete success possible. What this invention is, and what it does, is shown by the wheel train illus tration below. In the old way the wheels were one above the other, like steps. In his way he took the smallest wheel and reversed it, placing this small wheel on a line with the larger wheel, as shown. This enabled him to Herbert make the Gruen Verithin Spencer, only half as thick as the losopher ordinary watch, without reducing the strength of parts, and thus retaining the highest accuracy and durability. The most beautiful watch in America The Gruen Verithin has been called "The Most Beautiful Watch in America." To appreciate the exquisite charm of the Gruen Verithin,one must see it. Those who should like to do so will find among the best jewelers in every locality one or two who are proud to endorse Dietrich Gruen's masterpiece. Gruen Verithin Adjusted Models, which are guaranteed to come with in railroad time requirements, are priced at $25 to $60. Gruen Verithin Precision Models, which are guaranteed to come Within observatory time require ments, recognized by authorities to be the highest time-keeping perfection ob Stainable, are priced at $50 to $250. The Dietrich Gruen, the world's finest pocket timepiece, $265 to $650. Write for " One Word from a Woman's Lips." -a booklet on watches and watch making every one should read before buying a timepiece. Address, THE GRUEN WATCH MANUFACTUR ING CO., 32 E. Fifth Ave., Cincinnati, O. Makers of the famous Gruen Watches since 1874. Factories: Cin cinnati, 0., and Madre-Biel, Switzer se Watch The land. Canadian Branch: Toronto. "Mention the Geographic-It identifies you."