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The Original Cincinnati Watch Company, The Gruen & Sons Watch Co.

This Cincinnati Watch Company would like to thank and highlight The original Cincinnati watch company, "D. Gruen, Sons & Company" One of the first precision mechanical watch companies in the United States. From 1894 to 1954 Gruen revolutionized the watch industry, several times their patents changed the watch making world.

The study of time and the art of making watches is called "Horology"

Gruen Instrumental Company in Cincinnati's Finest Age

The Gruen Watch Co built a World Renown American watch guild known as Time Hill on East McMillan in Cincinnati, Ohio. Just down the street from the author's house.

The most definitive article on the history and evolution of The Gruen Family found on the web, by Paul Schliesser

Gruen started in 1894 by Father & Son duo Dietrich & Fred Gruen. Later in 1898 joined by other son, Goerge.

In 1900 Gruen Was Located on Fountain Square

1898 the company was officially relocated from Columbus to Cincinnati, occupying space in the Johnson Building on Fountain Square.

Image courtesy of webmaster Don Prout at

The Johnson Building is the building on the right in front of the tallest building on right. The horologists at Gruen would have looked out their window and heard the bustling city sounds of Downtown Cincinnati.


Time Hill in Cincinnati 1913

Downtown Cincinnati is a river valley, early prosperous companies and individuals took the opportunity to rise above the hills and the smoke in the valley. In 1913 Fred Gruen built his dream workshop guild overlooking downtown and called it "Time Hill. Able to get above the smoke of early industrialism and in Cincinnati of course, the smell of pigs downtown at this time would have been present in the valley- we are the City where pigs fly. In need of space & a quite place for the horologists to create mechanical Precision Timepieces. Brilliant.

This photo below is part of an amazing gallery of photos of Time Hill dated 1917 at Gruen Wrist Gruen Wrist Watches .com is a valid effort of documentation of Gruen's illustrious history. Thank you Gruen Wrist Watches .com Their Chart of Gruen Movements is amazing and helped me identify Gruen's American Made movement type, number, and year.

High on a hill overlooking the Ohio River sits the famous Gruen Watch Makers Guild known as "Time Hill". A structure that in Built for hand picked Swiss horologists dedicated to durability and "Precision" watch making; the word "Precision" later becomes a word Gruen owned and had printed on many of their dials.

The space provided the inner wealth of inspiration for the horologists and jewelers at Time Hill. The grounds consisted of pleasant paths down a hillside to benches with overlooks of downtown providing a beautiful calm esthetic to inspire the jewelers inside.

Dietrich Gruen Brought Old-World Watchmaking To Cincinnati, USA

The Gruen Watch Co. was a family business started by Dietrich & Fred Gruen, then Goerge: D. Gruen joined and they officially became the "D. Gruen, Sons & Company"

Glashütte style,
Fred Gruen was trained in Glashütte Germany. At the beginning of the formation of D. Gruen and Sons, Dietrich and Fred designed their own watch movement. Fred traveled to Glashütte to have it manufactured by Assmann in Glashütte (Source:

Fred stayed on in Glashütte Germany for one year to export American factory engineering and processes to the old world watch makers in Europe.

Art, Beauty, Function, & Practicality

Originally named Grun, the "u" with two dots over it, Dietrich Grun changed his name when he came to America because that letter does not exist in English.

Dietrich Gruen believed that everything worth doing should be done beautifully. That insistance is a truism of mechanical watches, they do not simply tell time; they are mechanical works of art whose elements enrich the other until the whole mechanism takes a personality.

Dietrich Gruen, maintaining his commitment to old-world Quality, Esthetic, and Spirit, he used only the best horologists from Glashütte, and German and then Swiss movements and parts and assembled them in his American tool shop.

Built like the grand halls in Nuremberg Time Hill was modeled off of the Swiss halls of Nuremburg and the towns that contain the watch guilds where Grun himself became a master. "Time Hill" sits at top of the River Valley overlooking the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here Swiss made movements and parts were assembled into Precision watches assembled and repaired in the USA.

The Gruen Watch Company: American Made Watch Movements


The 335C Made In Cincinnati Movement by Gruen

<h3>The Cincinnati Watch Company Has Several Gruen Watches</h3>
We are the proud owners of this Gruen Watch assembled in Cincinnati at Time Hill in 1950 that has the same movement in it, the 335, being built in Cincinnati at that time. American made movements were made by the Gruen Watch Company in Cincinnati between around 1948-50. They were the 335C and had "Cincinnati, USA" engraved on the movement as seen in the image above.

The Green watch's 355 movement was made in Switzerland, Unfortunately! We found the American made movement on Ebay separately.

After receiving special permission from the Swiss Government, Gruen rented space from the American Playing Card Company in Norwood, Ohio. Norwood was a non-incorporated city literally inside of Cincinnati, to house the men and machines that made the parts for the movements.

Gruen Watch Company: "America's Choice Since 1874"

Get your college graduating daughter a Precision Watch by The Cincinnati Watch Company. Commercial for Gruen 1950's

Fred Gruen dealt directly with individual jewelry stores, Like Rich's, in Covington! Rich's is no longer there, just the sign.

The Veri-Thin by Gruen

Making The Movement Smaller, Rectangular And Curved Dietrich Gruen was dedicated to making a watch thinner than the pocket watch turned sideways as it was at the time.

He created the "Veri-thin" Movement, a revolutionary movement designed to be half as thin as the bulky watches of the day.

The Gruen Watch Co. helped usher in the popularity of the wrist watch over the pocket watch. Wrist watches are the common use today but at the turn of the 19th century wrist watches were considered jewelery for women.

Gruen During The War

The Gruen Watch Company played a vital role in The War effort by transferring their production lines from watches to instruments the Allies needed to fight World War 2. They made sensitive flight instruments and dashboard panels. One fact of Gruen's contribution to WW2 Allies was the Pan American Watch was only sold to the public after orders from American Air Forces were filled.
Gruen was able to sell the Pan American after the war but during the war The Gruen Pan American was an American Airforce issued Pilot watch of WW2 to some degree. How much I do not know. See in the advertisement below that Gruen states "...Naturally government requirements get first call on our production of Gruen Pan American watches... and civilians may not find them at their jewelers today."

Here is a real advertisement for The Pan-American from during the years of America's involvement in WW2.


The photo below is from a goverment video, one of those old WW2 propaganda sounding videos in B&W. The video talks about the pilots getting ready to fly, they sync their watches, they show close up on the watches and one of them is this Gruen 24 hour time piece.

24 hour time was how the military tells time and many other countries around the World. The Pilots watch will have the 24 hour time while having an emphasis on the seconds, or counting down the seconds. Air pilots and bombers had to keep countdowns precisely to ensure accurate placement of bombs and maintaining flight coordinates. Pilot watches have a high luminescent hand to ensure they can be seen in the dark. German Pilot watches at this time used very large crowns so a pilot can wind the watch if necessary with their pilot gloves on. The German flight watch also incorporated a Triangle at the Twelve seemingly making the orientation of the watch easy to gather.


The definitive article on the history of Gruen Watch by Paul Schliesser

Gruen Wrist Watches .com

High Resolution B&W photos of Time hill in Cincinnati.

Gruen made phenomenal ladies watches. The perfect fit from a company whose vision it is to make the movement smaller. The succeeded in smaller and curved, and rectangular; Gruen took the round movement of pocket watches and made them thinner, rectangular, and curved. Perfect jewelry.

Here is on our the Cincinnati Watch Company's Gruen ladies watch.

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