The Gruen Watch Company, which operated under a number of different names from 1876 until 1958, expertly blended European watchmaking traditions with the innovations and efficiencies of American manufacturing.Founded by Dietrich Gruen (born February 22, 1847 in Osthofen, Hesse; died April 10, 1911 on board the , near Algiers) the business involved nearly the entire Gruen family, from Dietrich’s brothers to his sons and grandsons.He may have also studied in Switzerland. Although best known for producing cuckoo clocks, the Black Forest region was also home to highly skilled makers of pocket watches, with whom Gruen studied.In 1866, after studying watchmaking for four years, Dietrich relocated to the United States, where he joined his two older brothers in St. He spent about a year living in the apartment attached to Jacob’s saloon on 7 Street, during which time he worked as a watchmaker for jeweler William Reinholdt.Savage, who sold his half of a Columbus wholesale jewelry business to become the secretary and treasurer of the Columbus Watch Company, and partly from Dietrich’s brothers in St. Initially, the Columbus Watch Company relied on the import of unfinished movements from Madresch-Biel, Switzerland, which they would then finish, adding Dietrich’s patented safety pinion as well as decorative flourishes. Cases were made by other companies, as was typical for the American watchmaking industry in the late nineteenth century.By 1882, the Columbus Watch Company was ready to expand.Louis, as well as from family and friends in the cities of Delaware and Columbus. D.Gruen & Son, as the company was called, became the second watch manufacturer in Columbus, with modest headquarters at 58 Wesley Block.
Efforts to reorganize the company and raise capital had proved insufficient.
” as he walked out. The failure of the Columbus Watch Company resulted in years of financial distress for its investors.
In 1898, William Savage was still fending off the company’s receiver, Philip H.
The company was incorporated that year, and, on July 27, 1882, Gruen moved into a new factory, which encompassed nearly two acres at the corner of Thurman and New Streets. The factory was designed by Columbus architect and German immigrant George H.
Maetzel and was located in the “German Village” section of town. By the 1890s, the Columbus Watch Company employed about 400 people.
He had worked briefly at the Columbus Watch Company, introducing greater organization and efficiency to the jeweling department, before his father quit the company. Fred used his contacts in Glashütte to find a new factory for their movements, avoiding direct competition with the New Columbus Watch Company. While studying in Germany, Fred had become acquainted with Paul Assmann, whose father Julius was the founder of a successful and highly-regarded watch company that Paul had taken over in 1886. Lange & Söhne, a premiere German watchmaking company.