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Gruen Airflight - Rarity?

Hi, I've looked up the nice Gruen history site that comes up from the search engine, but no mention of the "airflight" model. Does anyone know how long it was made for, and what variations there are? How rare is it, realistically?
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across all versions. In fact, I've wondered about the same things.
I happen to have encountered three versions of the Airflight: 1. Steel case with silver dial, 2. pink gold plated case with silver dial and 3. yellow gold plate case with black dial. I think all three had stainless steel casebacks and white hour register discs with outlined gold painted type.
The black dial version had a diamond or lozenge design motif stretched across the dial and interestingly has "Gruen Geneve" printed on the dial. Here is a photo from a seller:
The rose gold plated version has "Gruen Precision" printed on the dial. Here is a photo of my watch:
The steel version I've seen only once. It was for sale here at TZ and was near mint. The seller opined that the steel version is far more rare than the gold ones. I'm now inclined to believe that claim. It was after kicking myself for not buying it that I bought mine.
I hope that helps. Please let us know if you find out more.
Best,
Kyle
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Look up In completed items on ebay... I almost bid but don't like the look of steel with that dial style...
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I'm not sure about their rarity, but another variety that I have seen is one that changes insert colors for AM and PM.
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and you're right about its hours disc. Here are borrowed photos of the dial in its day and night states:
But your post reminded me that there is also one more Airflight variant I forgot, with a rotating bezel, originally mentioned to me by Mark K in this post.
Regards,
Kyle
Answer:
If you're referring to Paul Schliessser's excellent online history of Gruen, here's why he doesn't mention the Airflight model: His history ends with the dissolution of the original Gruen Watch Company in 1958. The Airflight model was a creation of the successor Gruen watch company.
The Gruen family sold the last of their interests in the Gruen Watch Company in 1953, the year Gruen recorded its highest sales ever. From that point on mismanagement and over diversification drove the company to the brink of bankruptcy. In 1958 "Gruen Industries" sold off their assets to pay off the corporate debt, and the watchmaking division was sold to a New York company. Time Hill in Ohio was closed and all the existing Gruen Watch Company records were discarded. Even though the corporate headquarters for Gruen was in New York, watch production was completely relegated to the existing Gruen Precision Factory in Switzerland. Gruen watches continued to be produced there until the mid 1970s when the "quartz revolution" drove Gruen out of business. The last vestiges of the watch company founded by Dietrich Gruen ceased operations when the Gruen Precision factory was shut down and sold to Rolex, who converted it to an administration building, which it is still used as today.
Oysterquartz.net
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he said they were also Pan Americans, and that Airflight was not the real name of the watch, IIRC.
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Could be. Either way, unlike the original Gruen Pan American watches, the "Airflight" was not created for PanAm pilots. By the time the Airflight model came out Rolex was the "official" watch supplier for PanAm, having created the GMT-Master specifically for PanAm pilots.
Oysterquartz.net
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But I previously heard that it was TWA. I now believe the PanAm version of the story. And I've heard that it was the official watch of the cabin crew, not of the pilots.
Kyle
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The Gruen airflight all have solid brass front cases. There is no stainless front case, it is nickel chrome plated. I have had 3 or 4 of the nickel chrome, and most all others are yellow gold filled. Your rose gold, is suspect is a refinished case.
They all have stainless steel case backs. Nice collector wristwatches, and prices keep going up. Good investments these days
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Thanks for that. there's one on the 'bay at the moment, but the second hand looks overly big... Otherwise nice condition...
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