In 1922 a consolidation took place where the D. Gruen, Sons & Co, Cincinnati, The Gruen Watch Manufacturing Co, Biel/Bienne and the Gruen National Watch Case Co, were merged into “The Gruen Watch Company”. 1923 the company moved into a new facility, in Biel/Bienne.
In marketing and advertising, the Gruen Watch Company used 1876, and
later, 1874, as its official founding date. The 1876 date is actually
the founding date of the Columbus Watch Company, and the 1874 date is
actually the year that Dietrich Gruen's first patent was issued.
By the mid-twenties, Gruen’s sales had reached over five million
dollars. In total sales, it had become the largest watch company in the
U.S., as well as first in the average watch price!
In 1930 Gruen introduced the Baguette watches.
After the start of the Depression, 1930 an arrangement was made with Alpina, with the production of a dual branded Alpina/Gruen watch.
In 1935, Gruen introduced the first “Curvex”
wristwatches for men. The Curvex is the company's most famous design.
Expanding on the then-current fashion for long, rectangular wristwatch
shapes, the Curvex watches were curved to wrap around the wearer's
wrist. The biggest innovation of the design was to place a curved
movement inside the curved case, allowing the watch to be thinner and
more curved, and allowing the movement to be larger, more durable and
more accurate than would have been possible if a smaller, flat movement
was used. A year later, Curvex models for women were introduced.
During World War II,
the Time Hill factory stopped making watches and instead worked
exclusively for the U.S. military, manufacturing gauges and instruments
for aircraft, ships and submarines. The company also made precision
gauges used for delicate surgical instruments and for radios and other
electronic equipment. During WWII, some watches were still manufactured
at the Precision Factory in Switzerland and imported.
It was during and shortly after WWII that many American watch
companies began to lose market share to Swiss imports. Many American
watch companies began to move manufacturing to Switzerland in the 1940s
and 1950s, while Gruen, who had always manufactured watch movements in
Germany or Switzerland, launched the '21' series of wristwatches (named
for their 21-jewel movements) which were entirely made in the United
The Gruen family sold their interest in the company in 1953, and the
firm was broken up and sold in 1958. The watch manufacturing business
was moved to New York under new ownership, and manufacturing was done
exclusively in Switzerland.