Surprising Finds in Kerns Fine Jewelry’s Estate Collection

Surprising Finds In Kerns Fine Jewelry’s Estate Collection

By: Elisa Eiseman

You might already know that we have beautiful jewelry and watches in our Estate Jewelry Collection, but did you know that we also have some amazing unique pieces that you won’t find any place else? Beyond the gorgeous jewelry and watches – some by designers like Van Cleef & Arpel, Tiffany & Co., Rolex and Patek Philippe – we have some truly extraordinary pieces that might peak your interested. In this blog, we feature three vintage timepieces, and in our next blog, we will highlight jewelry that we think you will find very tantalizing. But to really get a feel for what we have in our Estate Collection, you should come in and see what treasures you can find.

Audemars Piguet Pocket Watch

This exquisite 18K yellow gold open face pocket watch by Audemars Piguet, featuring an ornately engraved case edge and bezel, Art Deco numerals and a seconds sub-dial, is an example of elegance and technical refinement. Even though the wristwatch, which came into fashion by World War II, has largely replaced the pocket watch, it continues to be a distinguished, if unique, men’s accessory today.

You may ask: “Why is this watch so special?” Well, it was made by Audemars Piguet, a specialist in the manufacture of complications since it was founded in 1875 by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Piguet. Based in Le Brassus in the Vallée de Joux, an awe-inspiring region nestled in the Jura Mountains north of Geneva, it is one of only two major manufacturers still owned by the founding family.
PHOTOS: 18K Yellow Gold Audemars Piguet Pocket Watch, Kerns Fine Jewelry Estate Collection

You may also ask: “How do I wear a pocket watch?” Here are some basic fashion tips that you can follow: use a T-bar chain to fasten the watch to vests, jackets and waistcoats; for pants, use a slide bar, a clip-like apparatus, which you slide over your belt; or use a bolt ring, which you hook to a belt loop or a buttonhole on a vest or waistcoat. Formalwear allows for more complex ways to style the chain and for more ornate pocket watches, while casualwear is better suited for simple, modern chains and watches. (For everything you need to know about wearing a pocket watch, take a look at this great article “How to Wear a Pocket Watch Like It’s 2022.”)  And when you are not wearing your watch, it can be displayed on a mantle, a shelf or your bedside table in a decorative stand and glass cloche or hung on the wall as a piece of art in a specially designed frame (both of which are available for sale at Kerns).

Yellow Gold Seashell Pendant Watch

Another unique timepiece in our Estate Collection is this midcentury 14K yellow gold seashell with a hidden watch. The watch opens compact-style, has a brushed gold dial and manual movement. The shell is a petite 1.25" in length. This combination of fine jewelry and a mechanical watch became popular in the late 18th century, as European watchmakers increasingly aimed their products at women. Some of  
the most desirable pendant watches are known as “form watches,” since they take the shapes of objects—including seashells, musical instruments, fruit, and animals. (From: Collectors Weekly)

PHOTOS: 14K Yellow Gold Seashell Pendant Watch – Open and Closed, Kerns Fine Jewelry Estate Collection

Gruen Diamond and Sapphire Art Deco Watch

How about this gorgeous Gruen Art Deco Watch? This platinum beauty has a 14K white gold snake bracelet and features 78 single cut diamonds, 12 full cut diamonds, and synthetic sapphires.

The Gruen Watch Company was founded in 1894 by Dietrich Grün, a German-born watchmaker who changed the spelling of his name to "Gruen" to make it easier to spell in English. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, it was one of the largest watch manufacturers in the United States at the time. 

Gruen produced their own patented movements in a small factory in Biel, Switzerland with the rest of their manufacturing process done in Cincinnati. Some of their finest movements were made by Jean Aegler, who later became a business partner of Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex and Tudor.

PHOTO: Platinum, White Gold, Diamond and Sapphire Gruen Art  Deco Watch, Kerns Fine Jewelry Estate Collection  

Gruen’s innovation and attention to detail ensured its watches’ popularity among wearers throughout the 20s, 30s, and 40s. 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 moved to New York under new ownership, and manufacturing was done exclusively in Switzerland. Gruen’s last factory in Switzerland was closed in 1977, and the building was bought by their former supplier, Jean Aegler, and is now used in Rolex manufacturing.

The company’s watches have become part of collectors’ dreams. Case in point – the first Bond watch seen on screen, was a 17-jewel, 34mm gold Gruen Precision 510 strapped to Sean Connery’s wrist while he sat at the gaming tables in Dr No (1962). Connery also wore the watch in From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever and may have been the actor’s own. (From: James Bond and His Watches: The Definitive Historical Guide: From Sean Connery's Gruen Precision 510 to Daniel Craig's Omega Seamaster 300, by Simon Garfield, 30 Sep 2021, Esquire Magazine)

Explore Our Estate Collection

Our Estate Collection at Kerns is constantly changing. We get new things in all the time. If you don’t want to miss out on a rare find, or you need that perfect gift for the person that has everything, make an appointment to stop by Kerns to see what you can find. And if you have fine jewelry or watches that you are no longer wearing, consider trading them in on something new. We buy jewelry and watches from many designers and eras, and offer generous trade-ins and, in some cases, consignment services as well. Hope to see you soon!