Great Looks and Innovative Movements

Three Vintage Watches from an Abandoned Brand That Deserves a Comeback

August 11, 2017 Watches By Photo by Analog/Shift

Of all the watch brands to fall off the face of the earth, Universal Géneve may be the most missed — or at least it is for hardcore collectors, who know that the brand was long an innovator in mechanical watchmaking with a penchant for drafting beautiful, clean designs. See these watches and you’ll realize how much of a shame it is that the brand is currently dormant, not having produced a watch in years, and owned by a company that seems to have no immediate plans to revive the storied name. Still, its vintage pieces are wholly worthy of collecting, even at their relatively high prices, and make a case for why the brand should make a return to the industry.

Universal Genéve Uni-Compax

What we like: In the early 20th century, Universal Genéve became a master in chronograph wristwatches with its Compax series. The Uni-Compax is the simplest of the lot, with just two subdials and a hand-winding movement — but there’s a lot of elegance in its simple execution. A solid gold case doesn’t hurt, either.
From the seller: Restored dial and original hand-set. The raised gold applied markers are original to the dial. The solid gold U.G. case is stunning — essentially close to pristine. The manual winding chronograph U.G. movement was recently cleaned and is accurate with chronograph functions operating perfectly.

Universal Genéve Polerouter Sub

What we like: The “Polerouter” series of watches was the brand’s first foray into super slim, micro-rotor automatic movements (and it was designed by Gérald Genta, no less), and though most Polerouters were dress watches, the brand did see fit to put the slim movement into a dive watch. The Polerouter Sub, then, is super lithe for a dive watch and features a sharp, asymmetrical design from Genta, a classic black dial with red accents and perfectly aged lume.
From the seller: Case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and minimal signs of use and wear in keeping with its age. Rotating bezel is in very good condition with some light wear throughout. Dial is in excellent condition with puffy luminescent hour plots which have gained an even patina over time.

Universal Genéve Tri-Compax

What we like: Universal Genéve launched the Tri-Compax in 1944 as its new flagship watch to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary. It’s an incredibly complex watch, combining a full calendar with a moonphase and a chronograph function. No wonder it’s become so sought after. Later versions of the model — like this one here — are particularly lucrative for their larger, sportier cases. The “reverse panda” dial makes this model particularly grail-worthy, too.
From the seller: Case is in fantastic condition throughout, featuring sharp lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and light signs of age including patina to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands.

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