Universal Genève Microtor Automatic 18ct, 1963
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed
A Beautiful Original and Lightly Used Example
Size Large 34mm, excluding the Original Universal Crown
Immaculate 18ct Yellow Gold UG Swiss, Fully Signed Case
Pristine UG Cal.218–2, 28 Jewel, High Grade Automatic Movement
Distinctive Pleated Dial, Beautifully Restored, with Original ‘Index’ Hands
High Quality Brown Crocodile Strap with Gold Plated Buckle
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee Included
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty*
Universal Genéve Presentation Box Included
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
It is a surprise to most people outside the watch community that Universal Genève was once one of the biggest players in the watch industry. Since its early beginnings in 1894, Universal has been highly respected for producing complete watches with in-house movements and it went on, throughout most of the 20th century to deliver numerous important ‘firsts’ in watchmaking. Along with Audemars Piguet, Girard Perregaux, Patek Philippe and Rolex, Universal Genève is world renown, not only for its innovation, craftsmanship and quality, but for its true Swiss manufacture status. This is impressive in itself, but when one considers the company mainly produced advanced chronograph movements, this makes Universal almost unique.
Some Universal firsts: The company was the first company to produce a wrist-worn chronograph in 1917 when the notion of a timepiece worn on a wrist was still a novelty amongst gentlemen of a certain standing. In 1925, the brand submitted some of the first patents for the self-winding watch, called the Auto Rem. In 1934: The creation of the double push-button Compur chronograph wristwatch, which was the first movement equipped with two column wheels. In 1944: The company presents the Tri-Compax, an hour-counter chronograph, with the triple-date calendar and moon-phase display, which went on to become one of watchmaking’s greatest 20th-century commercial successes.
Universal also became famous in the latter half of the century for its ‘Polerouter’, created by the famous watch designer Gerald Genta. This watch was aimed at and taken up by airline pilots who made flights over the Arctic. Its Cal.215 Microtor movement was another first which has been adopted by many high-end manufacturers such as Patek Philippe.
In 1955, Universal Genève created and patented the Microtor Automatic, a new type of self-winding movement with an oscillating weight, integrated within the movement. This was first used in the Universal Cal.215, which was a forerunner of the watch you see here. Until then, all automatic watches used a large rotor with a central pivot. Later in 1966, Universal created the world’s thinnest self-winding movement at a mere 2.5mm, the Cal.UG66, which was fitted to the Universal ‘Golden Shadow’.
As can be seen in the photographs, these movements are very special and beautifully finished. This example is in sparkling condition having been well maintained and has recently completed a full overhaul and service by our watchmaker.
The distinctive silver-white dial is segmented by pleats, in line with long thin baton hour indices, finishing the dial quite elegantly. This unusual design distinguishes and elevates the status of the watch, in line with its movement. The effect is quite subtle, giving the dial the slight appearance of a circular pleated cushion. The colour changes from white in daylight to a silver-white under artificial light.
The dial carries the applied Universal brand and is signed ‘Universal Geneve’ with ‘Automatic below’ and ‘Swiss Made’ at the very bottom.
This is the original dial which has been restored to the highest standards by our dial restorers who are considered to be the best in the U.K.
The original, Universal Calibre 218 – 2, 28 jewels, Microtor automatic movement is surely the star of the show. The Geneva Stripes and highly polished surfaces are always a good indication of quality. Also the number of jewels, to a degree, and the large escapement wheel with Girocap shock protected cap jewels. As you can see, it is all beautifully finished and is evidence of very high quality.
As can be seen, this highly advanced movement uses a much smaller rotor than usual which is integrated as part of the movement. This saved a great deal of space and made possible a thinner watch case. It also enabled the full case height to be exploited by the movement drivetrain. This is the reason Patek Philippe uses this system in their leading high-end movements, as do most automatic chronographs.
The movement has just been thoroughly overhauled and serviced by our watchmaker. This means fully dismantling the watch and movement, ultrasonic cleaning of all parts, close inspection of the critical surfaces under high magnification and replacement as required only with genuine original parts, then careful reassembly and oiling, using all the correct lubricants to manufacturer’s specification, before final testing and careful calibration. The movement here has a micro regulator allowing for very fine calibration of the movement. This watch is therefore now running perfectly having been calibrated, tested and timed at +10 seconds per day! Please note, this timing is outstanding for any watch of this age and one of the best results we have seen this year. The power reserve is also excellent at 57 hours when fully wound. The watch movement is signed ‘Universal Genève’, ‘Swiss’, and carries the Calibre number 218 – 2.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only included if the list price is paid.
The Watch Case
The high-quality Universal Swiss made, heavy 18ct yellow gold case is of a sturdy design with short swept-back lugs. This is a waterproof design with a sturdy case-back. The case measures 34mm, not including the original signed Universal crown. The yellow-gold colour of the crown is, we believe, original.
The case-back is of full thickness and has never been engraved. Cleaned, carefully inspected and lightly hand-polished by our case maker, it shows every sign it has been lightly used and well cared for and has no scratches, dings or other marks visible to the naked eye. The inside of the case-back is all correctly signed Universal Genève with the Universal brand, along with 18ct hallmarks.
As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap and Buckle
A high-quality brown Crocodile strap is fitted with a gold plated buckle. Please note, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown burgundy and black straps in stock, in plain, padded leather, alligator, crocodile or lizard skin.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating the watch to circa 1963.
Detailed particulars will be included with the receipt, along with our 12 months warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
The watch also comes complete with the Universal Genéve presentation box shown in the photographs.
This is a very impressive and very rare vintage Universal gent’s dress watch, with a very high-quality movement, which is ready to wear and very practical for everyday use. If treated with care, this watch will make an excellent investment or heirloom piece. Universal has always benefitted from a first class reputation for the superb quality of their watch movements, just as in the case of Longines, which have been undervalued in the past. With the enormous rise in the interest of vintage watches in the past five years, this disparity is becoming more evident and beginning to result in a well deserved increasing value of Universal watches.
A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before we then restore them to the highest possible standards. We then offer our watches at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept payment via PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by bank transfer, we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving in transaction charges to you.
If you have any questions please call us on 0207 727 7095 or if calling from overseas, on+44 207 727 7095.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges.
Please take a look at our other vintage gold watches.