Universal Geneve Cal.138C Bumper Automatic, 18ct Pink Gold, 1953 Oversize 37.5mm
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed
A Beautiful Original and Lightly Used Example
Immaculate 18ct Pink Gold UG Swiss Fully Signed Case
Huge 37.5mm, Diameter Case, Excluding the Correct Universal Crown
Original, Unrestored Silver Dial with Pink Batons & ‘Dauphine’ Hands
Pristine UG Cal.138 C, 17 Jewel, Bumper Automatic Movement
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition
High Quality Black Alligator Strap & Plain Pink Gold-Plated Buckle
Vintage Universal Geneve Presentation Box Included
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty*
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
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It is a surprise to most people outside the watch community that Universal Geneve 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 Geneve is world renowned, 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 and in 1944: The company presents the Tri-Compax – an hour-counter chronograph with triple-date calendar and moonphase 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 microrotor movement was another first which has been adopted by many high-end manufacturers such as Patek Philippe.
Here we have a wonderful, unrestored Universal Geneve watch in 18ct pink gold. Not only is this watch rare due to being pink gold, but it is beautifully oversize at 37.5mm, excluding the crown and also carries the outstanding bumper Automatic Cal.138C movement.
The original, unrestored and completely untouched silver dial with applied pink gold ‘baton’ hour indices and original ‘dauphine’ hands is very understated and reminds us of the equivalent Patek automatics of the same period. The effect of the light patina and spotting is subtle, but eye-catching and very attractive. The contrast with the pink gold hands, batons and case is particularly pleasing and even the small date window is attractively shaped, in preference to the more usual box window. This dial also has the addition of a subsidiary seconds dial at 6.
Perhaps the most notable feature of this dial is its complete originality. The dial has not been restored or retouched in any way and even more remarkably, is showing only slight signs of aging. As we have tried to show in the images, the slight patina, fading and spotting just adds originality to this dial and makes it something even more outstanding.
The original Universal Calibre 138C, 17 jewels, bumper automatic movement is surely the star of the show. Bumper movements use a rotor which automatically winds the watch by gently bouncing backwards and forwards between two bumper springs, caused by the movement of the wearer’s wrist. These watch movements are very robust, accurate and reliable making this watch perfectly suitable for both evening wear and everyday use.
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 manufacturers 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 +5 seconds per day! 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 36 hours when fully wound.
The movement is signed ‘Universal Geneve’ and ‘Swiss’ and carries the Calibre number 138C.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only included if the list price is paid.
The Watch Case
The heavy, high quality Universal swiss-made 18ct pink gold case measures 37.5mm, excluding the crown, which would have been classed as an oversized watch in this period. The case is sleek in design with sweeping sculpted bombé lugs and a strong screw-down case-back.
The screw-down case-back is of full thickness and has never been engraved. The case has been cleaned, carefully inspected, and lightly hand-polished by our case-maker and shows no scratches, dings or other wear or marks visible to the naked eye. The inside of the case-back is all correctly signed ‘Universal Geneve’ with the Universal brand, along with 18ct hallmarks. Externally, the case-back carries the case serial numbers 1645444 and 100102 1.
As ever, our standard advice applies: vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap and Buckle
The watch is fitted with a new high quality black alligator strap and plain pink gold-plated buckle. However, 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 1953.
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 a vintage Universal Geneve presentation box, as shown in the photographs.
This is a hugely impressive, rare and collectable vintage Universal Geneve gent’s dress watch, with a very high quality movement, 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 had a first class reputation for the quality of their watch movements, and similar to the case of Longines, this has been undervalued in the past. However, the huge rise in the interest of vintage watches in the past five years is making this disparity become more evident. The result is a much-warranted increase in the 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 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.