Universal Geneve Cal.230 18ct c1942
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed
A Beautiful Original and Lightly Used Example
Outstanding 18ct Yellow Gold Rectangular Case
Good Sized 22mm x 30mm, Excluding the Unsigned Crown
Previously Restored Black Dial, Applied Batons & ‘Stick’ Hands
High Grade Cal.230, Hand-Wound Movement in Tip-Top Condition
High Quality Light Brown Leather Strap & Plain Gold Plated Buckle
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Hardwood Presentation Box Included
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
It is a big 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, which is most unusual because many bought in parts and complete movements. Throughout most of the 20th century, Universal Genève delivered many important ‘firsts’ in watchmaking. Along with neighbours Audemars Piguet, Girard Perregaux, Patek Philippe and Rolex, Universal 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 Genève firsts include: The first 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 it 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 presented the Tri-Compax. an hour-counter chronograph, with 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’. Initially created for Scandinavian Air Services, this watch was created by the famous watch designer Gerald Genta. It was worn by airline pilots making flights to California via the Arctic Circle for the first time. The Polerouter Cal.215 micro-rotor movement was another first, taking up much less space than an external rotor. This design has been adopted by many high-end manufacturers such as Patek Philippe and Lange & Söhne.
Universal is sometimes referred to as the poor man’s Patek Philippe, such is the quality of its movements. Although this is an entry-level piece, it was still produced to the same exacting standards as its higher-end pieces, therefore it will remain just as accurate and reliable. Although originally designed and produced as a gent’s dress watch, this watch will be equally suitable as a ladies watch today.
The wonderful black dial is completely original, unrestored and untouched yet remains absolutely outstanding. This dial carries gold ‘baton’ hour indices, swept perfectly by ‘stick’ hands, all perfectly completed by a subsidiary seconds dial at 6.
The dial is completely original and untouched. The indices and signing of the dial are fading slightly but does not effect the way the watch is read. The dial is remarkable for its age and far too good to restore. We have therefore left it completely alone to retain its character and originality.
As this dial is in original, unrestored condition, this has been left untouched by our restoration team due to its superb condition. Usually, we restore the dials of the watches we sell, however we decided in this case to leave it alone, due to its unusually good condition and to retain its originality and charm for those who prefer this. It also helps to contrast with almost all of the other watch dials you see on our website, which have been restored. The hands, likewise, have also been left in their original untouched condition.
Please note, studio lights, professional-grade digital cameras, and macro lenses can be very unkind to an unrestored vintage watch dial. Also the dial here measures less than 1.25 inches across, so the image you’re seeing may be between 5 – 25 times larger than the watch itself. Therefore please keep in mind you are seeing many tiny flaws which cannot be seen, or will be very hard to see with the naked eye, even under close examination. Suffice to say, on the wrist, in natural light, this dial looks much better and carries a great deal more charm than the photographs portray.
The original Universal Genève Cal.230, 15 Jewel movement is in excellent condition and has 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 only the correct lubricants to manufacturer’s specification, before final testing and careful calibration. This watch is therefore now running perfectly having been calibrated, tested and timed at +9 seconds per day! The power reserve is also excellent at 43 hours when fully wound.
The watch movement is correctly signed ‘Universal Genève’, ‘Swiss Made’, and carries the Calibre number 230.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.
The Watch Case
The original very high-quality 18ct solid gold watch case measures 22mm from left to right, excluding the Universal unsigned crown and 30mm from top to bottom. This may seem a little small until one considers the diagonal is 38mm. This was a typical sized gent’s watch in the 1940s, however, this is not a large watch by modern standards and so this watch is equally suited as a ladies watch today.
The watch case has been exceptionally well cared for and so the case has simply required a clean and gentle polish to bring it back to its current ‘as new’ condition. The outside of the case-back has a high polish and has its full thickness, meaning it has never carried an inscription. There are no scratches, dings or other marks visible to the naked eye. The case-back is of full thickness and has never been engraved.
The watch case is correctly signed ‘Universal Geneve’ and carries London UK 18ct hallmarks. The exterior of the case also carries the case reference number 889928.
The Strap and Buckle
The watch is fitted with is a high quality light brown leather strap with a plain gold plated buckle. We feel this suits the watch well and matches the very dark blue hands and batons. 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.
Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to c1942.
Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will 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 high quality hardwood presentation box shown in the photographs is included.
If you would like to pay by bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Paying by bank transfer for a 3% saving will not affect your 12 months warranty. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and unfortunately out of our control.
We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges, however attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.
For those that happen to visit the UK on occasion we are of course more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and your watch directly to you there.
As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no quibble sale or return policy.
A wonderful example of a fascinating timepiece which will undoubtedly make an excellent financial investment, as well as be something wonderful to wear, treasure and enjoy! It could make a practical watch for regular or occasional use, as you wish and if it continues to be well cared for and regularly serviced, it will provide dependable service for many decades to come.
This watch carries a great deal more style, individuality and panache than a new watch and to buy the same quality today would be difficult, at 4 or 5 times the price.
A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these 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.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or a small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions please call us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.