Universal Geneve Cal.42 18ct c1972
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed
A Beautiful Original and Completely Original Example
Small Size 31mm Case, Excluding the Correct Unsigned Crown
Outstanding 18ct Yellow Gold with Wonderful Straight Lugs
Pristine Universal Geneve Cal.42, 17 Jewel High Grade Hand-Wound Movement
Original Unrestored and Untouched Gold Vertical Grain Dial with Black Batons
High Quality Black Leather Strap & Plain Gold-Plated Buckle
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition
High Quality Hardwood Presentation Box Included
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee Included
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty*
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
It is a big 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, 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 Geneve 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 and therefore will remain just as accurate and reliable. Although originally designed and produced as a gentleman’s dress watch, this watch is equally suitable as a ladies watch today.
The outstanding gold dial is very simple and elegant with applied bold black ‘baton’ hour indices and blued ‘Index’ hands. As can be seen in the images, this dial has a very subtle vertical grain which we believe, adds to the look of the watch beautifully. This original, unrestored and untouched dial is in tip-top condition and is far too nice to restore.
This dial is simply signed ‘Universal Geneve’ at the very top below 12 and ‘Swiss’ at the very bottom below 6.
As mentioned above, this dial is original and unrestored and 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 and pristine Universal Calibre 42, 17 jewel hand-wound movement is surely the star of the show. 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 +10 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 movement is signed ‘Universal Geneve’, ‘Seventeen 17 Jewels’ and ‘Swiss’ and carries the Calibre number 42.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only included if the list price is paid.
The totally original, wonderful 18ct yellow gold case measures 31mm in diameter, excluding the correct unsigned crown. The case is of a two-piece design with a press-fit case-back and carries attractive straight lugs. This is highly unusual and rare to find on a wristwatch as opposed to a pocket watch. Although the watch is an early 1970s watch, the overall impression is of a classic late 1950s design. It is solid, elegant and of obvious very high quality.
The press-fit 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 marks visible to the naked eye.
The inside of the case-back is correctly signed ‘Universal Geneve’ and ‘Swiss’ with the Universal brand and 18ct hallmarks.
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 high quality black leather strap and plain gold-plated buckle, which we feel suits the watch perfectly. However, if a different colour or different style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to provide your choice, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin and can also obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of straps if you wish here.
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 c1972.
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 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.
The high quality hardwood presentation box shown in the photographs is included.
Payment and Delivery
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 who happen to visit London 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 hand 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 unique 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.