Universal Genève Polerouter De Luxe 18ct Pink Gold 1957
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 Pink Gold Universal Swiss Made Fully Signed Case
Original Unrestored Solid Gold Dial With Original Dauphine Hands
Pristine UG Cal.215, 28 Jewel, High-Grade Automatic Movement
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition
New Brandy Crocodile Leather Strap & Gold Plated Buckle
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee Included
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty*
Hardwood Presentation Box Included
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
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It’s often a surprise to people outside the watch community that Universal Genève was once one of the biggest players in the Swiss watch industry. Since its early beginnings in 1894, Universal was always highly respected for being one of a few true Swiss watch ‘Manufacturers’, meaning ‘in-house’, producing complete watches with in-house movements. The company continued throughout the 20th century to deliver numerous important ‘firsts’ in watchmaking. Along with Audemars Piguet, Girard Perregaux, Patek Philippe and Rolex, the company also became world renowned for its innovation, craftsmanship and quality. This is impressive in itself, but when one considers the company produced mainly advanced chronograph movements and other ‘complications’, this makes Universal almost unique.
Some Universal firsts include:- 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 among gentlemen of a certain standing. In 1925 the company 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 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 achievements.
During the 1950s, Universal also became famous for its ‘Polerouter’, which was one of the first great designs created by Gerald Genta the Swiss-born watch genius, at the tender age of 23. Genta later went on to huge success, working with most of the big names in the Swiss watch industry, including Omega, Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe.
The Polerouter family of watches was launched in 1954 to coincide with the first commercial flights from Europe to the US over the North Pole. SAS’s (Scandinavian Airlines Systems) direct flights to New York and Los Angeles were big news and marked huge advance for the aviation industry.
These are fascinating watches from many aspects, characterised by their strikingly modern dial designs and advanced ‘Microtor’ automatic movements. These were designed for dependability in such adverse conditions such as the cockpit of an early jetliner crossing continents, over the North Pole!
Most were made in gold plated steel or stainless steel. However, a few were made in solid gold. Even fewer, such as the top of the range ‘De Luxe’ example seen here, were produced in 18ct pink gold with a matching solid gold dial.
The most obvious and striking feature of this watch is, of course, the dial. In essence a very clean, simple and unfussy design. However, in 18ct pink gold, it makes quite a statement.
It may seem a little odd today for a watch manufacturer to produce a watch with a solid gold dial. However, for a few such as Omega, Longines and Universal, this became quite the norm for their very top of the line watches during the late ’50s and ’60s. Considered in the context of the time, these were frighteningly expensive watches. So this begins to make sense, as the Polerouter Deluxe for example, when new, would have cost more than an average family car! This, was at a time when cars were more costly compared to average wages than today.
The dial carries an outer stepped chapter ring, with sunken hour indices, swept by original Dauphine hands. The dial carries the applied Universal brand and is signed: Universal Geneve, Polerouter De Luxe. Also: Automatic and Microtor below, with Swiss at the bottom of the dial. The dial also carries some very light vertical graining which helps to catch the light beautifully.
This is the original unrestored dial, which we have left alone rather than restore because it is in such good condition. There are some marks in the 3 – 4 area which may have been caused at some point, during disassembly for servicing. However, one should appreciate the images seen here are close-ups, and therefore on the wrist, these are much harder to spot. Also, bear in mind this is an original, unrestored dial, which is over 60 years old.
In 1954, Univeral created and patented the micro-rotor movement, 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 is the movement you see here. This was yet another significant first for Universal, as until the Cal.215, all automatic movements used a large rotor with a central pivot. Universal called this its ‘Microtor Automatic’. The design saves a great deal of space, making possible a thinner watch case. It also enabled the full case height to be utilised by the movement drivetrain, so providing better accuracy and reliability. This is the reason Patek Philippe uses this design in its high-end automatic movement today.
This movement was also specified to be anti-magnetic, to withstand the magnetic forces within the cockpit of an early jetliner flying over the North Pole. Prior to advances in the design of antimagnetic movements, watches often became erratic or inoperative during or following exposure to magnetic fields. This typically happened if a watch came too close to electrical equipment or machinery. Even a 1950s radio or TV could cause problems, so this was a major issue for watch manufacturers, particularly prior to the introduction of non-magnetic hairsprings.
The Cal.215, 28 jewels, micro-rotor automatic movement here is an absolute gem. Geneva Stripes and highly polished surfaces are always a good indication of quality. Also to a degree, the number of jewels and the large escapement wheel with Girocap shock protected cap jewels. As you will see, this is all beautifully finished which is always evidence of high quality.
This movement has just been thoroughly overhauled and serviced by our watchmaker. This means fully dismantling to all its component parts, ultrasonic cleaning, close inspection of the critical surfaces under high magnification and replacement as necessary with only genuine original parts, then careful reassembly and oiling, using all the correct lubricants to manufacturer’s specification, before final testing and calibration. The movement has a micro regulator allowing for very fine calibration of the movement, therefore the watch is running perfectly having been calibrated, tested and timed at +8 seconds per day! This timing is outstanding for any watch of this age and so we have complete confidence in offering this watch with our 12 months’ guarantee.* 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 215.
*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 34mm, excluding the original signed Universal winding crown. The case is sleek in design with sweeping sculpted bombe 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. The case 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 Genève with the Universal brand, along with 18ct hallmarks. Externally, the case-back carries the case serial number 2012402.
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 brandy Crocodile strap and 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 1957.
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 hardwood presentation box, as shown in the photographs.
This is a hugely impressive, rare and collectable vintage Universal Genève 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.