Universal Geneve Duo - Polerouter (1957) and Highness (1964)

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RichardOfYork86
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Universal Geneve Duo - Polerouter (1957) and Highness (1964)

#1 Post by RichardOfYork86 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:11 am

I'd like to share my first two vintage Universal Geneve watches with you if I may. The company has a really interesting history and used to rank among the better known Swiss watchmakers. I personally love their simple, elegant design and build quality. The Tri-Compax (worn by Harry Truman at the Potsdam Conference) is a grail watch for me but for now here is (I hope) the nucleus of my collection:

1957-ish Polerouter

The UG Polerouter is a very early Gerald Genta design (released when he was just 23 years old) and is a classy looking watch in my opinion. The original watches (produced for the Scandinavian Airlines System, SAS) had a bumper 138SS auto movement and carried the name Polarouter. These were used on the new SAS Polar flights between NYC/LA and Europe. The original movement was later replaced by the revolutionary Microtor movement, the first version of which (the 215) my watch has under its hood. They have a power reserve of around 60 hours and I love the simple bombe lugged, index ring and cross hair versions. My version has a gold capped bezel and stainless steel back:

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This tends to be my holiday (vacation) watch for two reasons - a) a watch like this deserves to be globe trotting and b) I don't have to worry about forgetting to wind it up!

1964 'Highness'

This watch is a bit more of an enigma. The only record I can find of the model is in the original advert below - in translation it is touted as being super slim, yet reliable and durable. It has a very minimalist design and is without a second hand, very much a dress watch. The watch has a Cal 42 movement which I believe (judging by the amount of loose movements on eBay) was a UG workhorse movement. The watch is stainless steel and according to the advert they were also available in gold and diamond encrusted no less. I've tried to match the watch with a super slim strap and I think it works well:

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This watch tends to get worn only on formal/special occasions when a nice dress watch is called for.. Or when I want to pretend I work at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce :D
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As an amateur collector the most important lesson I've learnt regarding Universal Geneve is condition. Parts are hard to come by (although loose movements can be found on eBay) and the Microtor movements take a skilled watchmaker to service/repair. Thankfully my watchmaker says both of the above have light wear for their age and touch wood will give plenty of service in the future,

Thanks for your time,

Rich.
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

President Merkin Muffley

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indyago
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Re: Universal Geneve Duo - Polerouter (1957) and Highness (1

#2 Post by indyago » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:18 am

Rich,

That Polerouter is awesome! I am a sucker for quartered dials and with that unique bezel and outer dial ring, it is absolutely stunning!
Rob

"Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." (John Wayne)

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Dave
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Re: Universal Geneve Duo - Polerouter (1957) and Highness (1

#3 Post by Dave » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:47 pm

There are a small number of watches that draw my attention away from Hamilton. The Polerouter is one of them and that's a beautiful example. 8-)
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afire
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Re: Universal Geneve Duo - Polerouter (1957) and Highness (1

#4 Post by afire » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:10 pm

It's a clever move to have the machined "bezel" under the crystal. So many Rolexes with that type of decoration are unattractively dull from polishing.
Real men wear small watches.

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salleh
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Re: Universal Geneve Duo - Polerouter (1957) and Highness (1

#5 Post by salleh » Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:27 pm

...Universal Geneve watches are a particular favorite of mine ....bbut the ones I am drawn to are the odd-ball ones .....this one I looked and looked and looked ....still looking as a matter of fact, and I have yet to find one like it .......I don't remember the movement, and sold it last summer for $1,100......it ran really well ...and I love the design .....especially the hands ......

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this rose gold one is rolled gold plate, and I did at one time find an ad for a watch that had this dial on it ....from 1947 .....I had it serviced and the crystal polished, and was so busy admiring on my wrist that I nearly ran a stop sign ! ....


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and here's the movement .....I can't tell if the movement is 202 or 262...


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What a long strange trip it's been......

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RichardOfYork86
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Re: Universal Geneve Duo - Polerouter (1957) and Highness (1

#6 Post by RichardOfYork86 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:33 am

Both those watches look fantastic Salleh - I agree the hands/dial of the first one are awesome! I think the movement in the second is a 262.

Glad you like the Polerouter, I was very lucky to snap this up for a low BIN. The seller even reduced the price just as I was looking over the listing so I timed it just right :) The three month wait for its service was hard but worth it. I think a Polerouter Date in stainless steel w/ black dial is next on the list but I can wait for the right one.... The budget has already been claimed by one too many Hamiltons :lol:

All the best,

R.
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

President Merkin Muffley

BR55
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Re: Universal Geneve Duo - Polerouter (1957) and Highness (1

#7 Post by BR55 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:31 am

lOVE THAT FIRST ONE ALSO!

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salleh
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Re: Universal Geneve Duo - Polerouter (1957) and Highness (1

#8 Post by salleh » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:04 pm

I thought that first one was the product of the mad watch designer, who stayed late one night .......waited for everyone to go home and then rubbing his hands together and chuckling evily, lurched over to his design bench and ......

designed a simple and supremely elegant dial and case .....what a brilliant way to indicate the hour ....simple pale grey lines ......and then ......

.....he put those fabulous, wild, I have rarely if ever seen anything like them on a vintage watch,... hands ......

.....and if it is the same movement as the rose gold watch .....chances are good that it is from about the same era .....the late 1940s .....possibly early 1950s .....

.....which means that this watch was way ahead of it's time ........I hated to part with it ....but I can't afford a watch that expensive ....but at least I got to wear it for a few months ....it is a pip .....
What a long strange trip it's been......

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