Universal - START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs Geneva Friday, May 13, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Universal
    Year: 1944
    Reference No: 22’432
    Movement No: 219’123
    Case No: 1'038'115
    Model Name: Aero-Compax
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. UG 285 Dorato, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel buckle
    Dimensions: 38mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by an Extract from the Archives confirming the present watch was manufactured in 1944.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The “Compax” was introduced in 1935 as the world’s first chronograph wristwatch with hour and minute registers. Members of the armed forces appreciated this new style for its functionality. The models were available in different case materials and forms, as well as a variety of dial layouts using the names ‘Tri-Compax,’ ‘Uni-Compax,’ and Aero-Compax.’

    The Aero-Compax was first launched in 1941, and this wonderful example from 1944 demonstrates how a steel Compax case would have looked after leaving Universal’s factory. The watch has this amazing feel of having lived the best possible life, as we hardly see this model in such crisp and hardly worn condition. The dial shows a warm ageing with crisp printing, adding to the desirability of the piece.

    The present example displays an interesting “memory” register at the 12 o’clock position of the dial. This feature allows the user to establish a start time by engaging the crown on the left hand side. For pilots and military personnel, this was often used to mark the start time of a mission. Presented in overall excellent condition, it is hard to believe this watch is over 70 years old, making this one of the finest examples of an Aero-Compax one could hope to own.

  • Artist Biography


    Swiss • 1894

    Universal Genève was founded in Le Locle, Switzerland in 1894 and was originally known as "Universal Watch." Since its inception, Universal Genève has produced watches with unusually high quality for their price point. Universal was among the first brands to introduce a chronograph wristwatch.

    Today, the firm's vintage models are highly sought-after and desired for their oversized cases and interesting dial designs. Key models include a variety of "Compax" models such as the "Nina Rindt" or "Evil Nina," the Uni-Compax, the Space-Compax, the Aero-Compax and the Film-Compax.

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Ref. 22’432
A very rare and highly attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with outer blue tachometer scale and memory subsidiary dial.

38mm diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF15,000 - 30,000 

Sold for CHF32,500

Contact Specialist
Livia Russo
+41 22 317 81 86

START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs

Geneva Auction 14 May 2016