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

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Manufacturer: Universal
    Year: 1945
    Reference No: 22’522
    Movement No: 261’357
    Case No: 1’174’643
    Model Name: Film Compax
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 287, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel bracelet, max. length 220mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 37mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by an Extract from the Archives confirming the present watch was manufactured in 1945.

  • Catalogue Essay

    For watch collectors who are also “movie buffs”, if the present Universal Genève “Film Compax” doesn’t surprise you, it will absolutely delight you.

    Universal produced many chronograph models for specific applications. Arguably the most elusive of these is the Film Compax. A model so utterly rare, that until an example was recently discovered, some doubted its existence. Thanks to pictures from Universal’s archives, along with an Extract from the Archives accompanying the present lot, collectors can be certain that this gem absolutely did exist. Research indicates that less than a handful of Film Compax examples have surfaced to date.

    Without a doubt, the dial displays the rarest chronograph scale we are aware of found on any chronograph across all brands: The filmometer. The black outer ring is calibrated for the number of feet of 35mm film used, which was considered the “professional” standard for motion pictures of the era. With the standard exposure rate of 24 frames per second, filming consumed 1.5 feet of film per second. So for example, while shooting a 30-second long scene, it would indicate 45 feet of 35mm film was used. The inner red ring indicates the number of feet of less costly 16mm film, which consumed 0.6 feet of film per second. This would have been the ideal watch to be worn by Hollywood icons such as Walt Disney, Orson Welles, John Huston and their peers of the period…

    The condition of the present lot is superb, making this exceptionally rare and uncommon chronograph a true treasure for discerning collectors.

  • 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.

    View More Works


Ref. 22’522
An extremely rare, attractive and large stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with silvered dial, red and black filmometer scale and bracelet.

37mm diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF12,000 - 24,000 

Sold for CHF68,750

Contact Specialist
Livia Russo
+41 22 317 81 86

START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs

Geneva Auction 14 May 2016