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

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  • Manufacturer: Universal
    Year: 1955
    Reference No: 22’560
    Movement No: 2602
    Case No: 62
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Valjoux 55, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 44.5mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed. Caseback further engraved “AMI Cronometro per Navigaz. Astronom. Tipo HA-1. N. Categ. 19620 MM. 200026”
    Accessories: The present watch is accompanied by an Extract from the Archives confirming the present watch was manufactured in the 1950s.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the hierarchy of collectible Universal Genève wristwatches, the present split-seconds chronograph occupies the very top position in terms of rarity, desirability, and importance. One of its most fascinating attributes is the unusual 24-hour dial. Made for aviators, the watch always indicates military, 24-hour time that assisted with their navigational calculations. Measuring an impressive 44.5 mm in diameter, its exceptional size was designed to maximize legibility when worn for missions.

    Above all, its stand out feature is the movement that powers it. Featuring the most prestigious type of chronograph complication, a split-seconds, the caliber housed within is the large Valjoux 55 – the same extraordinary caliber that is used in the revered Rolex reference 4113.

    Signed “A. Cairelli”, this signature found at 6 o’clock on the dial is that of one of the finest retailers in the world. They supplied the Italian Air Force, or Aeronautica Militaire Italiana (AMI), with what are now some of the most important military timepieces in the watch collecting field.

    Further enhancing its desirability, the military provenance is indicated on the caseback where it is crisply engraved “AMI CRONOMETRO PER NAVIGA. ASTRONOM. TIPO HA-1. N.CATEG.19620 MM. 200026”.
    This Marina Militare (MM) inscription uniquely distinguishes this piece and makes the find that much more intriguing.

  • 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. 22’560
An extremely rare, oversized and important stainless steel pilot’s split-seconds chronograph wristwatch with silver-colored 24-hour dial signed “A. Cairelli”, made for the Italian Army.

44.5mm diameter
Case, dial and movement signed. Caseback further engraved “AMI Cronometro per Navigaz. Astronom. Tipo HA-1. N. Categ. 19620 MM. 200026”

CHF60,000 - 120,000 

Sold for CHF197,000

Contact Specialist
Livia Russo
+41 22 317 81 86

START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs

Geneva Auction 14 May 2016