A fine, very large and extremely attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with faceted lugs

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  • Manufacturer: Universal
    Year: 1942
    Reference No: 22'531
    Case No: 878'116
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 292, jeweled
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 46mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Universal Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1942 in this configuration.

  • Catalogue Essay

    While current taste is oriented toward timepieces measuring at least 38mm, the situation was very different for most of the past century. Most notably, during the first half of the 1900s the standard size for men hovered between 31 and 35mm. A diameter of 36 or 37mm was already considered borderline excessive, and used only in very rare instances, the exception to the rule being professional watches - most often those of military origins, pilot’s or driver’s timepieces - which easily reached 38 or 40mm in diameter.

    The present wristwatch, however, features a 46mm diameter, a size which at the time must have been considered simply outlandish. In virtue of this size, the utilization of the piece was certainly professional. The luminous radium numerals are another characteristic typical of professional watches, further supporting such an elective destination of the piece.

    Compounding to its remarkable size, the construction of the lugs - straight with a triple facet - is extremely unusual as well. This is in strong contrast with what was normally seen in the early 1940s. In fact, such a style is decades ahead of its time, much closer to the 1960s and 1970s design, characterized indeed by geometric, angular case shapes.

    Last, but most definitely not least, such an unusual case construction can truly be appreciated at its fullest thanks to the astoundingly well preserved condition of the watch. Most probably it is unpolished, showcasing sharp edges and absolutely intact proportions. The collector of fine vintage timepieces will be thrilled to know that the dial too is in a similar state, absolutely devoid of any kind of cosmetic enhancement or restoration and preserved in excellent condition.

  • Maker Bio

    Universal

    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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185

Universal

Ref. 22'531
A fine, very large and extremely attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with faceted lugs

1942
46mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF20,000 - 40,000 
€17,600-35,200
$20,500-41,000

sold for CHF32,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 89
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT

Geneva Auction 10-11 November 2018