Universal - The Geneva Watch Auction: XII Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Universal
    Year: 1971
    Reference No: 885'108
    Case No: 2'892'960
    Model Name: Compax
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless Steel J.B. Champion bracelet stamped "51" to the endlinks, max length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Universal deployant clasp stamped "11-78"
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed by maker, clasp further signed by bracelet maker
    Accessories: Accompanied by Universal Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1971 with blue Exotic dial.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The history of Universal Genève mirrors the history of the chronograph wristwatch. Founded in 1894 in Le Locle as Universal Watch, the brand initially began as a workshop assembling watch parts. However, by the early 20th-century the founders patented their first 24-hour timepiece. During World War I, they manufactured pocket watches and wristwatches for both sides of the war effort. In 1936, Universal Genève released their first Aero Compax model and it is from this beginning that collectors today appreciate their timepieces, with names such as Uni-Compax, Tri-Compax, and the famed Polerouter designed by Gerald Genta. Today, Universal’s chronograph wristwatches are highly sought after both for their modern mid-20th century aesthetic, fascinating dial variations, and superb quality.

    The “Exotic” Compax, like the present watch, has become one of the most desirable of the brand’s vintage chronographs. This Compax model was brought to fame when worn by the wife of famed Formula One driver Jochen Rindt - Nina Rindt - and the model was offered with a variety of dial configurations: the standard configurations present white or black background with contrasting subsidiary counters. The present blue/white Exotic version, however, not only is much more rare than the already scarce white and black versions, but it furthermore presents a more complex dial design, defined by the T-shaped matte area in contrast with the glossy rest of the dial. Intriguingly, one of the direct competitors of this model - the Rolex Daytona - also featured at the time a similar selection, with standard black and silver dials, and a more unusual "Exotic" variation (now better known as "Paul Newman").

    This striking Universal Genève Compax remains in remarkably original condition with an unpolished case and a supremely well-preserved dial, virtually untouched by the passage of time. The presence of the made-in-USA JB Champion link bracelet adds a final touch of appeal this this remarkable timepiece.

  • 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. 885'108
A very rare, extremely attractive and very well preserved stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with exotic dial and bracelet

36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed by maker, clasp further signed by bracelet maker

CHF20,000 - 40,000 

Sold for CHF35,280

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XII

Geneva Auction 6 - 7 November 2020