Universal - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV Hong Kong Friday, May 27, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Universal
    Year: Circa 1965
    Reference No: 881101/01
    Case No: 2’437’928
    Model Name: Tri Compax "Eric Clapton"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 281, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Tri-Compax is probably one of the most complicated watches made by the Geneva based watch company. Named after its three complications: triple calendar (day, date and month), chronograph and moon phases, the first generation was launched in 1944 to commemorate the manufacture’s 50th anniversary. The ground breaking design of the dial matches the quality and the complexity of the antimagnetic chronograph movement. Here Universal succeeded in the challenge of featuring multiple indications on the dial whilst maintaining a perfect balance and harmony between the sub dials making the use and the legibility of the watch extremely easy and enjoyable. The model soon became the ultimate utility watch for the businessman as the man of science, the aviator and the technician. A second version was launched in the late 60s with a radically sportier design.

    Like with other iconic Universal Genève models, the Tri-Compax reference 881101 has been nicknamed after the famous person who wore it — none other than celebrated guitarist and watch collector Eric Clapton, dubbed as the “Clapton” Ref. 88110/01 for the white dial variant and “Evil Clapton” for the black dial 881101/02. The present Tri-Compax with a Spanish calendar made in circa 1965 is from the second series of the legendary reference, featuring a bright red chronograph hand and the tachymeter on the Don 90 bezel. With an attractive dial layout featuring stunning contrast of black and white with red and blue accents, the watch holds a unique identity. Well-preserved boasting a strong case, the Clapton with period correct features is a fantastic specimen of vintage chronograph.

  • 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. 881101/01
A rare, fine and attractive stainless steel triple calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases

Circa 1965
36mm diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

HK$120,000 - 200,000 

Sold for HK$176,400

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia 
+852 2318 2031

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV

Hong Kong Auction 27 - 28 May 2022