UNIVERSAL GENEVE, "JUMBO" COMPAX, REF. 224106, THE ONLY KNOWN 38MM WITH SILVERED DIAL AND PINK INDEXES
ICONEEK price: SOLD
When Iconeek first presented this amazing watch almost three years ago, we receive a lot of compliments by discerning collectors and the watch was even spotted on Hodinkee. We knew that it was in fact a rare watch. We're pleased again to introduce this end of 1940s, superb, unusual and rare oversized antimagnetic stainless steel chronograph: the Compax, Ref. 224106. The "Compax" model was introduced in 1935, the world's first chronograph wristwatch with hour and minute registers, particularly appreciated by army forces. The models were available in different case materials and forms with a variety of dial layouts.
When researching for this watch, we discover new elements. Firstly, early Compax chronograph fitted with caliber 285, are not engraved with movement number on the visible bridges, but on the main plate, under the dial, like the present watch. Second, the dials were produced by Singer for Universal Geneve at the time. Singer dials from the 1950s were stamped underneath with the marker's mark, however, earlier dials from the mid 1940s, like the present watch, were signed Singer underneath with an indelible ink, such as the present watch. Third, UG dials from the 1950s are set with the big serif writings in the signature "Universal Geneve", which is not the case here. The present dial is signed with tiny serif in the "Universal Geneve" signature and moreover the "S" of the Universal has a particular inverted Z shape, a feature rarely found in the 1940s and never seen in the 1950s (see picture of a ref. 224105 with this feature). Trained collectors will also notice the orientation of the tachymeter scale, while in the 1950s, the tachymeter scale is almost always radial to the dial, the present one is "horizontal" oriented. Trained collectors will also notice the way the "Swiss" is printed at the bottom of the dial, a feature of the 1940s. Universal Geneve archives confirm that the steel case was made in 1941, and regarding all these details, one can conclude that the present case was lately used in the mid-end 1940s with such dials and hands. In many companies, such as UG, or Breitling (see Ref. 765 Co-pilot), among others, the stainless steel cases were ordered in a large amount and later assembled. Furthermore, it is actually the only known Spillmman cased, large steel chronograph with fitted with a silvered dial and pink dart indexes. Trained collectors will also recognize some stylistic elements of the later and rare UG Climate proof. Another very interesting fact, Jaeger LeCoultre started to use a very similar layout of dials in their collection circa 1946 (see picture attached).
To conclude, this amazing watch has also a great and original provenance, as it was the personal watch of one Director at Nivarox company, in Switzerland, the famous hairspring's producer. One can guess that he asked to UG a more "civilian version" of the model. When seeing the perfect overall condition of this watch, one can immediately concluded how carefully this watch was handled over years. It is very impressive to notice how the present watch with its striking early design was the precursor of all the future production of chronograph's wristwatches, whatever the brand, in the late 1940s and earl 1950s. Another very interesting feature is the blued steel chronograph hands matching perfectly the outer blue tachymeter scale. The gilt hour and minute hands are also perfectly matching the raised gilt dart indexes and arabic 12. Dial, case and movement are incredibly crisp for a watch manufactured in 1941. The deep engravings on the caseback confirm that the case remains unpolished.
This unusual large Enversteel Compax chronograph immediately impresses with its very crisp overall condition, with unpolished sharp lapidated lugs, the highly attractive and mint silvered dial with subsidiary guilloche dials for constant seconds, 30 minute and 12 hour registers, its inner blue tachometer scale. With its 38 mm., this Spillmann case impress still today. The casemaker C. R. Spillmann SA is indeed renowned for its waterproof cases for chronograph makers like UG, Doxa, Rolex (where its name is abbreviated C.R.S. in the Oyster cases). As a true Universal Genève, this Compax nicely combines its practical abilities with some dressy attributes, such as the rose gold handset and indexes. And as always, the legibility is exemplary, with large sub-registers and blued hands to read the chronograph, powered by the caliber 285. The movement is gilt brass, 14 lignes, with 17 jewels, movement with overcoil blued steel Breguet hairspring, index regulator, monometallic balance with timing screws, column wheel chronograph. The plate (under dial) bears the movement number 163497 and is engraved "U.W" in an oval. Dial, case and movement are signed.
Collectors of rare vintage chronographs have been drawn to the beauty of the crisp 38mm cases, such as the present watch, a true time-capsule example with dial and hands, and movement in spectacular condition. The present watch is further accompanied by an Universal Geneve Extract from the Archives.
A collector !! This oversized wristwatch will bring an immediate and incredible joy on the new owner’s wrist !
Condition: 9/10, simply amazing
Brand: Universal Geneve
Movement no.: 163497
Case no. : 828864
Material: Enversteel stainless steel
Dial: silvered, rose gold feuille hands, raised pink gold dart indexes
Movement: cal. UG 285, gilt finish, self-compensating blued steel Breguet balance spring, monometallic balance with timing screws, index regulator, column wheel chronograph
Bracelet: black leather
Water-resistant: no more (yes, by construction)
Diameter: 38 mm., thickness 13.30 mm.
Accessories: Universal Geneve Extract from the Archives
Ref. ICO.: 99-19-99