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Universal Genéve have been producing chronographs for decades. In fact, one can almost say that they were the first to produce a wrist-worn chronograph, back in 1917. Their chronographs from the 1930s and 1940s, with their clean lines and legible dials, attracted the attention of no less than the Dutch royal family and U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
However, it's their chronographs from the 1960s that collectors simply go wild for--and one, in particular, that elicits a Pavlovian response from collectors at the mere mention of it.
This particular chronograph, originally known simply as a Compax, is now referred to as the "Nina Rindt" among collectors. Already a stunning sports watch, this model was catapulted into the collector's periphery after being worn by the famous model Nina Rindt, née Nina Lincoln, who married the legendary Formula One driver Jochen Rindt in 1967. Although Jochen (who has a chronograph of his own) died in a crash during a practice run for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy in 1970, he went on to win the Formula One World Driver's Championship posthumously, which has never happened before or since.
We're certain that this iteration of Compax would have become a classic, much like the Heuer Carrera. The two watches are similar in proportion, with long sharp lugs and a relatively slim profile in comparison to other chronographs of a similar vintage (like the Heuer Autavia Reference 2446C that Nina's husband--and others, like the Argentinian Air Force--favored). Who knows--if Nina Rindt hadn't strapped that Compax on a leather bund and worn it to watch her husband at the track, we might be calling another watch the "Nina."
But she did, and the furor over "her" watch eclipses even Paul Newman's Daytona. This triple-register "Nina Rindt" Chronograph by Universal Genève is the single most in-demand timepiece that has ever come through our shop. These spectacular chronographs are exceptionally rare--one for every 100 Paul Newman Daytonas is probably a reasonable guess.
That's just for the Nina in the traditional black-on-white "panda" dial configuration. The reverse panda dial Compax, similar to the panda dial “Nina Rindt” Compax and affectionately nicknamed the “Evil Nina” by collectors, is just as stunning as its famous sister watch. And, fortunately, it gives fans of Universal Genéve's chronographs a way to strap one of these amazing watches on their wrists at a lower price point.
As with many of these sporty 60s chronographs, the details make the Reference 885105/01 special. Namely, the small lines of tritium on each of the hands (an extremely unusual feature) and the elegant, gently curved lugs, a subtle nod to the Compax's dress watch heritage. Packed in a 36mm case, the watch just oozes classy versatility.
We believe that's an important quality in any truly great watch. The Evil Nina nails that aesthetic perfectly, something few sports watches achieve. Whether on leather, nylon, or a bund like Nina herself wore, the Evil Nina, with its perfect proportions--neither too small, nor too large, neither too sporty or too dressy--fits any style profile, making it the perfect choice.
Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown and pushers). Universal Genève Reference 885105/01. Valjoux Caliber 72 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa mid-1960s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Case does have minimal signs of use and wear in keeping with its age, including some light scratches. Tachymeter bezel shows some light scuffs and flaking throughout but is in otherwise very good condition. Dial is in excellent condition with crisp printing and a fine even patina to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Universal Genève crown. Case back has some minor signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 19mm dark brown leather rally strap and two 19mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle