In the 1930s through 1960s, nothing said elegance more than a gold dress watch. But by the mid-1970s, gold sports watches--like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak--began to draw favor, replacing the smaller, simpler dress pieces as the designation of taste, wealth and savoir faire. As a result, the beautiful and elegant slim dress watches of the 1950s and 1960s often get passed over in today's vintage market.
But the tides are starting to turn, and collectors are beginning to appreciate these exquisite pieces once more.
Universal Genève produced some of the most interesting timepieces of the post-war Golden Age with build quality that rivaled the better known big Swiss manufactures. From humble beginnings, Universal Genève grew in the post-war years to become a small but leading quality manufacture of chronographs and calendar complications, peaking with small runs of high-quality sporting chronographs in the 1960s and 70s. It’s these watches—most notably the Tri-Compax—for which Universal Genève has gained a reverential following in recent years.
The late 1940s and early 50s were when Universal Genève tested itself and its limits. It was in this period that the brand produced more self-branded pieces and experimented with various dial, case and movement designs. The result was an era of superlatively-constructed watches that offer as much insight into the brand's technical ability to manufacture as it does a desire to craft beautiful timepieces.
This particular UG hails from the early 1950s and is an excellent example of the capabilities that the brand had been so focused on honing. From the elegant 36mm case with gently sloping straight lugs to the two-tone dial with applied Arabic markers and hour indices, this piece simple vibrates with superlative craftsmanship and design. In its current condition, you don't need to be a seasoned collector to know that this one is something very, very special.
18k rose gold case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Manually-wound Universal Genève movement. Circa 1950s.
18k gold case is in good condition, having been gently polished. Dial is in excellent condition with no signs of discoloration or hand drag. Unsigned crown. Signed case back has slight signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 19mm dark brown suede strap.