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Released in 1954, the Polerouter, despite its elegant appearance, had exploration at the heart of its development.
A mere five decades after the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, air travel was burgeoning, widening the horizons of the modern day. Despite the technological advances in avionics and aeronautical engineering, considerable challenges still loomed, especially to sensitive equipment and instruments.
On November 15 of 1954, a DC-6 aircraft christened the Helge Viking departed Copenhagen for Los Angeles, becoming the first flight to traverse the North Pole. The route, devised by Scandinavian Airlines, sought to shorten the flight time from Europe to the United States. To celebrate this feat, Universal Genève launched the 'Polarouter' (which was later renamed the Polerouter), leaning on the then 23-year-old Gerald Genta to design a watch capable of resisting the magnetic fields over the Pole and remain accurate during the flight. Both the flight and the watch were successes, leading to a fruitful partnership between the growing airline and the Swiss watch manufacture.
We've offered Polerouters before. It's safe to say we never get tired of them, because they have everything we want: an interesting history and a sleek exterior designed by the hand of a master. When we find one that's this clean, we get excited.
This Polerouter, a coveted date model, serves as a subtle foreshadowing to unusual shape of Genta's later designs: the Patek Philippe Nautilus, IWC Ingenieur and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Its satin dial is crisp and clean and its steel case is free of the indicators of wear that so many of these purpose-built timepieces experienced.
With an interesting history and great design, the Polerouter is not just a watch, it's a tangible piece of aviation and horological history that is as at home on the modern wrist as it was on the pilots that helped to make it famous.
Stainless steel case is approximately 35.5mm (excluding crown). Universal Genève Caliber 138SS Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1960s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and minimal signs of wear throughout. Dial is in very good condition with intact lume on the hour plots and hands. Universal Genève crown. Universal Genève case back has slight signs of use and wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm dark brown leather strap with white contrast stitching and two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle