Universal Genève Polerouter Gold Plate
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Universal Genève Polerouter Gold Plate

There are a few watches that every man should have in his horological arsenal.  Enthusiasts and collectors will gush about specific brands or particular executions.  While we've been known to do the same at times, we also know that above the specifics, there are five main facets that a watch guy should be thinking about when going vintage.  

There's no question that chronographs are in, and we think every collection should have a high-quality vintage offering from a brand like Heuer, Omega or Universal Genève.  A vintage tool watch and a contemporary field watch (think Seiko SXK007 or a time-only Sinn) both deserve homes.  Fourth should be a guilty pleasure watch - a watch a little off the beaten path that you love for better or worse, despite what your friends think.  

The final area of consideration is a dress watch.  While there are no rules on what constitutes a dress watch per say (lot of guys are rocking gold chronos or sport watches as their dress pieces today), we feel that it should be of a precious metal and simple in design, probably a three-hand, no-date model.  While yellow gold is a polarizing thing today, we see it making a big return to the vintage space, with lots of enthusiasts searching out small-cased yellow gold watches from reputable manufactures to polish off their dressier ensembles.

This dress piece, a Universal Genève Polerouter from the late 1950s, sports more than just killer looks. The story of the watch's fabled designer intersects with a unique technological history, making for a timepiece that is as sought after as it is enjoyable to wear.  With its sleek 35mm gold-plated case, which tapers sumptuously to its bombe lugs, and a glossy black 'quadrant' dial with gold script, this Polerouter is an eye-catching example that just begs to be enjoyed.   

History

Most of us, even the most diehard collectors, know only one watch designer by name: Gerald Genta.

The man behind the AP Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the IWC Ingenieur, Genta changed the watch industry with his luxury stainless steel sports watches.  But before he could pioneer haute horology, he had cut his teeth on a more approachable timepiece; the Universal Genève Polerouter.

The Polerouter was Genta's first watch hit, penned by the young Swiss designer at the age of 23. The watch was a sales success and propelled Genta’s career forward (allowing us to have greats like the Royal Oak and the Nautilus.) The first Polerouter was released in 1954 to celebrate and promote Scandinavian Airlines’ Royal Viking polar flights between New York City, Los Angeles and Europe. The flights forged a new route over the North Pole, reducing flight times between the two continents. Flying over the North Pole presented a unique set of challenges for a watch, and the Polerouter was designed to be highly resistant to magnetic fields (in addition to the usual shock and water resistance) so as to maintain accuracy during the trip.

 

Details

Yellow-gold plated case is approximately 35mm (excluding crown). Universal Genève Calibre 215 Automatic Micro-rotor movement. Late 1950s.

Overall Condition: The case is in very strong condition over all, with only light signs of wear from age and use. The gold plating is in very good condition throughout with no signs of pitting or thinning. Black glossy dial is in excellent condition with light even patination. Luminescent hour markers have patinated evenly. Gold dauphine handset is in excellent condition. Light signs of discoloration to inner bezel. Genuine signed crown. Steel screw case back.

Includes one black 18mm horween strap with gold-tone buckle.

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