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It’s tough finding horologic gems out there in the world. It’s even harder to let them go, and if you know us, you know how hard it can be to pry rare timepieces out of our hands… This Universal Genève Polerouter Sub is no exception.
The man behind the AP Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the IWC Ingenieur, Gerald 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.
Simple Polerouters are not especially rare watches, but Polerouter subs are very difficult to find, especially in unmolested, genuine condition. These submariner models, spin offs of Genta’s original design, were part of UG’s attempt to contend with other manufactures of the era by producing robust watches capable of going beneath the waves (instead of into the clouds). Note the trident that stands in for the ‘u’ in ‘Sub.’
This particular example is in very good condition, sporting the original bezel and crown, as well as the original black glossy dial with its telltale, stylized markers at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. Of particular note is the included Universal Genève multi-link steel stretch bracelet with signed clasp. While it’s unclear whether this bracelet would have come on this piece originally, we couldn’t bear the thought of separating these two pieces of excellent and rare UG history.
Stainless Steel Case is approximately 36.5mm (excluding crown). Universal Genève Calibre 69 Micro-Rotor movement. Mid 1960s.
Overall Condition: The watch is in very good condition over all, the stainless steel case showing no obvious marks or dings. There is some very light pitting on the underside of the top left lug. Original glossy black dial is in similarly good condition and has tropicalized with age. Some very light degradation to the 5 o'clock marker is visible. Original bezel shows some wear and had faded slightly. Replacement non-magnifying crystal. Original UG-signed screw-down crown. Original Brevet case back with UG seal inside.
Includes Universal Genève steel stretch bracelet with signed clasp and 20mm end links.