Universal Genève Polerouter Sub

Universal Genève Polerouter Sub

Why We Love It

Universal Genève is a pretty special brand.

Ever since the quartz crisis, the Swiss company's storied past began to fade into relative obscurity. But their mysterious story has inspired collectors in recent years and the brand's popularity has surged, resulting in increased awareness in the vintage marketplace.

While best known for the Polerouter and Compax models, they also produced a rare iteration of the Polerouter known as the Polerouter Sub, specifically engineered for use in diving. 

The example we have offered here immediately stands out with its asymmetric case. The matte black dial features stylized Arabic quadrant indices, and an asymmetric date window round out the package. A bi-directional rotating 60-minute dive timing bezel is affixed surrounding the magnified crystal, and a large signed crown sits nestled inside the bulging right side of the case at 3:00. Internally, the watch is powred by the Calibre 69 micro-rotor movement produced in-house by Universal Genève.

We've handled a number of Polerouter Subs in the past - and we're the first to tell you that there are a bunch of common problems that can crop up - from 'Frankensteined' assemblies to outright fakes.

This one is above board in every regard, and supremely cool!

The Story

In 1961, Universal Genève also plunged under the waves with the launch of the Polerouter Sub.

A decade before, Universal Genève released the 'Polarouter' (later renamed the Polerouter), which was designed by 23-year-old Gérald Genta to resist the magnetic fields over the Pole and remain accurate during the Scandinavian Airlines’ flights over the North Pole. Throughout the Polerouter's 15-year run, Universal Genève deviated from Gerald Genta's original design, releasing variants with a panoply of case sizes and configurations. Though most Polerouters are dress watches in design and function, the Sub is a dive watch—but, because it’s Genta, it’s avant-garde in appearance.

Genta’s designs are especially notable for their ofttimes dramatic use of angles and unorthodox shapes. With the Sub, Genta took the asymmetrical date window of the Polerouter dress watches and magnified it, mirroring it in the shape of the Sub’s case. The asymmetrical shape does serve a purpose, however, as it protects the crown from being bumped during a dive.

The Sub came in several variations, with different dials, hands, and bezels. This particular Sub is a Reference 869116/01.


SKU: AS03098

Asymmetrical stainless steel case is approximately 38mm (excluding the crown). Universal Geneve Reference 869116/01. Universal Geneve automatic winding caliber 69 micro-rotor movement. Circa 1966.

Overall Condition: The case is in good condition overall, showing normal signs of wear from age and use. Case back shows light tool marks. Bezel assembly is in near perfect condition. Luminous matte black dial is in good condition throughout with rich patination and minimal degradation to the luminous elements. Luminous handset shows matching patina. Signed crown.

Includes nylon NATO-style strap.

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