Universal Genève Compax 1950
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Universal Genève Compax 1950

While the Quartz Crisis caused many Swiss watch companies to shutter during the 1970s and 1980s, Universal Genève was one of the few to embrace the new technology. They phased out their automatic movements in favor of the new (less expensive and more accurate) Japanese imports. In the 1980s, when the manufacture was purchased by a Hong Kong-based investment, Universal Genève focused on the Asian market.

Unfortunately, this decision risked the manufacture's reputation in the industry, from which it has yet to recover; but, the brand soldiered on, releasing watches with automatic movements in the 1990s and 2000s, and even a chronograph or two. 

It's in chronographs that Universal Genève has always excelled. In fact, some tout that they lead in the production of a wrist-worn chronograph, back in 1917. Their chronographs from the 1930s and 1940s, with their clean lines and legible dials, attracted the attention of dignitaries and statesmen; members of the Dutch royal family and U.S. President Harry S. Truman were known to wear Universal Genève watches. 

But the 1950s to the 1960s were in many ways the golden years of chronograph production for Universal Genève. The chronographs produced during this period (in particular the "Nina Rindt" Compax and the "Eric Clapton" Tri-Compax) have attracted the attention and admiration of collectors. So in the 1990s, when Universal Genève wanted to commemorate its centennial, a chronograph seemed a natural choice. 

This model, the Compax 1950 (Reference 884.480), took for its base the acclaimed Compax of the 1960s. Its silhouette should be familiar to collectors, with sharp, twisted lugs and bezel reminiscent of the Omega Speedmaster's. The dial, too, is familiar, with the black-on-white "panda" color-way that characterized the "Nina Rindt."  Topped with gold accents, the Compax 1950 feels regal and self-aware, proudly crowned in its sterling bloodline.

And for the movement, Universal Genève relied on the Lemania Calibre 1873, essentially an Omega Caliber .861

In light of the Compax's undiminished popularity in recent years, this reissue--with its unflagging faithfulness to the original of the 1960s--poses a unique value proposition, tirelessly enjoyable in its own right. 

Details

SKU: AS01975

Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown and pushers). Universal Genève Compax Reference 884.480. Lemania Calibre 1873 manually-wound chronograph movement. Circa 1990s.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and signs of moderate wear and use. Black bezel is likewise in very good condition with crisp printing. Dial is likewise in very good condition with crisp printing. Universal Genève screw-down crown. Universal Genève case back has some signs of use and wear but is in otherwise very good condition.

Includes one 19mm dark brown leather strap. Also includes two 19mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle.

Also includes Guarantee Card and Booklets.

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