Universal Genève Compax - "Nina Rindt"
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Universal Genève Compax - "Nina Rindt"

When it comes to vintage chronographs, "Panda Dials" are a whole different kind of awesome that have been getting lots of attention as of late. The nickname refers to a white dial with black subsidiary registers, and is a simple aesthetic choice which has become extremely sought after in the collector community, with Panda Dial variants often commanding many multiples of their "standard" dial brethren (think "Siffert" Heuer Autavias, and "Paul Newman" Rolex Daytonas). Of course, a timepiece need not have an association with a famous historical figure to have the same great looks, but when they do it makes the story all the sweeter.

This particular watch, a Universal Genève chronograph originally known simply as a Compax, is now referred to as the "Nina Rindt" among collectors. Already a stunning vintage sports watch, this model was catapulted into the collector's periphery after being worn by the famous model Nina Rindt, nee' Nina Lincoln, who was married to the legendary Formula One driver Joachim Rindt in 1967. Although Joachim died in a crash during a practice run for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy in 1970, he went on to win the Formula One World Driver's Championship posthumously, which has never happened before or since.

His wife, Nina, was unquestionably the better looking of the pair, and one look at period photographs of her wearing the watch makes most men go weak in the knees...whether the cause was her honey-colored hair and high cheekbones or the chronograph strapped to her wrist on a wide leather strap is indeterminate...

We're not going to mince words. The triple-register "Nina Rindt" Chronograph by Universal Genève is the single most in-demand timepiece we have ever had pleasure to deal with. These spectacular chronographs are exceptionally rare (one for every 100 Paul Newman Daytonas is probably a reasonable guess) and the few that have come to market in the recent past are well known.

This steel chronograph is sized at 36mm, and wears similarly to early references of the Daytona. And the comparisons to Rolex's iconic Motorsports chronograph don't end there. Like the most popular versions of the Daytona, the Universal Genève has an absolutely lovely Panda Dial with triple subsidiary register layout, featuring registers for 30-minute and 12-hour counters along with sweeping subsidiary seconds. Like the early Daytonas, the power for this gorgeous timepiece comes from the legendary Calibre 72 manually-winding chronograph movement by Valjoux, a movement renowned for its robust and accurate performance. Only a handful of these special chronographs were made to begin with, and even fewer remain in existence today.

This particular example is one of the earlier executions produced, indicated by its applied-logo dial and steel hands. Later executions would go to a printed logo, and a number of different hand styles were used. With a strong steel case, excellent dial, signed crown, and original "Dot Over 90" Tachymètre bezel with just the right amount of wear, this is an honest timepiece with all the hallmarks of a true classic.

It goes without saying that this is a rare opportunity to get your hands on one of the most desirable chronographs from the golden age of sporting timers, at a price roughly equivalent to a "starter" Daytona.

Don't hesitate to contact us for any additional information or to arrange a time to view it in person by emailing us at info@analogshift.com.

Details

Stainless Steel case is approximately 36 mm (excluding crown). Universal Genève Reference 885103/02. Valjoux 72 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement.

Overall condition: Case is in very good condition overall, showing light signs of wear from age and use with no signs of over polishing. Twisted lugs remain sharp and crisp. Dial is in very good original condition with crisp printing and no staining, scratching, or signs of water damage. Very light signs of scuffing (from service) visible under magnification near 1:00. Subsidiary registers and luminescent markers have patinated evenly. All-original hands are in excellent condition showing light signs of aging with matching patina to the luminescent elements. Outer Tachymètre bezel shows light signs of wear consistent with age and use. Signed case back and crown.

Includes one genuine Universal Genève brown leather strap with signed steel buckle.

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