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We're not going to mince words. The "Nina Rindt" Chronograph by Universal Geneve 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. Having received dozens of inquiries and requests to locate in the past year, we knew that interest in this particular example would be at an all time high. For that reason, we have decided to offer it in the fairest way we could think of - by putting it on offer publicly for several weeks, and letting everyone who might be interested take a shot at getting it.
To that end, we are putting this exceptional piece up on offer through October 31st. Between now and then we will be fielding inquiries and taking offers, and can arrange to show it privately in New York to any interested parties. At the end of the day on Halloween, one lucky bidder will be getting a real treat!
In the interest of full disclosure: YES, this is the very same watch featured earlier this year on Hodinkee, HERE. It has changed hands privately since that article was published and we are now incredibly fortunate to have it on offer directly. In all likelihood it won't be coming up again anytime soon.
Now, on to the watch!
When it comes to vintage chronographs, "Panda Dials" are a whole different kind of awesome that have been getting lots of attention on the collector market 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, originally known simply by its Reference number (885103/03), is now only referred to as the "Nina Rindt" amongst collectors. Already a stunning vintage sports watch, this model was catapulted into collector fame by 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 he died in a crash during a practice run for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy in 1970, Joachim Rindt 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...
Dating from the 1960s, this steel chronograph is sized between 36-37mm, far more wearable than you might think, 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 Geneve features an absolutely lovely Panda Dial with triple subsidiary register layout, featuring registers for 30-minute and 12-hour counters along with sweeping subsidiary seconds. This particular example shows an incredible tropical fading, in which the once black sub dials and markers have lightened to a rich brown. The white dial is surrounded by a black outer tachometer ring, nearly identical to those found on the Omega Speedmaster, but smaller in size.
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, and none that we've seen have the tremendous tropical patina exhibited by this truly beautiful example.
As mentioned above, this is a truly rare opportunity to get your hands on one of the most desirable chronographs from the golden age of sporting timers. Don't hesitate to contact us for any additional information or to arrange a time to view it in person by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stainless Steel case is approximately 36 mm (excluding crown). Universal Geneve Reference 885103/03. Valjoux 72 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement.
Overall condition: Case is in excellent condition overall, showing no signs of over polishing. Twisted lugs remain sharp and crisp. Dial is in fantastic original condition with no noteworthy blemishes, staining, or scratching. Subsidiary registers and luminescent markers have patinated with a rich tropical fade. All original hands are in similarly excellent condition. Outer bezel shows no noteworthy blemishes. Original case back and signed crown.
Includes one black leather strap and two Nylon Straps by Crown & Buckle.