Universal Genève Polerouter

Universal Genève Polerouter

Why We Love It

The introduction of the micro-rotor movement was a feat of engineering that gets less than its fair share of attention today.  

Wrist watches have really only been around for a little more than 100 years.  Sure, queens and dignitaries have worn them for centuries, but it wasn’t until WWI that wrist watches were produced on a mass scale.  Self-winding, or automatic movements — movements with an oscillating weight which winds the mainspring via the movement of the wearers wrist — only came onto the scene in a meaningful way roughly 70 years ago.  Since their incorporation into the cannon of watchmaking, only a handful of companies, including Patek Philippe and Piaget, have employed them. 

Why?  Well, the answer is deceivingly simple: they’re hard to get right. 

That’s why Universal Genève’s development and production of a micro-rotor movement in the mid 1950s is an impressive and noteworthy achievement.  It’s further impressive that those early movement are still reliably ticking away today. 

By employing a micro-rotor design, which embedded the oscillating weight in the bridge of the movement rather than atop it, Universal Genève was able to build a watch thinner than its contemporaries.  That watch was the Polerouter.   

This particular Polerouter sports a stunning gloss black crosshair dial, Dauphine hands and a very strong case, rivaling some of the nicest Polerouters we’ve seen. 

The Story 

Released in 1954, the Polerouter, despite its elegant appearance, had exploration at the heart of its development.

A mere five decades after the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, air travel was burgeoning, widening the horizons of the modern day.  Despite the technological advances in avionics and aeronautical engineering, considerable challenges still loomed, especially to sensitive equipment and instruments.

On November 15 of 1954, a DC-6 aircraft christened the Helge Viking departed Copenhagen for Los Angeles, becoming the first flight to traverse the North Pole.  The route, devised by Scandinavian Airlines, sought to shorten the flight time from Europe to the United States.  To celebrate this feat, Universal Genève launched the 'Polarouter' (which was later renamed the Polerouter) leaning on the then 23-year-old Gerald Genta to design a watch capable of resisting the magnetic fields over the Pole and remain accurate during the flight.  Both the flight and the watch were successes, leading to a fruitful partnership between the growing airline and the Swiss watch manufacture. 

We've offered Polerouters before. It's safe to say we never get tired of them, because they have everything we want: an interesting history and a sleek exterior designed by the hand of a master. 


SKU: AS02705

Stainless Steel case is approximately 35mm (excluding crown). Universal Genève Automatic Micro-rotor Caliber 218-9 Movement. Circa 1960s.

Overall Condition: The watch is in excellent condition over all, with a very strong twisted lug case showing only faint signs of wear. The gloss black crosshair dial is in superb condition, with all lume plots in tact and nicely aged; luminous Dauphine hands match nicely and are in similarly excellent condition. Screw case back bears UG/Polerouter engraving. UG-signed crown.

Includes one 19mm lined tan leather strap with contrast stitching.

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