Universal Genève Polerouter

Universal Genève Polerouter

Why We Love It

There's no shortage of vintage watches, and certainly no shortage of wrists on which to don them, but rare is the watch that can check multiple boxes in the heart and head of a collector.  

The Polerouter hasn't always been that watch, though.  Previous style trends — super-sized cases and ornate dials — had relegated the Polerouter to second-tier.  But as those trends faded, a sleek case and simple, clean dial became desirable, allowing the Polerouter to shine.  

This particular example shows off what we love so much about Genta's first design: a twisted-lug stainless case, a silver quadrant dial and even a caliber 138 bumper wind movement.

With its ties to the great Gerald Genta, stunning looks, a horologically-significant movement and an interesting history to boot, the Polerouter makes the search for a great vintage watch easy.

And, having been retailed by 'Hamiltons,' this sweet example still bears the hallmark, making it an interesting standout among other examples. 

The Story

Most of us, even the most diehard collectors, know only one watch designer by name: Gerald Genta.

The man behind the AP Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the IWC Ingenieur, Genta changed the watch industry with his luxury stainless steel sports watches.  But before he could pioneer haute horology, he had cut his teeth on a more approachable timepiece; the Universal Genève Polerouter.

The Polerouter was Genta's first watch hit, penned by the young Swiss designer at the age of 23. The watch was a sales success and propelled Genta’s career forward (allowing us to have greats like the Royal Oak and the Nautilus.) The first Polerouter was released in 1954 to celebrate and promote Scandinavian Airlines’ Royal Viking polar flights between New York City, Los Angeles and Europe. The flights forged a new route over the North Pole, reducing flight times between the two continents. Flying over the North Pole presented a unique set of challenges for a watch, and the Polerouter was designed to be highly resistant to magnetic fields (in addition to the usual shock and water resistance) so as to maintain accuracy during the trip.


SKU: AS02732

Stainless Steel case is approximately 35mm (excluding crown). Universal Genève Reference S-20217-5. Caliber 138SS Bumper Wind Automatic Movement. Mid 1950s.

Overall Condition: The watch is in good condition over all, with light wear marks visible on the steel case throughout. Silver quadrant dial has taken on an even patination, as has the luminous material on the dial and Dauphine hands. Some light stippling is visible across the dial, and there is some minor degradation to the luminous material between 10:00 and 11:00. Screw case back retains original UG engraving and numbers; UG-signed crown.

Includes one 19mm brown leather strap with contrast stitching.

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