Universal Genève Tri-Compax

Universal Genève Tri-Compax

A triple calendar chronograph--where day, date, and month, along with the shorter intervals of time that comprise them, are all displayed on the dial--catalogs daily existence. Eternity is captured with just one depression of a pusher. In an age when humankind contains the sum total of knowledge in devices that fit in our pockets, a triple calendar is imminently timely.  

More than that, if one were to give the gift of a watch to someone--a close friend, family member, or even a long-time business associate--a triple calendar chronograph makes an excellent choice. The gift of a watch, in general, speaks of a lifetime of committed service, which is why so many companies have given watches to their employees upon retirement. But a triple calendar chronograph, with its implication of eternity, takes it one step further. 

The triple calendar chronographs Universal Genève produced from 1944 to the 1960s under the model name "Tri-Compax" are perhaps the best-known and most sought after. While the brand produced other types of wristwatches, it's their chronographs that would make their reputation. The Tri-Compaxes--so called because it contains three complications, chronograph, moon-phase, and calendar--of the 1960s, with their storied connection to celebrities like model Nina Rindt and musician Eric Clapton, are the most desired.

But the earliest iterations of the Tri-Compax, dating from the late 40s, are an exercise in understated elegance and craftsmanship--and variety. All Tri-Compaxes from this period had rectangular pushers, but even within the same reference number there could be a panoply of dial and hand configurations. Those from the 1940s often featured luminescent Arabic numerals and hands, and, if one peered closely at the moon-phase, one could often see the face of the man in the moon (a feature which did not appear in all 1940s Tri-Compaxes, and which Universal Genève phased out in the late 1940s before discontinuing it altogether in the 1950s). 

This expression of Tri-Compax dates from the mid-1940s and bears lovely luminescent syringe hands and thick Arabic numerals. Like other examples of early Tri-Compaxes, the case has a snap-back. It's the case back that really makes this watch unique--or, rather, the inscription on the case back. 

"To Fred B. from Fred K., July '48." 

We've seen many Tri-Compaxes with personal inscriptions on the back, but this is perhaps one of the most intriguing. While we're not sure of the identity of the two Freds, just think of the regard in which Fred B. must have held Fred K. to want to give him a watch like this. Were they colleagues, perhaps, or just good friends who met at school? It's inscriptions like these, with the stories they tell (without really saying anything at all) that set an already-exceptional watch apart from the rest. 


Stainless steel case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown and pushers). Universal Genève Caliber 287 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa mid-1940s.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Case does have minimal signs of use and wear in keeping with its age. Dial is in very good condition with fine even patina to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Universal Genève-signed crown (likely replacement). Universal Genève case back bears inscription "To Fred B. from Fred K., July '48."

Includes one 18mm black embossed leather strap.

SKU: AS01729

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