UNIVERSAL GENEVE COMPAX
Very rare Universal Geneve Compax “Exotic Blue” from 197071. Ref. 885108. All parts fully original. Light blue bezel, two-tone Compax dial with tritium hands. Steel case is in excellent condition. Valjoux 72 manual chronograph movement. Ref. and serial number are clearly visible on the case back. Original Universal Geneve steel bracelet. No box/documents. The diameter of the case is 36mm.
The watch is on commission sale. Very valuable, price on request.
In 1964, Universal Geneve introduced its new Compax model with a black & white Panda dial. The reference number for this model was ref.885103/02, and collectors call it Nina Rindt or just Nina. Watch was named after the wife of Jochen Rindt, an F1 racing driver active in the 1960s. She was Finnish Nina Rindt, who made the model famous by wearing it.
Its sister model with reversed dial colors was nicknamed “Evil Nina”. These models also received MK1 and MK2 versions, in which the dial and hands underwent minor cosmetic changes. The Nina/Evil Nina MK1 models were in production in 19641965. The MK2 versions were in production in 19661967. The total production volume of the Nina models is estimated to have been around 750 pieces (MK1) and 1000 pieces (MK2) per dial
The Exotic Compax models were not introduced until 1970. There were two versions of the Exotic models as well: Exotic Blue (also known as Exotic Blue Nina) ref. 885108 (this one), and Exotic Silver ref. 885107 with a silver-blue dial. The production volume of the special color models was much lower than that of previous Compax models. The total production volume is estimated to have been around 250-300 pieces/dial.
It is estimated that there are less than 20 Exotic Blue models left in the world, making this piece exceptionally rare.
Universal Watch was founded by the Swiss Ulysse Georges Perret and Numa-Emile Descombes in 1894. The company moved from Le Locle to Geneva in 1919, and Universal Watch changed its name to Universal Genève in the 1960s. Universal became known as a manufacturer of high-quality chronographs. They manufactured many different kinds of chronographs with both gold and steel cases especially in the 1940s and 1950s. The most famous UG models were made in the 1960s, however. That was when UG made their most advanced Compax, Uni-Compax and Tri-Compax models. The watches were not marketed very much, however, and they were expensive compared to similar models from other manufacturers. The watches were not a commercial success, and the production volume was low.
In the 1970s, the oil crisis and Japanese quartz watches caused major problems for the Swiss watch industry, and UG, like many other manufacturers, was left behind in the competition. Universal Genève was sold to an investment firm based in Hong Kong in the 1980s. While Universal Genève is still an active watch brand, collectors appreciate their mid-1960s watches the most by far. Features that UG models made in the 1960s share include strong design, high-quality structure and, most importantly, rarity.