Universal Geneve Uni-Compax “Big-Eye” from 1964–65



Very rare Universal Geneve Uni-Compax “Big Eye” chronograph ref. 884100/02. All parts fully original and in excellent condition. Flawless Panda-style “Big Eye” dial with deep blue Compax hands. Universal cal. 125 (Valjoux 23) manual movement. Original Universal Geneve steel bracelet. Ref. and serial number are clearly visible on the case back. No box/documents. The diameter of the case is 37mm.

The watch is on commission sale. Very valuable, price on request.

This rare Universal Uni-Compax model was in production between 1964 and 1965. The watch was ahead of its time both in terms of design and appearance, and similar to the Paul Newman Daytona, it was not a great commercial success. This model was made in two different dial styles: silver-black (SN) and black-silver (NS). The total production volume is estimated to have been around 300–400 pieces/dial. It is estimated that there are only about 30 of these “Big Eye” models left today.

Universal Geneve

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.