Universal Geneve. An Early Production Stainless Steel Dive Watch
Cal. 215 automatic movement with micro-rotor, 28 jewels, black matte dial, luminous dot and baton numerals with a triangle at 12 o’clock, minute divisions, inner black ring calibrated to 60 units and rotated by the crown at 4 o’clock, circular stainless steel case, winding crown at 2 o’clock, screw back, case, dial, and movement signed.
By the 1950’s, Universal Geneve had established itself as a manufacturer of accurate and well-designed chronographs and complicated wristwatches. Now recognized as an international brand, Univeral Geneve opened a new production plant in 1954 to accommodate after-sales service and produce new models.
In 1953, Univeral introduced a water-resistant Tri-Compax, which led to the development of other water-resistant models. The first model to be produced in the new factory was the Polarouter – produced for the Scandanavian Airlines System (SAS) trip from Europe to North America by crossing over the North Pole. Later renamed “Polerouter”, the watch is also important for its designer – Gerald Genta.
With the success of those early Polerouters for the SAS, a new caliber (Cal. 215) was developed and used for later models, featuring the brand’s first micro-rotor. Over the next few years, the Polerouter would be produced with a number of variations, and in 1961 the Polerouter Sub was introduced. It featured a 42mm case and an inner ring which was rotated through a second crown. Early advertisements for the Polerouter Sub models name the watch as such but the model name was not yet printed on dials.
Less than a year later, in 1962, Universal Geneve began developing electronic movements, which would lead to their foray into quartz watches and the outsourcing of production of their own chronograph movements. The Polerouter models, especially the highly-sought after Polerouter Sub, represent the time before the Universal Geneve brand headed into a more modern direction. Being from the beginning of the Polerouter Sub production, the present watch is a rare opportunity for the collector of fine tool watches.
Source: Universal Geneve Watch by Pietro Giuliano Sala