Universal Geneve. A Stainless Steel Chronograph with Tropical Dial
Case No: 109xxxx
Cal. 285 mechanical jeweled movement, tropical orange dial, luminous Arabic numerals, luminous hands, outer minute divisions, outer blue tachometer scale, four engine-turned subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 12 hour and 30 minute registers, and start time indication, circular case, two round chronograph buttons in the band, crown in left band for setting start time dial, screw back, case, dial, and movement signed.
With the success of their first chronograph in 1927, Universal Geneve built up a brand recognition that allowed them to introduce a number of new chronographs and complicated wristwatches in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The company also opened a new production factory in January of 1941 with modern equipment.
The first new chronograph model to be produced from this new factory was the Aero-Compax, introduced and patented in November of 1940 (a few months prior to the official opening of the new factory). The Aero-Compax featured the usual constant seconds, 30 minute, and 12 hour registers, but additional had a dial at 12 o’clock that could be set for memorizing the start time of an event. This way, the wearer would not have to subtract the lapsed hours and minutes from the current time, and could simply refer to the 12 o’clock dial to remember what time the chronograph had started. The crown at 9 o’clock would set the time for this dial, and the hands would no longer move once set since they were not connected in any way to the watch’s time-keeping mechanism. In advertisements, it was suggested that this dial could also be used to remind the wearer of a particular time – for example, the time of an upcoming doctor’s appointment.
The present watch is an excellent example of the Aero-Compax, with an attractive tropical dial that has aged to a vibrant shade of orange. The Aero-Compax’s unique fourth dial for time “memory” sets this model apart not just from other watches produced by Universal Geneve, but by watches produced by other brands. In today’s world, where many are trying to take a step back from technology and at the same time have come to embrace the mechanical watch, a dial that can be set as a reminder is most appealing.
Source: Universal Geneve Watch by Pietro Giuliano Sala