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      Universal Geneva Compact

      History of the UNIVERSAL GENEVE Chronograph Watch

      Universal Genève began on January 18, 1894, when Numa Emilie Descombes and Ulysse Geroges Perret founded a complication watch company in a town at the foot of the Swiss Jura Mountains, where the watch industry was thriving. The first company name was "Descombes & Perret", named after the two founders. In the same year, they obtained a patent for a 24-hour clock. However, three years later, in July 1897, one of the founders, Numa-Emile Descombes, passed away at the young age of 34, and a man named Louis-Edouard Berthoud became the new co-owner.

      Compur and Compax

      In 1898, the company produced a high-quality wristwatch with a chronograph and a 30-minute recorder, and gained a high reputation in Europe and North and South America under the brand name "Universal Watch". In 1919, the company moved its headquarters to Geneva and began researching automatic winding systems for wristwatches. In 1925, the "Auto-Rem" automatic winding system with an oscillating weight equipped with a spring buffer was completed. After Georges Perret died in August 1933, his son Raoul took over the management, and with the support of new investors, the company name was changed to "Universal Watch Co Ltd.Genève" the following year. In the same year, the company released the "Compour", the first chronograph wristwatch with two push buttons, and soon after, the "Compax", the world's first chronograph with an additional 12-hour register, was born.

      In 1937 the brand "Universal Genève" was trademarked and a new logo was introduced. Despite the global economic depression, the models "Compour" and "Compax" were such a success that the Geneva factory could not keep up with the demand. As a result, a new chronograph factory was opened in Pont-de-Martel in 1941 and, to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary, the famous "Tri-Compax" model was launched in 1944. Equipped with a chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour counters, as well as month, date, day and moon phase, this watch became the greatest commercial success of the 20th century.

      Universal Geneva Tricompax

      Caliber development

      In March 1947, Louis-Edouard Berthoud died, and the following year, a new precision automatic movement with a unidirectionally wound oscillating weight was introduced: the Caliber 138. In April 1954, a new factory was opened in Geneva, and the model "Polerouter" was launched, equipped with the Caliber 138. This watch was able to withstand strong magnetic fields, and was used by the entire crew of Scandinavian Airlines on the first flight between Europe and the United States over the North Pole. The following year, in March 1955, Universal developed and patented the Caliber 215, also known as the "Microtor", which incorporated a new miniaturized rotor into an automatic movement. The second generation Polerouter became the thinnest automatic movement at the time, and the development of thinner movements made remarkable progress over the next decade. In April 1966, the model "Golden Shadow" was launched. It was equipped with the caliber 66 and 67 designed by Gerald Genta and was just 2.5mm thick.

      Universal Geneva Pole Router

      Moving forward in time, in 1962, the first electric watch with a torsion oscillator was born through joint development with Movado. Later, in 1968, in collaboration with Bulova, an electric watch called "Tuning Unisonic" was released. In 1975, they released the world's thinnest analog quartz movement (Caliber 74), competing with Japanese quartz watches at the time.

      High quality and tradition

      Ever since the first chronograph wristwatch, Universal has been passionate about combining high quality with classic style. It has many fans among celebrities. Sheikhs and ministers of Arab countries order luxurious custom-made watches. Gold watches with exquisite enamel dials are still very popular. Gerald Genta, one of the most famous watch designers of the 20th century, designed the "Polerouter" in 1954 and the "Golden Shadow" in 1966. These two watches won the New York Diamond Award, the Golden Rose of Baden-Baden, the Grand Prix at the Ville de Genève, the Città di Basilia Award, and first place at the Swiss World Exposition in 1964.

      For a long time, Universal was managed by the founder's family, but in 1986, a man named Leonard Oldman was appointed as the new president. In 1988, the company moved its headquarters to Geneva, and the company logo changed to its current design. After a long recession that hit the Swiss watch industry, Universal was acquired by the Hong Kong-based Stelux Holding Group. The company's headquarters has been relocated several times, but it is now located in Acacia, Geneva, and produces watches that focus on quality and tradition. Some of the collections refer to the "retro design" that was the most attractive in the company's long history. For Universal, the future goal will be to produce a new generation of models while preserving its long traditions.


      1894: Descombes & Perret is founded by Numa Emilie Descombes and Ulysse Geroges Perret.

      1898: The "Universal Watch" brand is registered as a trademark.

      1919 Headquarters moved to Geneva

      In 1925, the automatic winding system "Auto-Rem" was developed and two international patents were obtained for automatic watches.

      1927-1929: Launch of the Cabriolet model and the wristwatch with an eight-day power reserve

      In 1934, the company produced the "Compur" chronograph wristwatch with two pushers. The first movement to use two column wheels.

      1935: Release of the "Compax," a chronograph wristwatch equipped with a 12-hour counter and a 30-minute counter.

      1936: Release of the Uni-Compax with a 45-minute counter

      1937: The company name changes from Universal Watch to Universal Genève. A new logo is introduced. The company also creates the smallest chronograph wristwatch for women.

      1940: The Aero Compax is introduced, featuring a fourth subdial with hours and minutes at the 12 o'clock position (operated by an additional crown at the 9 o'clock position).

      1943: Released a calendar watch with a second hand at the 9 o'clock position, a date at the 3 o'clock position, a day of the week at the 12 o'clock position, and a month at the 6 o'clock position.

      1944: Tri-Compax is launched to commemorate the company's 50th anniversary.

      1948: Launch of automatic movement Caliber 138

      1954-1955: The Polerouter is introduced, used by Scandinavian Airlines for trans-Arctic flights.

      1955: Release of the new automatic movement "Caliber 215" with an integrated oscillating weight.

      1963: Presentation of the electric Railrouter and Polerouter models at the Basel Fair

      1966: Golden Shadow released.

      1968: Release of the Tuning Unisonic, a wristwatch with a tuning fork-type frequency adjustment.

      1975: At the Basel Fair, the world's thinnest analogue quartz movement, the Caliber 74, is launched.

      1994: To celebrate the company's 100th anniversary, the Janus model was released, inspired by the Cabriolet model.

      2005: Launch of two new collections: Okeanos (for men) and Anthea (for women).

      2007: Three new men's steel watches are launched at the Basel Fair

      ・Microtor UG101 (equipped with automatic movement)

      - Unitimer (chronograph with two counters, equipped with caliber UG71.5)

      - Timer chronograph (equipped with caliber UG71.6 with three counters)

      For women, the company has launched a jewelry model steel watch with 46 and 132 brilliant-cut diamonds.

      2008: The Mikrotor Cabriolet is launched, inspired by the first reversible wristwatch, the Cabriolet (introduced in 1928). It is equipped with the Mikrotor UG101 movement.