Universal Geneve Cal.263 18ct 1945
It is a surprise to most people outside the watch community that Universal Geneve was once one of the biggest players in the watch industry. Since its early beginnings in 1894, Universal has been highly respected for producing complete watches with in-house movements, and the company continued throughout most of the 20th century to deliver numerous important ‘firsts’ in watchmaking. Along with Audemars Piguet, Girard Perregaux, Patek Philippe and Rolex, Universal Geneve is world-renowned, not only for its innovation, craftsmanship and quality, but for its true Swiss manufacture status. This is impressive in itself, but when one considers the company mainly produced advanced chronograph movements, this makes Universal almost unique.
Some Universal firsts: The company was the first company to produce a wrist-worn chronograph in 1917 when the notion of a timepiece worn on a wrist was still a novelty amongst gentlemen of a certain standing. In 1925, the brand submitted some of the first patents for the self-winding watch, called the Auto Rem. In 1934: The creation of the double push-button Compur chronograph wristwatch, which was the first movement equipped with two column wheels and in 1944, the company presented the Tri-Compax, an hour-counter chronograph, with the triple-date calendar and moon-phase display, which went on to become one of watchmakings greatest 20th-century commercial successes.
Here we have a wonderful, fully restored Universal Geneve dress watch in 18ct yellow gold. This watch is in beautiful condition and quite rare, due to the large size which is 35mm diameter, excluding the correct Universal Geneve unsigned crown. This watch also carries the high grade Calibre 263 movement in absolutely wonderful condition.
This watch is very clean, simple and elegant. The ivory cream dial with the mixture of stud and pencil hour indices with the standard Arabic ‘12’ numeral are all swept perfectly by the original, ‘index’ hands. These are all very understated and remind us of the equivalent Patek automatics of the same period. The contrast of the yellow gold hands and case with the mixed hour indices is particularly pleasing. The seconds are sub-divided into fifths giving the dial a slightly technical appearance.
This dial is simple and beautiful with the Universal Geneve brand and signature just below the 12. The dial also states ‘Swiss Made’ at the very bottom.
This is the original dial which has been restored by one of the best dial restorers in the UK.
The original and pristine Universal Calibre 263, 17 jewel, automatic movement is surely the star of the show. These watch movements are very robust, accurate and reliable. making this watch perfectly suitable for both evening wear and everyday use.
The movement has just been thoroughly overhauled and serviced by our watchmaker. This means fully dismantling the watch and movement, ultrasonic cleaning of all parts, close inspection of the critical surfaces under high magnification and replacement as required only with genuine original parts, then careful reassembly and oiling, using all the correct lubricants to manufacturers specification, before final testing and careful calibration. The movement here has a micro regulator allowing for very fine calibration of the movement. This watch is therefore now running perfectly, having been calibrated, tested and timed at +6 seconds per day! This timing is outstanding for any watch of this age and one of the best results we have seen this year. The power reserve is also excellent at 42 hours when fully wound.
The movement is signed ‘Universal Geneve’ and ‘Swiss’ and carries the Calibre number 263, along with the serial number N208396.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only included if the list price is paid.
The Watch Case
The high-quality Universal Swiss made, heavy 18ct yellow gold case is of a sturdy design with wonderful bullhorn lugs. This is a waterproof design with a sturdy case-back. The case measures 35mm, not including the original unsigned Universal crown.
The case-back is of full thickness and has never been engraved. Cleaned, carefully inspected and lightly hand-polished by our case-maker, it shows every sign it has been lightly used and well cared for and has no scratches, dings or other marks visible to the naked eye. The inside of the case-back is all correctly signed ‘Universal Geneve’ and ‘Swiss’ with the Universal brand and 18ct hallmarks.
As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap and Buckle
A high-quality black Alligator strap is fitted with a plain gold-plated buckle. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown burgundy and black straps in stock, in plain, padded leather, alligator, crocodile or lizard skin.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating the watch to 1945.
Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.
The watch also comes complete with a high-quality hardwood presentation box shown in the photographs.
This is a very impressive and very rare vintage Universal gentleman’s dress watch with a very high-quality movement, which is ready to wear and very practical for everyday use. If treated with care, this watch will make an excellent investment or heirloom piece. Universal has always benefitted from a first class reputation for the superb quality of their watch movements, just as in the case of Longines, which have been undervalued in the past. With the enormous rise in the interest of vintage watches in the past five years, this disparity is becoming more evident and beginning to result in a well deserved increasing value of Universal watches.
A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before we then restore them to the highest possible standards. We then offer our watches at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept payment via PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by bank transfer, we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving in transaction charges to you. Paying by bank transfer for a 3% saving will not affect your 12 months warranty.
Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and unfortunately out of our control.
We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges, however attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.
For those that happen to visit the UK on occasion we are of course more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and your watch directly to you there.
If you have any questions please call us on 0207 727 7095 or if calling from overseas, on+44 207 727 7095.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges.
Please take a look at our other vintage gold watches.
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- Store Name: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
- Vendor: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
96 Kensington High Street
United Kingdom (UK)
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