The 30-second summary.
The best thing about a vintage watch has got to be the visible signs of aging on its dial and case. In the case of this particular watch, the dial has taken on a very honest deterioration - as though it's been put through a sandy beach and extracted a few days later when part of the dial has been "sand washed".
What's so special about the watch?
The Universal Geneve brand needs no introduction. More commonly chased after is the Tri-Compax, it's four-register dial a thing of legend among the vintage collecting scene. While lacking the complexities of its more famous Tri and Bi-Compax brethern, the Compax chronograph presents itself with but one function (compax means function by the way, not the number of sub-dials).
While lacking in complications (less service charge!) the Compax chronograph brings to the table an equally stunning in-house manual wind movement, and with a classy and simple three-register layout. This one in particular has a dial worth mentioning, as the signs of aging have done it much justice.
The case of the watch matches the dial perfectly. exhibiting a sign of use consistent with the rigours that would have caused the dial to take on its perculiar outcome.
What are the functions of the watch?
Time only, with 30- and 12-hour register chronograph.
Let me tell you about the case...
The petite case of this watch has retained its shine despite obvious signs of use. All surfaces of its stainless steel case have surface scratches the give the watch its character and very much matches the demeanour exuded by the dial.
Nice curved lugs slide down from the polished bezels onto your wrist, sitting the watch comfortably. With the holes for the spring bars relatively in the middle the thin vintage strap sits comfortably without showing too much space, something that a lot of modern watches get wrong (I'm talking to you, Grand Seiko).
Pump pushers stick out of the case relatively close to the large crown, the start / stop pusher a little higher than the reset one. They don't show much signs of use, which leaves the chrongraph parts inside safely less manipulated.
And now the dial...
I love an honest dial, especially one that manages to luck out on the draw of time. This particular specimen has come out of the battle with a perculiar sandy appearance, its surface likening a metal plate crudely polished by rough sand on a polluted beach.
Despite this, the print on the dial remains highly legible, crumbling instead towards the edges where the tachymetre scale is barely evident. Dark spots of aging riddle the entire dial, mixing with the light grey and dirty moss green to bring out a veretan feel to the entire visage.
While largely a victim of patina, the print on the sub-dials have survived magnificently, clean and crisp to the loupe, in a matching font to the eroded tachymetre scale along the rims.
Let's not forget the hands...
Its skeletonised blue'd lozenge hands can be said to be another highlight of the watch. While the minute markings are hardly visible and robs the watch of its accuracy, the sharp edges of the hands are more than capable of pointing you in the right direction should the need arise to find out the exact time from a vintage timepiece.
Three lollipop hands sweep the sub-dials for the seconds, 3o- and 12-hour register, each's length coinciding with the debossed edge of the surface.
"Sandie" - 1950s Universal Geneve 281 Compax Chronograph
- Hour, minute and sub-dial for seconds
- Central chronograph seconds with 30- and 12-hour registers
- Patina cream dial with visible wear and spotting
- Chrono start / stop pusher at 2'O, reset pusher at 4'O
- 34mm stainless steel case
- 42mm lug-to-lug
- 18mm lug-width
- Universal 281 manual wind chronograph movement @ 18,000vph
- Acrylic crystal
- Aftermarket green leather strap
Disclosure: The reset button of this chronograph moves the minute register slightly. Doesn't affect the chrono function, but worth nothing.
This watch will be shipped via FedEx International Door-to-Door.
Watch was last serviced Aug 2018.This is a vintage timepiece. Please expect signs of ageing and wear. Watch is checked to be in working condition when shipped. International sales are final; buyers are advised to ask all questions before purchase. Accuracy of watch cannot be guaranteed and there might be unexpected issues due to its age; servicing is recommended for practical everyday use.
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If watches received are not as described, they are entitled to a 14-day defect warranty from the date of receipt of the watch.