Universal Geneve

1960s Universal Genève Tri-Compax (Ref. 881101/01) "Eric Clapton"

Universal Genève created its first chronograph in 1917 and roughly 18 years later, they released their first “Compax” model. Many variations of the “Compax” would follow and vintage Universal Genève’s sports watches have gone on to cement their place in the market as particularly desirable watches thanks to their incredible variety, unique designs, and the larger sports watch case sizing they featured.

Although Universal Geneve created a variety of highly notable and collectible watches, they are best known for their incredibly innovative chronographs, and of the many chronographs the marque has produced, the Tri-Compax remains their most recognizable range of watches. Created to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary, the Tri-Compax was introduced in 1944 as the new flagship for Universal Geneve. Featuring not only a fully functional chronograph function, the Tri-Compax also impressively boasted both triple calendar and moon phase complications -- an incredible feat considering the Tri-Compax’s relatively compact design. Most remarkably, the Tri-Compax's design presents its many features in a tasteful, legible, and downright beautiful dial layout which has made the model deeply loved by collectors today.

The 881101/01 houses a Martel caliber 281 movement, a complicated and highly celebrated movement within the watch community, along with an external tachymeter bezel -- which was the first of its kind within the Tri-Compax line. While earlier iterations of the Tri-Compax were produced in gold or gold-plated versions, this reference was rendered in steel, making it the perfect blend of horological sophistication and tool watch toughness. While these watches would undoubtedly be considered legends of horology on the strength of their design alone, they’re also closely associated with guitar hero (and prolific watch collector) Eric Clapton, whose love of this specific reference has made this Tri-Compax even more notable and desirable.


Stock # UGTCEC881101-2
Brand Universal Geneve
Style Tri-Compax "Eric Clapton"
Model 881101/01
Serial 23XXXXX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial White "Panda"
Millimeters 36
2pc Handmade Leather Strap


The classic and beautifully executed symmetrical twisted lug case is in excellent condition, showing light signs of honest use and minimal signs of previous polishing. The original "dot over 90" bezel is in exceptional condition, remaining deep black with gentle signs of previous use. The case retains its original UG crystal which exhibits some normal wear and crazing from age. The pump pushers and Universal Geneve signed crown are original to the watch. The case retains its original factory engravings and serial, though they are light which is very common for UG references in this era. The watch comes supplied on a 2pc handmade leather strap.


The original matte white Mk. I "panda" dial is in very clean and remarkably well-preserved condition, showing only gentle signs of expected age and no real damage. The black sub-dials are also in superb condition, exhibiting no damage or signs of age. The tritium lume plots have taken on a charming creamy patina, under U.V. light inspection the 1 o'clock lume plot is partially intact and the rest of the lume plots are fully intact. All of the hands, including the blued center chronograph hand, remain original to the watch. Some of the white sub-register hands display some gentle age and are in overall great condition. The original tritium in the polished hour and minute hands has aged a shade darker than the dial but coordinates perfectly and exhibit no degradation when inspected under U.V. light.


None. The watch is keeping time perfectly and functions correctly, backed by a 1-year warranty on accurate timekeeping.