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.
Universal Geneve "Gay Freres" Stretch Bracelet
The gorgeous twisted lug case has been lightly polished and remains in impressive condition, showing full and symmetrical lugs with minimal signs of use. The original "dot over 90" bezel is in exceptional condition, remaining deep black with almost no signs of use. The case retains its original pump pushers, setting pushers, and Universal Geneve signed crown. The case back does exhibit some wear but the factory engravings, including the reference and serials, all remain intact. The Universal Geneve "Gay Freres" stretch bracelet is in exceptionally well-preserved condition, showing no sag whatsoever. The end pieces on the bracelet are believed to be aftermarket which is very common for these watches.
The matte white Mk. II "panda" dial is exceptionally exquisite, with no aging or damage present on the dial. The black sub-dials are also in superb condition, exhibiting no damage or signs of age. The tritium lume plots have aged to a handsome dark brown coloration and display no degradation under U.V. light inspection. All of the hands, including the red center chronograph hand, remain original to the watch, under U.V. light inspection the hour and minute hands have been professionally restored with tritium and are bright white in coloration.
None. The watch was recently serviced and is keeping time perfectly and functioning flawlessly, backed by a 1-year warranty on accurate timekeeping.