Universal Genève was very much a horological force to be reckoned with. Whilst their watches are increasingly sought-after today, to a large extent, this seems due to their perception as a ‘cool’ vintage brand. That said, it only takes a quick look at the Manufacture’s colourful past, to appreciate its real pedigree. This begins, back in the day, with Universal Genève’s official retailers in New York - the Henri Stern Watch Agency. That other watch brand they retailed for? Patek Philippe.
Other than their prestigious retailers partners, Universal Genève’s in-house Chronograph movements were adopted by other great Manufactures – notably Jaeger Le-Coultre, Girard Perregaux, and Zenith. Even the great Vacheron Constantin used a Universal Genève ébauche, for a time. It was common, when using ébauches, to heavily modify and improve them, but impressively, Vacheron didn’t change anything mechanically, only improving the finishing.
Recently there has been a meteoric resurgence of interest in vintage Universal Genève watches. Pushed by an increasingly cult-like following, it is hard not to fall for the old-school charm that these watches exude. You can read more about vintage Universal Genève watches in our Lifestyle Journal.