The Universal Genève Tri-Compax is a prime example of exceptional horological design during the post-World War II era of wristwatches. The watch was first introduced at Baselworld in 1944 and was manufactured up until the 1980s. The name "Tri-Compax" indicates that the watch has three individual complications: the chronograph, the triple calendar, and the moonphase. Although there are many subsequent variations of this watch, its increasing popularity among enthusiasts and collectors due to its overall quality has made it exceedingly difficult to find examples in excellent condition.
When it comes to vintage watches, I am always of the opinion that condition is paramount, and this 18-carat yellow gold Universal Genève Tri-Compax Ref. 12295 that we have on offer today is one such example.
On the dial, you will find elements that give the watch its “Tri-Compax” name: three sub-dials measuring the running seconds, a 30-minute counter, as well as a 12-hour counter. At 12 o ‘clock, you have a day/month window aperture and a beautiful moonphase in blue accompanied by a red calendar hand, which adds a touch of contrast to the dial. Furthermore, this example here uses applied gold markers instead of luminous ones, which I think makes the dial even cleaner and dressier in appearance. Overall, I would say that the dial on this Ref. 12295 has developed a soft, creamy-looking patina that complements the yellow gold Dauphine hands and blue’d hands so very well.
Encased within this beautiful 35mm yellow gold case is Universal Genève’s very own manual-winding, column-wheel Cal. 481, which was known to be one of the finest and most complicated of its time. For your information, the calendar function can be conveniently operated via the three corrector buttons on the side of the case.
Over the years of amassing vintage watches for the site, we’ve come across a handful of Universal Genève Tri-Compax models with varying degrees of patination, but this particular example right here is seriously one of the best we’ve handled so far in terms of aging and condition, which makes this an extremely compelling example with many more years of wrist time left for its new companion.