Universal Geneve Tri-Compax Oversized



Iconeek is extremely proud to introduce here a superb, unrestored, original condition, oversized Tri-compax Ref. 12285. According to Universal Geneve archives, this rare 18K pink gold triple calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases and lapidated lugs was made in 1950.

The Tri-Compax model was produced from the 1940’s through the 1960’s, with varying dial designs and case sizes and materials, the oversized versions, such as the present one, being the most sought-after by collectors. The Universal Geneve Tri-Compax was produced in several sizes, ranging from 33mm up to 37.5mm. The 37.5mm « Jumbo » case, such as the present watch, is probably the best sized case, with great proportions, chronograph pushers that aren’t too pronounced with the whole case frame wonderfully with those lapidated lugs and the most wanted by demanding collectors.

Because of its large diameter combined with the narrow bezel, the dial’s aperture is wonderful and the watch has a strong presence on the wrist as well as a correct space between each indication. The calendar is in french. Trained eyes will notice that the Day disc and Month disc are not written with the same policy. When reading « MAR » on the left and « MAR » right, the reader must recognized the day « MAR »   Mardi (Tuesday) from the month « MAR » for Mars (March), reason why the month disc has always a slightly different and bolt writting.

The model has a three-body construction: a large steel 18K pink gold tonneau-shaped case with large lapidated lugs, gold rectangular chronograph pushers,  correctors in the band, a snap on inclined bezel bearing the plexiglass, a gold snap on back. This case back is engraved with the serial and reference numbers, as well as the Universal Geneve hallmarks inside the back. The size betweemn the lugs is 20 mm.

Under the hesalite glass, an original silvered dial with applied pink gold Dart indexes, gold Dauphine hands, apertures for the day and the month, in French, four subsidiary dials for the 30-minute register at  3, the 12-hour register at 6, the constant second at 9, the date combined with the moon phases at 12, minute and 1/5th second division with painted radial 5-minute Arabic numerals, blued steel chronograph hands, red date hand.

Under the snap on gold case back, we find a caliber 481, manual winding, rhodium-plated, with 17 jewels, straight line lever escapement, monometallic balance with timing screws, self-compensating blued steel Breguet balance spring,  index regulator, column-wheel chronograph mechanism.  Caliber 287 (15 lignes) was used in the largest or oversized size cases, those between 37 and 39mm, while cal. 481 (14.5 lignes) was generally used for mid-size cases, those between 34.5 and 36mm, and cal. 281, the smallest (12.5 lignes), often used in the 1960’s water-resistant models.

The Tri-Compax has always been the « Cherry on the cake » for Universal lovers, because in Universal long story of producing complicated and usefull chronograph, the Tri-Compax is a Reference, In his category, the model was probably as good as the Patek Philippe, Ref. 1518, the first perpetual calendar chronograph, produced in series, launched in 1941, in collectors eyes. These triple-calendar, perpetual or not, chronograph watches with moon phases are among the most interesting complicated vintage watches one can collect today. Dial is signed by maker, case is signed and numbered,  movement is signed.

The « Compax »  was introduced in 1935, the world’s first chronograph wristwatch with hour and minute registers. The « Uni-Compax » with a 45-minute register was presented in 1936, the « Aero-Compax » patent no. 235608 was launched in 1940, with a fourth subdial at 12. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the company presents the « Tri-Compax » in 1944, a triple date chronograph with moon phases, one of the greatest chronograph ever created in watchmaking history. Made in 1950, the present watch is quite an early model.

The present watch is an extremely fine specimen, with sharp case facets and crisp numbers on the case back, unpolished case, great proportion, caliber 481 movement and beautifully preserved original dial. This Tri-Compax is per sure a must for discerning collectors.

In superb and original condition, the present large Tri-Compax would be a jewel in any collection!

Condition: 9.5/10, dial superb, case superb, unpolished, deep hallmark on the band, movement superb

Brand: Universal

Model: Tri-Compax « XL »

Year: 1950

Reference: 12285

Movement no. : –

Case no.: 1446597

Material: 18K pink gold

Dial: silvered, applied gold dart indexes, gold Dauphine hands

Movement: cal. 481, rhodium-plated, 17 jewels, Breguet hairspring, column-wheel mechanism, index regulator

Bracelet: leather

Functions: chronograph, day, date, month, moon phases

Water-resistant: no.

Dimensions: 37.50 mm diam. Thickness 12.30 mm.

Accessories: Extract from the UG archives

Ref. ICO: 99-20-026