Steel Universal Genève retailed by Boodle & Dunthorne Liverpool, “Prince”, vintage wristwatch, circa 1935
A sensational and very rare steel mid-sized circular wristwatch with black dial, concealed lugs and manually wound movement
This extraordinary wristwatch has a highly distinctive design with a sensational black glossy dial and gold coloured disc numerals, minute track and feuille hands. The dial is double signed: a crescent shape to the top features the prestigious retailer’s name of Boodle & Dunthorne, Liverpool, whist at the base of the dial above the 6 o’clock position, the watchmaker’s name of Universal Genève is displayed. Both signatures have become wonderfully ghosted with age. The disc-shaped case has concealed lugs and a recessed winding crown to ensure the perfectly circular design is un-interrupted. The case is stepped and finished with a variety of satin and polished surfaces. In my opinion, one of the most original and beautiful vintage designs of the period, this watch is in great condition for its age and the stitched leather strap is almost certainly the original.
In the mid 1930s, this unusual design was employed by a small number of the finest Swiss makers, including Vacheron Constantin and Rolex. An archival image of a very similar wristwatch by Vacheron Constantin, dated 1936, is illustrated in Lambelet & Coen, The World of Vacheron Constantin, Editions Scriptar, 1992, p.404. A similar model by Rolex, dated to circa 1938, was sold at Christie’s, Hong Kong, 3rd December 2008, lot 3539.
Universal was originally founded in 1894 in Le Locle, Switzeland, by Ulysse Georges Perret (1868-1933) and Numa Emile Descombes (1863-1897). The firm’s head office was moved to Geneva between 1918 & 1919. Universal is best known for its complication wristwatches, notably its Compax models with combinations of chronographs and calendars.
Universal calibre 246 manually wound movement, lever escapement, 17 jewels, compensation balance, 18,000 BPH; black gloss dial with gold coloured disc numerals, outer minute track, gold feuille hands; steel circular case with polished and faceted outer edge, stepped bezel with satin outer and polished inner, satin finished case sides, recessed crown, snap-on back, concealed lugs with fixed bars; case, dial and movement signed.
Depth to centre of crystal: 8mm.
Strap width/lug gauge: 17mm.
All Black Bough watches have been fully serviced and overhauled and are sold with a one year guarantee, Black Bough fitted presentation box and detailed Black Bough certificate.