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Polerouter Sub dials *without* Polerouter Sub text--request for clarification

  1. tomvox1

    tomvox1 Dec 17, 2016

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    Apologies for bringing this topic up again but having read through all the relevant threads (I think) I am still not sure what the consensus in the UG community is about these strange Polerouter Sub dials without the actual model name/logo on them (if there is any sort of consensus at all):

    PoleRouterSubNOSubText.png
    (Pic borrowed from Diabolik)

    So to separate the light from heat and for a simple Universal novice like myself can you please clarify what are the going theories on these anomalous dials. Do you think:

    1) They are original UG factory printed dials with either a typo or deliberate absence of the text. Perhaps due to trademark lawsuit/threat by a competitor or simply messing with the layout?

    2) They are period correct only for early 2nd gen Polerouter Subs, i.e. a Transitional dial. So far the serial numbers on the admittedly small sample size are all over the place. And why would they omit when the earlier First Gen super compressors already had "Polerouter Sub?" Brief run of errata quickly corrected?

    3) They are service replacements from much later like the 1970s (perhaps a cache has recently been found since they are only now cropping up?). This might again point to a deliberate omission of the model name -- perhaps for interchangeability on another model planned but never executed or again due to (later) trademark concerns.

    4) Or going back to the errata theory might they have been stored/mothballed for all these years because of the mistake of the omission of the model name and some lucky bloke has only recently stumbled upon them, hence their seemingly very recent "debut" as a known dial?

    5) Are they an aftermarket item entirely -- but if so why execute it so well and then leave out one of the main essential details of the dial, i.e. the model name, that would be sure to raise red flags??

    6) Some other possibility that I haven't mentioned?

    Thanks in advance for any info or opinions you feel like sharing. Not trying to start a brawl but I don't necessarily agree that topics should be out of bounds until there is absolute concrete proof one way or the other. Informed conjecture can help set up the perimeters of debate and if nothing else establish a community consensus, as well as spurring participants to ferret out more actual data. Plus this may hopefully have the benefit of putting the opinions on these dials in one straightforward post for future references, as well as eliminating some theories entirely... and perhaps bringing new ones to light!
    Best regards,
    T.
     
    Edited Dec 17, 2016
  2. mentawatches

    mentawatches Dec 31, 2016

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    Happy New Years everyone! I just got send pics of another mk2 today that I will be purchasing, and lo-and-behold, no Polerouter Sub on the dial! Just found it interesting, and figured this could help add more info to the growing database of limited knowledge we have on these watches. This makes 4 that we know of (the one I sold earlier, the one posted by a forum member in the older thread, one found for sale also posted in the older thread, and now this one...) The caseback is super clean, but the photos I have only show the serial. Waiting on a pic of the full reference and serial. I will post it when I get it. Have a great NYE everyone!
     
    IMG_0129.JPG
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  3. watchknut

    watchknut New watch + Instagram + wife = dumbass Dec 31, 2016

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    So when you turn the crown clockwise, which way do the hands turn?
     
  4. mentawatches

    mentawatches Dec 31, 2016

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    Slow year for you? Last I checked, I apologized...seems you're still a class act. Be well! Here's to a better 2017 for you!
     
  5. watchknut

    watchknut New watch + Instagram + wife = dumbass Dec 31, 2016

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    Not slow at all...I don't recall an apology, and think I would, especially when someone calls me a liar.

    Glad you are on here now, so you can defend your watches and not leave that up to you friends.
     
  6. mentawatches

    mentawatches Dec 31, 2016

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    Yawn.
     
  7. tomvox1

    tomvox1 Jan 1, 2017

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    I think I may know the source of this watch, as it was offered to me as well (bezel wear looks identical at least). The numbers on the back should be edifying and hoping you can share them for another data point on these odd non-"Sub" versions. :thumbsup:
    Congrats, thanks for sharing & Happy New Year,
    T.
     
  8. Diabolik

    Diabolik Jan 1, 2017

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    This seems to be another non-sub signed dial with lume which is far too clean and new for a 50 year old watch and seems have lume on indexes as well as hands. As there is insufficient evidence to substantiate claims and there does not seem to be any reference to this model in any documentation that I have seen and additionally reference and serial numbers span a rather big slice of the sixties. Hence, I have to stand by my statement on the following threads :

    https://omegaforums.net/threads/polerouter-sub-another-one-seems-to-have-appeared.49126/

    I am totally convinced that it is not a transitional model. The one thing that is rather suspicious is the sudden appearance of such clean dials and hands with lume that is pretty much spotless. Let's face it, it has been around 50+ years and all of a sudden four of them? :mad:

    Has someone unearthed a doomsday capsule?

    There are also a number of peculiarities with dial when compared to the original below; lume dots are incorrectly positioned on menta subs and it seems to lack the sharpness of the original dial (magnify indexes and compare) as well as font ... why ?? :thumbsdown:

    I am not convinced !

    upload_2017-1-1_18-57-52.png
     
    IMG_5233.JPG
  9. tomvox1

    tomvox1 Jan 1, 2017

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    Interesting and I definitely take your points. But lume application aside (and obviously acknowledging the key absence of the POLEROUTER SUB text), the fonts for AUTOMATIC and the cut out /reverse printed numerals for "12", "6" & "9" appear identical to the established baseline dial. To me it also looks like the UNIVERSAL/GENEVE text matches exactly, as well as the length of the printed minute ticks. Can't make out the SWISS-T well enough from the pic provided on the undeniably authentic one. And obviously the sweep seconds hands do not match between these two, although the non-SUB version's hands do appear to have characteristic aging/oxidation to them.
    Just my observations as a decidedly non-UG expert but pretty good at dial typography on vintage watches in general. I don't have a dog in this hunt other than curiosity.
    Best,
    T.
     
  10. Diabolik

    Diabolik Jan 1, 2017

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    T,

    Have a look at image. Top is the menta sub and bottom is an original sub. Pixel resolution is similar. There are differences in lighting. However, there are a couple of things that really stand out ...

    - Embossed U is not evident on menta sub.
    - Universal seems messy and distance between characters is larger in some parts while smaller in others.
    - Geneve script (although similar font) lacks the embossing and is much cleaner and thinner on original.
    - Dial texture seems very different. however, need a better image.

    My theory is that dials are recently printed or a recent find. They may have been printed using original cliches (like the 2nd space compax dials that we have seen of exceptional quality) and different inks. The second cliche (polerouter sub) was not available hence lack of the final bit on dial.

    One thing I find intriguing is the two lume dots at six o clock. The lack of alignment is reflected on all of the (what I will call) menta sub dials. What this tells me is that lume was applied using a cliche. From that we can infer that they came from the same place. Far too messy to be UG, especially a sixties cliche. UG were known for quality watches at that time and something like that would have been spotted and corrected very quickly.

    Something to think about !


    upload_2017-1-1_23-51-15.png
     
    Edited Jan 1, 2017
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  11. LaurentBxl

    LaurentBxl Jan 2, 2017

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    The bottom picture (original Sub) was taken with lightning coming from the left side, which is making the dial more like 3D (you see the granular aspect of it), while the top picture is in low light condition. I get the embossed U but that could come from the light, UNIVERSAL looks correct to me but but I'm not a specialist and i see some variations on the original too (like E closer to R than V).
    What bothers me the most on the Menta one is the lume at 6. It is clearly misaligned and i see no reason for this....
     
  12. Diabolik

    Diabolik Jan 3, 2017

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    I was privately asked what the driver would be in creating a new sub. Well, considering the sums involved, it is lucrative as these watches now go for huge spondoolies. Considering that a number of polerouter sub cases and parts have recently appeared on eBay and other sites and considering the huge sums involved (and clearly not implying that there is foul play), e.g:

    from a french seller:
    upload_2017-1-3_10-13-49.png

    It is only wise to be objective and cautious before purchasing something which seems to have popped out of the woodwork after so many years. They could all be original examples and I am open to discussion and happy to work with anyone in establishing originality. However, to date, I have not seen any convincing evidence that this variation of the polerouter sub is original and remain sceptical.

    In my honest opinion, there are too many inconsistencies.
     
    Edited Jan 3, 2017
  13. mentawatches

    mentawatches Jan 3, 2017

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    I agree with this; however, a quick google image search of polerouter subs will show many "correct" examples with inconsistent Lume dot placements at 6 (I had never noticed this until I went out and looked for it tbh).

    Anyways - I if/when I get this new pole sub, I'll post hi-res pics. I hope to have it in my hands this week, but the seller/owner hasn't agreed to a sale yet.
     
  14. Diabolik

    Diabolik Jan 3, 2017

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    I have two second gen 1st execution subs and they both have exactly the same positioning of lume dots (only at 12,6 and 9, and nothing on indices. Remarkably, the same ageing patina on lume ...

    IMG_5507.JPG

    IMG_5508.JPG

    @mentawatches - You can talk to me, i am just as intrigued as you probably are and I don't bite. You don't need to go via proxy. I encourage a healthy and productive discourse. That's what the forum is here for. The other stuff is water under the bridge ...
     
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  15. tomvox1

    tomvox1 Jan 3, 2017

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    I have to agree that a lot of the font/spacing inconsistencies come down to lighting in the second picture (overexposed).
    Perhaps this is more instructive:
    PolerouterNonSubDetail.jpg PolerouterSub-detail.jpg

    The UNIVERSAL/GENEVE printing looks essentially identical to me right down to the characteristic "chip" out of the "U" in UNIVERSAL. So assuming the SUB version I show is correct, I think an original cliche must have been used, as per Diabolik's theory (leaving aside lume application for the moment, which is always done ex post facto anyway). Now as to whether these dials were printed during the period of original manufacture for these Polerouter Subs or by third party more recently using original materials I obviously couldn't say. But then that's the $64,000 question, isn't it? For my money, aside from the lume, they seem to be a bit too well done to be executed in the modern era and by third party. Right now I lean on the theory of cache of NOS dials recently discovered (perhaps rejected originally as defective for the missing text or surplus when the model was axed during the quartz revolution). YMMV and new evidence would certainly sway my opinion. ;)
    Best,
    T.
     
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  16. tomvox1

    tomvox1 Jan 3, 2017

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    I am a bit confused. Can you clarify what you mean by "lume dots only at 12, 6 and 9, and nothing on indices?" Your watches surely has lume dots adjacent to the white index bars within the minute track don't they? They're also on the narrow "3" bar next to the date aperture, no?
    Also regarding the lume, here is another with off kilter lume at "6" but looking properly aged:
    PolerouterSub copy.jpg

    Full disclosure, though: this watch comes from the Menta Sold watches archive. :unsure:
    https://mentawatches.com/inventory/universal-geneve-mk2-polerouter-sub/
    Best,
    T.
     
  17. Diabolik

    Diabolik Jan 3, 2017

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    If there is, I cant see it (that does not mean it is not there).

    dots on indices look white ! But then again, UG are known for their subtleness and stinginess when applying lume. Just look at nina's and tri-compax models from the sixties. The crazed crystal on one of them does not help. I will take one apart and do some close ups.
     
  18. Diabolik

    Diabolik Jan 4, 2017

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    here you are. Images of dial out of case and yes, there is lume all round but very subtle and a shade that is more like dirty white ...

    upload_2017-1-4_17-5-39.png

    upload_2017-1-4_17-5-57.png

    upload_2017-1-4_17-6-24.png

    upload_2017-1-4_17-6-46.png

    this is taken with ultraviolet light (not an easy one as lume does not lume so much but dots are visible) ...

    upload_2017-1-4_17-7-36.png

    Which answers the lume issue. Note that dots are perfectly symmetrical and equally spaced out. The spacing and positioning of dots is the same on my other sub. This re-enforces the line of through the the menta dials may be original but could be seconds or service replacements.

    Open to discuss any other lines of thought ...
     
  19. tomvox1

    tomvox1 Jan 5, 2017

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    Thanks, this is very useful... although a macro of the "6" would've also been nice! :D
    In any case, I have pulled the "6" details from your original photos to compare with both the sold Polerouter Sub from the Menta archive and this new non-Sub example. I trust we all have good watch collector eyesight! ;)

    Diabolik Sub #1:
    PolerouterSubDiabolik-6lume.jpg

    Diabolik Sub #2:
    PolerouterSubDiabolik-2-6lume.jpg

    Sold Menta Sub:
    PolerouterSub6Lume-noncenter.jpg

    New non-Sub:
    PolerouterNonSub6Lume.jpeg

    I think we can see that there is some natural variation even between the two Diabolik versions, i.e. the lume dots appear a little to the left on the first example and pretty much perfectly centered in the second. But we also see that the sold Menta Sub and the new non-Sub have "6" lume much closer together, albeit also not quite identically placed.
    So does that make it all variations due naturally to different iterations/ times of application or something else?
    Best,
    T.
     
  20. Mapearso

    Mapearso Jan 5, 2017

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