I like to join, my only UG (for the moment)
Beautiful! Never seen these numbers before.
Which size is it?
34 to 35 mm, cal 481
Right now my one and only UG and my one and only 18K watch. I notice, that its always calming my mind when wearing it. I need to get a real camera, not only a mobile one, because the beauty of the champagne color does not quite get through.
Is this an original dial?
This is actually interesting.... any thought whether that blue-ish color was there originally? Or is it some kind of evolution of the varnish?
I wouldn't know really. Also, it's more greenish than blue.
Sharing my new UG Chronometre
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Looks like it is, but what would you do with it ?
This Ebay watch really reminded me yours -- I refrained from purchasing it but posting it here for reference, pity the case and dial are so worn.
I agree. If the case and dial were better, this would be a great watch. Awesome fonts and lugs!
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Yes I spotted that one also.
My Polerouter Nonet +1
Thank you, @88cut and @aapalileo for starting these threads. With your indulgence, the following will contain some pics and annotation/commentary. [Warning: much self-indulgence below]
1. I picked up the Polerouter Date below some time ago and, for good measure upon receipt, immediately sent it off for a service. The watch has now returned to me with a clean bill of health (it’s taken far too long, but that’s another story) and I am finally able toshow it to you, along with the other Polerouters in my small collection.
The recently-back-from-service watch is a caliber 218-2 which I picked up for a song from a Norwegian seller. The seller’s photos were a bit fuzzy and I thank members of this forum for providing advice on the dial while I deliberated. I am pleased to say that I am completely thrilled with it. I imagine part of the reason for the discounted price is the caseback, which is engraved. The engraving is dated February 28, 1967 and is written in Danish (I think?). It says something to the effect of “Thanks for the good collegial cooperation – Scandinavian Tobacco Company”. Although not the loveliest execution, I happen to find the engraving rather charming. The movement is nice and clean, the crown is original and the crystal has a trapezoidal date window (with fairly high magnification – more than the others below). The hands are a bit brassy and may or may not be replacements (I suspect they may not be replacements, but I‘d be interested to hear your views on this). Serial number is lost to the wear/tear and polish of time. Lume is far less tangy than as appears in the photo. The caseback logo is more pronounced than implied by the photo, but I was unable to get a good pic of both the logo and engraving at the same time.
2. The 218-2 joins my first Polerouter date – a caliber 69 which I picked up from a French seller and which has a partial/horizontal crosshair, beefy lugs and original crown, caseback and signed crystal. I was initially hesitant about picking up the caliber 69 on account of my obsession with the full-crosshair-and-bombe lug Polerouter variant. I quickly came to love the caliber 69 as-is (thanks so much to members of this forum for talking me off of a dangerous cliff as I considered my options: your sage counsel was invaluable) – it has a certain “space age” charm that serves as a nice complement to the “age of flight” vibe of the 218-2. I am especially fond of the dial patina. Also note the brushed steel finish on the case and lugs – based on my limited scan, this seems to be the way of the beefy lug models. Frustratingly, the serial numbers are visible, but barely; a few of the digits can be easily picked up by the naked eye, but the first two remain somewhat of a mystery.
3. The following is a white dialed variant of the beefy lug example just described and comes to me via Sweden. It is in beautiful shape, but, unlike its black sibling, its case has been polished (see in particular the lack of a brushed finish on the lugs). Aside from that unfortunate fact, I am otherwise very pleased with it. While it doesn’t show up too well in the photo, the dial has a lovely, mild patina. Serial is in the low 2.4 millions, placing it in the ballpark of 1965.
4. Also to share, a Caliber 69 steel-dialed Polerouter Date which I snagged from a Spanish seller for what I consider to be a decent price – likely due to poor seller pics and, among other things, a few hot auctions/sales taking place at the same time which I think caused this one to fly well below most people’s radar. The movement is in good shape and the dial is lovely. The seller’s pics were deceptively bad, even those provided upon further request, and I do believe I ended up on the right side of this slight leap of faith.
Lugs are not the sharpest, but not too bad for the price paid – the exception, perhaps, is the lug at 7-8 o’clock. Serial number is still visible and clocks in at around the low 2.3 millions, potentially dating this piece to somewhere between 1963 and 1965. There seems to be some “spoiling” in-progress around the third and fourth second markers, but otherwise the ink looks good to me. One of the pleasant surprises I had upon seeing the watch in-person for the first time is the “brushed-like” dial: the faint “brush strokes” emanate from the centre of the dial in a sunray-like pattern. The lume on the hands looks too tangy to be true and I suspect it might have been a hand re-lume, though I am un-fussed about it. That said, I haven’t yet turned to the subject of lume in my research and don’t know enough about it to have a feel for how lume can age.
5. Next, something I acquired from a very gracious Forum member. You will have seen this piece kicking around these parts over the years, and I assure you it has found a grateful and loving home and will be well taken care of.
It is a black Caliber 215 – clean movement, mellow dial aging, crisp markings and a relatively un-effaced caseback emblem. While the crystal is a replacement, the seller – as a thoughtful and generous surprise - included what might be the original as well, which I have and will keep, despite its age-or-otherwise-related faults. Based on my read of the serial number which is still pretty clear on the case (side) between the lugs (low 1.9 millions), it looks to have been made between 1957 and 1959. Based further on the short and arrow-shaped regulator, it may predate 1958, perhaps putting it into 1957 (Polerouter.de suggests that the longer regulator was introduced in 1958).
I am amazed at how sharp everything still is on this dial given its age, and if it weren’t for the all kosher-looking fonts, etc, I’d think this was a very good redial or at least a re-lume (e.g. in the sense of being too good to be true)! With that, I hereby acknowledge my almost basal-level skepticism of good things - I blame it on the eastern European in me. While moving to Canada has certainly lightened things up, the minor-key baseline is entrenched (other north-eastern Europeans and knowers-of-them will know what I mean (I am told Scandinavians have their own version of this)).
For those of you with a Cal. 215, on close inspection, I notice that each of the lume dots appear almost to be ensconced in a barely noticeable depression or divot – do you see the same occurrence in yours? Speaking of lume dots, whereas most lume dots on this watch are “perfectly” centered relative to the chapter ring hour markers, the dots at 8 and 9, while still well within the hour marker, are a tiny bit skewed towards the hour marker’s edge/off-center. I’ve noticed this on a fair number of pieces deemed original (including in some UG-issued advertisements!). I have also seen far more extreme examples where the lume dots are well outside of the hour marker, sometimes in several instances on the same dial, and recall these have generally been deemed to be redials. Please have look at yours and let me know if you see some of this. All that said, this is probably the piece I wear the most – I am increasingly drawn to the simple symmetry of the non-date models and am appreciative of their “grab and go” convenience.
6. Next, the “runt of the litter” and “+1” referenced in this thread title: a cal. 215 which, in a flash of lack of self control, I decided to shoot for literally in the last minute of an auction after studying it and to-ing-and-fro-ing about it for some time. The dial is clearly not in the best condition and the lugs are to some extent on the buttery-side, but three things twisted my arm, aside from the price and absence of date function: a very clear caseback engraving (the clearest of all of my Polerouters) and the fact that it is an example where “Patented Rights Pending” is engraved under the rotor (this message was removed in subsequent 215s once the patent was obtained). The serial number is in the low-to-mid 1.8s, perhaps placing it somewhere in the 1956-1957 timeframe. Interestingly, the regulator shape is different from the Cal. 215 above (it has no “pointer” at all) – we therefore see at least three regulator shape variants in the 215 alone (i.e. no pointer, small arrow pointer, long pointer)! Although the piece is perhaps the odd one out, I am fond of it nonetheless - as a friend of mine once observed: “love isn’t blind, it just looks the other way”. While I initially saw this piece as a donor in waiting, I now think I will want to move it soon.
7. The following is a more recent pick-up from another Forum member. It is a Cal. 215. Serial is in the mid 1.8 millions, placing it at about 1956-1957. The lugs are beautiful and the dial features the term “Microtor” without the term “Automatic”. Like the +1 above, it also has the patent rights pending rotor and no regulator pointer. Thanks to @gatorcpa for pointing out that these kinds of models can come without a caseback logo, which mine does not have. Like the 215s above, serial number is on the case side between the top lugs. While the dial is somewhat rough in the vicinity of 8 o’clock to 12 o’clock, on balance, it is not too bad for my purposes. The lugs, however, are unreservedly beautiful in my view. The watch has an overall “chunkier” feel than my non-date 215 and works well on casual occasions.
8. Next up, a Polerouter Electric. Although this piece entered my life while I was not looking for it, I am very pleased to have found it. I blame/credit @Northernman and @Modest_Proposal for providing the inspiration. Armed with that inspiration and knowledge of what a museum-quality piece looks like, I took a “best offer” shot at this less-than-museum-quality model I’d seen languishing online for some time and picked it up for a respectable bargain. The serial number is in the low 2.3 millions, dating it to sometime between 1964 and 1965. Although advertised as running fast, the thing has worked like a charm ever since I’ve had it. I am not aware of its service history, however, so I will send it off for service soon. Scratches in the pic are on the crystal only. Overall, I find the watch to be a “light and breezy” contrast to the more traditional Polerouters above – I find it well suited for casual workdays or weekends. Further thanks to @ Modest_Proposal for turning me on to cordovan straps.
One item of interest: the “bridges” on the movement are different from those in the perfect and archetypical example first introduced to us by @Northernman. For example, the bridge which covers the battery in my piece only partially extends across the movement (like in the LIP R148 and LIP R184) and the engravings are positioned accordingly (see seller pic below). In contrast, the bridge in @ Northernman’s piece extends completely across the movement (@Northernman - I hope you won;t mind me using your pic as a reference). Other differences are evident upon comparison of the wheel bridges. I’ve seen another example like mine before (it may have been @Modest_Proposal’s) and wonder what might account for the design variations. Perhaps the partial battery cover was introduced as a later iteration for ease of access?
9. Next up, a Polarouter. This one was discussed on the Forum late last year; someone was deliberating on whether or not to jump on it. Three quarters of a year later, its journey has somehow led to me, via Sweden. Dial is not the worst, hands are a bit corroded or pitted, case is very nice and well loved/knocked around. Movement is clean but needs one new bumper spring. Lug width is 19mm. Chapter ring markers are of the wide variety. Serial number is in the low 1.7 Millions, putting this in the ballpark of about 1955. Overall, I enjoy the bulkiness of the case and slightly larger proportions of the casefront and chapter ring.
There is one odd thing about this watch I’d like to point out: the caseback. It is not round like an earlier Polarouter, but has twelve facets like a Polerouter bumper. Could it be possible that the original caseback was replaced with a Polerouter caseback? Would that work/ are they interchangeable as far as the size/thread goes? I really don’t know, and would appreciate any thoughts you might have on the subject. Perhaps one day I will perform my own hand- on comparison of Polarouter and Polerouter bumper diameters and threads.
10. Finally, a Polerouter bumper. Serial number is in the low 1.7 Millions, only about 600 digits older than the Polarouter shown above. I presume its vintage is also somewhere around 1955. Dial is not too bad, shows some patina, but has a bit of a scuff or smudge near 4 o’clock – this was not evident in the seller’s pics. I considered sending it back on account of the scuff but did not. I do like its chunkiness, am fond of its well-loved/scuffed case/lugs and have found it to be a fantastic timekeeper. Unless my eyes are playing tricks on me, the chapter ring hour markers appear to fall somewhere between the “narrow” variant first identified by @guillaumeabxl and the wider variant more commonly seen. I will look into this in greater detail in the future: there may be more than two variants of Polerouter/Polarouter chapter ring hour marker width. I’ll be sure to report any findings.
All that said, here’s a shot of the entire happy family. Together, these watches comprise my daily-wearers and I hope to wear them for life. Although modest by this Forum’s standards, both in terms of model and condition, these are actually my “grail watches” and I feel so fortunate to have them and am over the moon about each them – I still can’t believe it!
I have been expanding the troupe with the specific aim of better preserving each one through rotation so I can wear them as long as possible – I would be more than happy if the basic Polerouter was the only watch I ever owned (famous last words, I know). In parallel, despite my exclusive focus on steel models, I’ve strived for a little variety in terms of dial colour (black, white/silver), lug type (bombe vs beefy), crosshair (full vs partial), date vs non-date, caliber, shield type etc.
As far as eventual next steps go, I have a few Polerouter-related aspirations, all of which relate to rounding out the collection with sole focus on steel models with black dials: (a) a 215x date (b) a 218x non-date and (c) a bombe lug 69. While there is no urgency to any of this, if you do ever have line on any of these sorts of pieces, please do not be shy about getting in touch. More immediately and practically, I will try to get some decent flat/unpadded straps for my Polarouter and Polerouter bumper.
In parallel, if I can ever get my act together, I hope to clean out my physical and psychic space one day by taking my noob tax piece out of the proverbial attic and sending it along to a better home, as well as clearing out two decent affordables (a Lagonda manual wind and a Repco Polerouter look-alike). Once this is done, the Polerouters will be the only watches I own, aside from my Casio calculator watch and beater modern "Landeron" diver.
Beyond the above, I have no watch-related plans or even ambitions. While a few watches outside of the UG family do float my boat, they shall remain in the realm of “pin-up”/reverie for the foreseeable future and most likely well beyond, if not forever. A vintage Memovox (steel, all-black, dauphine hands) would be at the top of this parallel-universe/in-another-life list. A vintage black Constellation, cross hair, steel furniture would tickle a similar spot.
In closing, thank you all so much for listening and for your help along the way, including your comments, insights, cold showers and counsel. Thank you also to the members who kindly shared the Cal. 215 pieces with me and to the ΩF founders for establishing this UG sub-forum. These pieces mean a lot to me and I am grateful to you all for helping me get here and expanding my mind and sense of curiosity along the way. Thank you!
Great post, @Severin and what an awesome lineup of Polerouters!
my UG need a new strap
@Severin excellent post and thanks for sharing.
Congrats Severin on a fabulous collection
I love your passion for these lovely watches, Enjoy!
I love your Polerouters. I wondered where they all went!
Looks like it to me. I would be very interested in it if it was available.. I have a 287 that needs a dial.
The TriCompax gang
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