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Universal Genève Information

  1. Dre

    Dre Nov 11, 2017

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    Hi OF,

    Thought it might be useful to to have a thread for some basic information, documents, or anything else about UG that will benefits this forum and can be easily accessible. I'll start with these ones below.


    Best

    Andre

    File_000.jpeg

    Universal Geneve Logos
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    Serial Numbers
    UG serial numbers.jpg

    Case Reference Numbers based on Sala

    It was only in 1936/37 that the reference number of the case was also punched alongside the serial number, initially inside the caseback then subsequently on the exterior of the case. From 1936/37 to around 1940, case reference numbers were four-digit numbers assigned at random and - by current standards - with no apparent logic. After approximately 1940, these reference numbers became five-digit numbers.

    With no official sources to consult for clearer information on how reference numbers were assigned, photo archives of model produced from the early 1940s to the mid 1950s were studied in an attempt to identify an underlying logic. The archive reffered to is the only one of its kind containing images of such vintage timepieces, and is still kept in Universal's Geneva office.

    The following logic has thus been outlined.

    The first number indicates the material used to make the case.

    - 1 = 18 carat gold case
    - 2 = steel case
    - 3 = chrome-plated case
    - 4 = gilded case
    - 5 = 14 carat gold case
    - 6 = no examples of reference numbers starting with the number 6 has been found, or any sources attesting to any such existence
    - 7 = 14 carat white gold case

    The second number indicates the type of movement,

    - 1 = time only
    - 2 = chronograph

    The third number indicates the size of the base plate housing the movement in relation to the calibre used.

    - 1 if the case housed a calibre 289 (23.3mm)
    - 2 or 3 if the case housed a calibre 281 (27.8mm) or a 283 (29.5mm) or 481 (31.7mm) derivative
    - 4 or 5 if the case housed a calibre 285 (31.7mm) or a 287 (33.2mm) or 292 (35.2mm) derivative

    This logic applies to chronographs; in calendar watches, the third number is always a 3 as the only calibre mounted in these watches is the calibre 291.

    The last two numbers indicates the case design; 99 numbers were available to define the visual aspect of a case. In order to aid understanding of this numeration system, let us look at a few examples: a model with reference number 52408 has a 14 carat gold case and is a calibre 285 (or derivative) chronograph. On the other hand, if an example bears the number 22305, this tells us that it has a steel case and is a calibre 281 (or derivative) chronograph.

    An additional number tacked on to the end, either directly or separated by a space or a hyphen, signals that the case model was a variation of the five-digit model.
     
  2. SouthernScot

    SouthernScot Nov 11, 2017

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    Well you live and learn! I knew about the case reference numbers but not the serial number dating. I now know that my Dad’s Monodate, which I had always believed was from 1956 was actually manufactured in 1951.
    Many thanks for a most interesting post.
     
    Dre likes this.
  3. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Nov 11, 2017

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    Stickied. Thanks Dre
     
  4. ELV web

    ELV web Nov 11, 2017

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    The extract from the archive that can be requested from Modern Universal Geneve corporation is only a “letter head”. I.E. you can describe the watch you have to them and they will just put their seal on it without taking any action to validate whether the watch is correct or not.
     
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  5. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Nov 12, 2017

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    Bears emphasis. UG Extract proves nothing.
     
    Flatfoot, chronoboy64 and Dre like this.
  6. mazzman

    mazzman Nov 17, 2017

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    Can anyone recommend a local shop in Los Angeles that can open and service my UG Tri-Compax? Or point me to a thread with this info? Thank you.
     
    citizenrich likes this.
  7. Larry S

    Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. Nov 17, 2017

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    @mazzman : ABC Watchwerks in downtown Los Angeles and LA watchworks in Pasadena. These showed up in the search. If these don’t pan out I can refer to my shop in Chicagoland who have more than proven their Tri Compax black belt.
     
    Edited Nov 17, 2017
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  8. mazzman

    mazzman Nov 17, 2017

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    Thanks Larry. I'll check out ABC and LA Watchworks first. I've got no problem shipping to Chicago if I get a better vibe from them.
     
  9. watch3s

    watch3s Nov 24, 2017

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    quite the info, much obliged
     
  10. 10H10

    10H10 Nov 24, 2017

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    In Brussels, complete Tri-Compax service for 395 euro, anyone interrested please pm.
     
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  11. waXology

    waXology Nov 27, 2017

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    I'm looking for someone Europe based that can do my tri-compax as well. We should start a pinned service listing post
     
  12. Wanstall

    Wanstall Dec 12, 2017

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    Hi,
    I'm new to this forum, so first of all thank you to those who have shared the information above, which is very useful. I own a Berthoud chronograph with a UG 385 caliber and I would like to know if UG serial numbers are also valid for Berthoud or if the latter had it's own numbering.
     
  13. HeuerLoon

    HeuerLoon Feb 5, 2018

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    Just saw this thread. Stirling effort Dre; many thanks
     
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  14. Alf85

    Alf85 Feb 7, 2018

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    Great information Andre. This is some nice research
     
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  15. jb1986

    jb1986 Mar 13, 2018

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    Atelier Antoine de Macedo, in Paris, ask "Clément" there
     
  16. 10H10

    10H10 Mar 13, 2018

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    Ha ! the guy who sells for 2.000 € the watches that you can find for 200 € on ebay ! Good luck with his prices ! :thumbsdown:
    You must be Antoine De Macedo himself ! :p (Just kidding ! )
     
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  17. dantheman3u4i

    dantheman3u4i Aug 21, 2018

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    This is great. Thanks!
     
    Dre likes this.
  18. proby01

    proby01 Oct 14, 2018

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    Hi Everyone,
    does everyone have any updates on UG serial numbers past 1967 or > 2.500.000 ?
    I just got a lovely dress watch with serial number 3.344.000 that I am trying to identify the aproximate year of manufacturing. I will have it opened next week so that the caliber may also help but in the mean time I just ask in case there are more up-to-date tables ?
    thanks.
    regards
    Roby
     
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  19. cholack

    cholack Nov 21, 2018

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    Awesome sticky. Thanks for collating all this info
     
    Dre likes this.
  20. Mike3

    Mike3 Aug 27, 2019

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    Hi guys, I'm trying to find out about a watch that I have been left by my father. When he finished with the British army he became a private security contractor (bodyguard) mainly working for people in the Middle East. He was often given watches as a thank you including this one. It might have been in the late 70s or 80s. I'd love to know what it is!

    Kind Regards

    Mike
     
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