My bad-luck ugly-duckling Universal Geneve Compur
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Thread: My bad-luck ugly-duckling Universal Geneve Compur

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  1. #1
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    My bad-luck ugly-duckling Universal Geneve Compur

    I purchased this chronograph in December 2015, but today marks its first appearance in F11. Therein lies a bit of a story...

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    Bad luck:
    The watch was shipped from Los Angeles in December 2015 with signature confirmation required, and the postal service made an attempt to deliver the watch, but I wasn't home, and somehow my wife didn't hear the doorbell, so they left a notice and took the watch back to the post office. When I went to pick up the package, they couldn't find it. This continued day after day, and despite calling in various managers, the package was never found. [A rather lengthy saga began, involving claims to the seller, eBay, and the US postal service, during which I learned some interesting tidbits, including the fact that according to eBay, the seller's responsibility ends if an "attempt" at delivery has been made. And also, eBay doesn't care if the seller says in the listing that the package will be fully insured but then decides only to insure it for half of the selling price.] To make a long story short, eventually the package showed up back in the seller's PO box in California. He shipped it back to me, and I received it in May 2016.

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    More bad luck ensued. When I was handling the watch, the crystal (which was loose) slipped off, somehow causing me to drop the watch on my carpeted floor ... dial-side down. Unfortunately, the sweep hand become entangled in the carpet fibers and despite trying to remove it carefully, the hand was deformed. (Fortunately, I was able to do a pretty good job of carefully straightening out the hand.) I took the watch to the watchmaker that I was primarily using at that time, to replace the crystal and do a full service. After a COA, he initially told me that everything went well, and the watch was ready for pick up. But then the next day he called me back to mention a problem as he was testing the watch. Apparently, the sweep hand would intermittently creep forward one or two seconds a day and he was having trouble diagnosing the problem. Month after month, he would fix one issue, only to have another minor problem emerge. He replaced some parts, but minor issues remained. Finally, he indicated that he thought everything was ok and I picked up the watch. Frankly, I suspect that the sweep hand still has this intermittent creep problem but after 1 year and 9 months, I decided I just wanted the watch back in my hands.

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    Ugly duckling
    :
    The watch has some obvious issues, most notably the half-hearted hour hand re-lume. But also, the watch takes female spring bars, and the pin on the upper left lug was repaired at one time in the past. Overheating during the repair apparently caused some bluish discoloration to the lug. It's not horrible, but noticeable enough once one is aware of it. Also, after two years of looking at watches, my more experienced eyes detect the signs of an old re-dial, and I would not buy the watch today. Still, perhaps I'm doing the watch a disservice by calling it ugly, because despite its flaws it certainly has an attractive authentic vintage feel.

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    The watch is from the early 1940s and is very wearable. The stainless case is 37mm, and the narrow bezel makes the most of the size. The movement is the Universal Geneve cal 285, which I believe is actually a Martel-manufactured movement. After almost two years, I barely remembered what the watch looked like, and I'm happy to have it on my wrist today.

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    Last edited by badbackdan; March 11th, 2018 at 03:24.
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  2. #2
    Member Tony C.'s Avatar
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    Re: My bad-luck ugly-duckling Universal Geneve Compur

    Helluva a story! I had a watch disappear once through the USPS, and it was delivered (not returned to the sender) months later. And this was an intra-NY shipment.

    Very nice dial on the UG, and I would be inclined to do a sympathetic and full relume of the hands.

  3. #3
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    Re: My bad-luck ugly-duckling Universal Geneve Compur

    Damn!! That was an ordeal, enough to make 1 crazy huh ? It looks good to me just the way it is. I would have the watchmaker remove the misshaped lume job.

    It appears that the dial isn't correctly installed or is that crystal distortion ?

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  5. #4
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: My bad-luck ugly-duckling Universal Geneve Compur

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony C. View Post
    Very nice dial on the UG, and I would be inclined to do a sympathetic and full relume of the hands.
    Thanks Tony. I probably will relume the hands at some point. I just decided to get the watch back for now. If it needs more work to correct a mechanical problem, I will take it to a different watchmaker who is also very good at matching vintage lume.

    I think the dial is attractive, however, I suspect that it is not original. The quality of the printing is good, but there are obvious alignment issues. For example, the lumed numbers don't look symmetrical to me. For example, if you look at the positions of 2, 4, 8, and 10 with respect to the sub-dials, they don't look right. Also, the running seconds sub-dial track is not aligned correctly with the dial as a whole. There are other issues.
    Last edited by badbackdan; March 11th, 2018 at 03:50.
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  6. #5
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: My bad-luck ugly-duckling Universal Geneve Compur

    Quote Originally Posted by watchdaddy1 View Post
    It appears that the dial isn't correctly installed or is that crystal distortion ?
    I noticed the same thing in that image, but it seems to be an artifact of the angle of the photo. In person, looking through a loupe, everything is fine.
    watchdaddy1 likes this.
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  7. #6
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    Re: My bad-luck ugly-duckling Universal Geneve Compur

    Yer I have some similar stories... Reality of old mechanical things... Guessing thats a redial - old one.... Gotta say I have been fooled by redials lately - somewhat lack of due diligence but also an emerging lack of integrity on behalf of sellars and my stupid trusting nature...
    I have a chrono from the 40's that's been sitting with my watch guy for 5 years...!!! Hopefully getting it back this month!!??
    badbackdan, balaton and James A like this.
    So many watches.....so little time.....

  8. #7
    Member georges zaslavsky's Avatar
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    Re: My bad-luck ugly-duckling Universal Geneve Compur

    Glad to hear that everything was solved, wear it in good health
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