Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve
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  1. #1
    Member WingoWinston's Avatar
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    Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

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    I have posted this in the public forum but in retrospect this may have been the better forum to post in. And I apologize in advance for the trouble.

    From what I can see this is a Universal 139 Movement (1948-1955). I can not make use of the serials. The watch case is 10k gold filled. I am wondering if I can get a specific date and name for the watch. Also a word on the quality/significance of this piece. Link:bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements : Universal 138SS

    I have only found one other watch on the internet signed with "Mappins" on the dial. It was different from this watch though and did not include any other information except basic specifications.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.

    Winston
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    Newly found out Chronometrophile.

  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

    The marketing phenomena of naming models has never been universal. It was even rarer in the early 50's when this watch was made.

    I suspect Mappins is the name of a jeweler who sold the watch. It used to be quite common for retailers to have their name on the dial on some of their finer watches. Thus completely different watches could have shared the same name.

    This is a good example of the higher half of the Swiss watch market of that time period.

    I hope that helps. Welcome!
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    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  3. #3
    Member Shum's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

    Are the springs for the bumper missing?

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    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

    Since you're from Ottawa, it's probably a reference to Mappins Jewelers, a Canadian jewelery chain.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  6. #5
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

    Quote Originally Posted by Shum View Post
    Are the springs for the bumper missing?
    Seems yes, well spotted
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    Re: Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

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    Member WingoWinston's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

    Quote Originally Posted by Shum View Post
    Yes the bumper springs are definitely missing. The pendulum should wind the watch though correct? Although I'm sure less efficiently.

    Thanks for all the help so far too guys! Really appreciate it. I didn't realize also how much smaller watches were then they are now. But I guess the whole new craze is large watches.

    How difficult do you think it would be to insert the springs? By the looks of that part it appears as though I'll have to remove a lot of the movement.
    Newly found out Chronometrophile.

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    Member Shum's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

    Quote Originally Posted by WingoWinston View Post
    Yes the bumper springs are definitely missing. The pendulum should wind the watch though correct? Although I'm sure less efficiently.

    Thanks for all the help so far too guys! Really appreciate it. I didn't realize also how much smaller watches were then they are now. But I guess the whole new craze is large watches.

    How difficult do you think it would be to insert the springs? By the looks of that part it appears as though I'll have to remove a lot of the movement.
    It looks like it's only the outer part with the two springs you need and that is fasten with only one screw. If it's the right part for your movement I can't be 100% sure though. Yes the pendulum will still wind the watch but it will give the movement a hard time and could break something.

    You can find bigger watches from the period but mostly they are smaller then todays watches but mens watches were even smaller in the 30's. Some luxury brands had smaller watches well into the 50's like Lore Elgin models.
    Last edited by Shum; December 18th, 2013 at 23:02.
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  10. #9
    Member WingoWinston's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

    Quote Originally Posted by Shum View Post
    It looks like it's only the outer part with the two springs you need and that is fasten with only one screw. If it's the right part for your movement I can't be 100% sure though. Yes the pendulum will still wind the watch but it will give the movement a hard time and could break something.

    You can find bigger watches from the period but mostly they are smaller then todays watches but mens watches were even smaller in the 30's. Some luxury brands had smaller watches well into the 50's like Lore Elgin models.
    That is most definitely the part. I think I'll order it (is he ships to Canada).

    I'd like to try and fix this watch up as much as possible. As you can see see there are scratches on the metal. I'm guessing I can get some kind of buffer to remove them or lessen them. Also I'm guessing diamond paste for the crystal? I imagine it expensive to get all these things.

    In addition you can notice some wear on the hour and minute hands. The black blotches on the middle. Now I know gold doesn't oxidize easily, so it must be some kind of filth but I doubt any could get in so i'm guessing it is an alloy of some kind (copper, silver?). And can this be removed.

    I know there are no appraisals allowed on the forums, but is it possible to get a ballpark figure on how much it would cost to get this watch cleaned and/or serviced or for me to buy the supplies and do it myself? (Which may be a better investment in the long run if I purchase more watches).

    Another question (I know I'm oh so full of them), the leather band. It looks original but has a decent amount of wear, in anyone's experience with vintage watches how important is it to keep the original strap? I'm thinking it's the watch itself which counts, not the leather strap in this case and that need be if I intend to gussy this watch up I can replace it without feeling I've removed something paramount. I'd like to wear this watch. Not let it sit in some box.

    Also while winding, the crown feels like there is much more resistance then some of the newer watches I've bought, not sure if it needs to be lubricated or if that's just how it "should" feel.

    Sorry for this barrage. I promise to return here some day full of knowledge and return the favor.
    Newly found out Chronometrophile.

  11. #10
    Member Shum's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help Identify This Vintage Universal Geneve

    Quote Originally Posted by WingoWinston View Post
    That is most definitely the part. I think I'll order it (is he ships to Canada).

    I'd like to try and fix this watch up as much as possible. As you can see see there are scratches on the metal. I'm guessing I can get some kind of buffer to remove them or lessen them. Also I'm guessing diamond paste for the crystal? I imagine it expensive to get all these things.

    In addition you can notice some wear on the hour and minute hands. The black blotches on the middle. Now I know gold doesn't oxidize easily, so it must be some kind of filth but I doubt any could get in so i'm guessing it is an alloy of some kind (copper, silver?). And can this be removed.

    I know there are no appraisals allowed on the forums, but is it possible to get a ballpark figure on how much it would cost to get this watch cleaned and/or serviced or for me to buy the supplies and do it myself? (Which may be a better investment in the long run if I purchase more watches).

    Another question (I know I'm oh so full of them), the leather band. It looks original but has a decent amount of wear, in anyone's experience with vintage watches how important is it to keep the original strap? I'm thinking it's the watch itself which counts, not the leather strap in this case and that need be if I intend to gussy this watch up I can replace it without feeling I've removed something paramount. I'd like to wear this watch. Not let it sit in some box.

    Also while winding, the crown feels like there is much more resistance then some of the newer watches I've bought, not sure if it needs to be lubricated or if that's just how it "should" feel.

    Sorry for this barrage. I promise to return here some day full of knowledge and return the favor.
    Welcome to Vintage hell...

    It might be the right part but they made changes over time and your watch looks to have had a bumper spring assembly like on this movement.
    Used Universal Geneve 139 Movement 17 Jewels w Bumper | eBay

    They might be interchangeable but this I cannot promise.

    The watch has a acrylic crystal and thease are easy to polish so long as there aren't any cracks. Just buy som Polywatch and polish away. The heat will melt the scratches so the crystal will look like new.

    When it comes to the metal I avoid taking out scratches as this will remove metal and the metal can not be replaced so only polish out scratches from metal parts if the scratches are so bad you feel it makes the watch unwearable for you. Get a metal polish and just do a hand cleaning of the surface and see how it looks.

    The reason why it's hard to wind the watch is most likely because the main spring is dirty and needs cleaning and this is something you should have a watchmaker take care of. As for a price to fix this watch I don't really know as I do the job myself.

    The hour and minute hands are of a type called Dauphine Style Watch Hands and look to be generic so a watchmaker should be able to get a new set of hand but you could try to clean them first.
    Last edited by Shum; December 19th, 2013 at 00:03.
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