Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

Thread: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

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  1. #1
    Member LouS's Avatar
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    Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    OK, the issue I raised in this thread https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/opi...ub-487680.html got under my OCD-skin enough to do some research. Here are the results, peer-reviewed paper style. Those of you who want to skip the details can jump to “conclusions” below. I'm interested in your commentary, and I hope the results are useful to somebody. Anyway, I can sleep now, comfortable that the P-Sub I showed is authentic.

    Hypothesis: Polerouter Subs with a gap in the word "Genève" constitute a later, but authentic, variant of this watch.

    Methods: Internet image search was done on January 2, 2011 using search term "Polerouter Sub" on both Bing and Google. Results were analyzed regarding gap in the word "Genève," case type, movement, bezel font, and caseback markings, both on the inside and outside. Finds were carefully assessed to eliminate duplicate finds (same owner, watch particularities, etc), although duplicates remain a possible source of error.

    Results: 22 watches believed to be individual examples were identified. Of these, 19 had a gap in the word "Genève" and 3 did not. Another feature which distinguished these logos were that the points on the trident in "U" were sharper and better defined on the watches that did not have a gap in the word "Geneve."

    Of the 19 watches with a gap in the word "Genève," 19 were in straight lug cases with a brushed finish. 19 had a bezel with a relatively thick font. In 13 in which caseback outer markings could be assessed, 9 were plain, three had US Navy markings generally acknowledged to be fake, and one had US Federal Stock markings, also likely fake. In the 8 in which caseback inner markings could be assessed, there were three patterns, reading from top down as follows:
    type 1(3 examples) : Acier Inoxydable/SWISS/HF/(Universal logo)
    type 2 (4 examples): Brevet 238872/Brev.Dem./(cross)/Acier Inoxydable/(Universal logo)/SWISS
    type 3 (1 example): (Universal logo)/SWISS/Acier Inoxydable
    In the 11 watches in which movements could be assessed, these were movements were 4 x cal 215, 4 x cal. 215-2, 1xcal. 215-9, 2x cal. 1-69 and 1 x cal 69.

    Of the three watches with NO gap in the word "Genève," three were in curved lug cases with a polished finish, and all had a bezel with a relatively thin font. The one caseback pictured had small case numbers at the edge. The one interior caseback pictured corresponded to type 3 above. The single movement pictured was a cal. 215-9. Of note, all three of these watches had dot lume. In other words instead of the entire hour marked being filled with lume, only a small lume dot at its margin had been made.

    Conclusion: Internal consistencies in dial and bezel font, lume and case style suggest that there are two variants of the earliest iteration of the Polerouter Sub, one marked by a curved-lug case, dot lume, thin font bezel, and a dial inscription without the gap in the word "Genève," and the other marked by a straight-lug case, full lume, thick font bezel, and a dial inscription WITH gap in the word "Genève." The preponderance of the latter suggests that it is authentic despite the irregularity in the logo. Small sample size of the first variant prevents any conclusions regarding whether one preceded the other, or if they were produced concurrently.

    These pictures from Nikolaj (used with his permission) on another forum, which he took in a dealer’s shop, encapsulate the above nicely.



    Last edited by LouS; January 2nd, 2011 at 21:57.

  2. #2
    Member DaBaeker's Avatar
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    Re: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    OCD is an understatement. But I still found the origianl post and your 'research; interesting. Nice watch too. The prices keep going up for 2-crown divers worn as 'dressers' usually
    :ROLEX OMEGA LONGiNES ♦ SEIKO Aquadive ♦ ELGIN ♦ hamilton O&W imexZodiac......

  3. #3
    Member LouS's Avatar
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    Re: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    Quote Originally Posted by DaBaeker View Post
    OCD is an understatement.
    That's what happens to you when you work in the sciences. I'm hoping some of you will recognize and smile at the format, and maybe recognize the disordered mindset behind it, so not everyone will think I am off the deep end. I agree with you, DaB, it's definitely not normal.
    Last edited by LouS; January 3rd, 2011 at 02:34.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    Another neat bit of research Lou. This will be useful when (if ever) I find the right P-Sub.

    Dave

  6. #5
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    Quote Originally Posted by LouS View Post
    That's what happens to you when you work in the sciences. I'm hoping some of you will recognize and smile at the format, and maybe recognize the disordered mindset behind it, so not everyone will think I am off the deep end. I agree with you, DaB, it's definitely not normal.
    After hanging at HEQ for so many years, all this OCD seems pretty normal to me!
    "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!

  7. #6
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    Re: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    Lou, my friend! What fantastic piece of scientific research you did here! Your post is spot on in respect of my origínal question on another forum and I am grateful to you for your efforts and pleased that my picture was of some use to support your conclusion.

    I have myself been looking at a fair amount of pictures of PR Subs lately ( you know why ) but alas, I am nowhere as systematic as you. In searching I came across a watch with curved lugs and all the other features you mention above for this version - except that it has a Tiffany dial with full lume on the hour markers (as on the straight lug version). This could be the result of a re-lume though For your statistics, this particular watch was listed as having a cal 218-9 - which I suppose is a typo and really a 215-9, right?

    Anyway, thanks for your efforts Lou!

    Kind regards
    Nikolaj

  8. #7
    Member LouS's Avatar
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    Re: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    Hi Nikolaj,

    good to see you here - thanks for the kind words. Are you talking about that one that did not sell at the December Anitquorum auction? (http://catalog.antiquorum.com/catalo...&auctionid=243) I had forgotten about that one, and just had another look at it. It is out of the ordinary in many respects. The dial markings appear to be gilt, and "Polerouter Sub" is not even written on the dial, so I think it is not so surprising that the lume is atypical too. It may be part of a small series made for Tiffany & Co outside of the usual "rules" . Regarding the movement, I have certainly seen Antiquorum make mistakes, but a cal. 218-9 does exist. If it's in there, it might not be original to the watch.

    Thank you, BTW, for the use of your pix.
    Last edited by LouS; January 11th, 2011 at 13:47.

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    Re: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    yes, that's the one I had in mind. I wasn't too sure about forum rules regarding links or references to other so I didn't.

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    Re: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    Quote Originally Posted by LouS View Post
    In the 11 watches in which movements could be assessed, these were movements were 4 x cal 215, 4 x cal. 215-2, 1xcal. 215-9, 2x cal. 1-69 and 1 x cal 69.
    Hi again Lou,

    Having done a bit of studying on the UG movements recently it leaves me a bit puzzled that some of these Subs are fitted with cals 1-69 and 69 since these are fitted with a date function. Ok, it wouldn't be the first time in history that a date wheel was hidden under a dial without a window but it seems strange to install a date version when a non-date version is at hand (the cal 68).

    Also, I had the impression that the 69 and 1-69 were too high to be fitted from this (sales) post at another forum (I hope this is ok to post - watch has been sold): http://market.watchprosite.com/?show...lerouter%20sub

    I find it difficult to determine whether these different movements were in fact original to the watches. I think that UG really played around with combinatorics I have for instance come across different variations witing the same movement number, e.g. I have seen the cal 215 with: short regulator hand, long regulator hand and micrometer screw adjustment of the regulator.

    Do you know how many of these subs were made? I am beginning to wonder if there are even two identical

    All the best to you, Lou

    Nikolaj

  11. #10
    Member LouS's Avatar
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    Re: Polerouter Sub - the evidence for two early variants

    Tthe seller of the watch that you link to states that he swapped the movement, so certainly the 69 is not original to that watch. The UG microrotors are notoriously difficult to find replacement parts for, so I think substituting the whole movement as he has done happens with some frequency, especially since the movements are interchangeable with those in the less expensive regular Polerouters. I have also seen it written that UG was not terribly consistent about parts used over the length of a model's life, but I doubt they would have used a date movement in a nondate watch. I don't know how many examples of the Polerouter Sub were produced. Universal geneve cries out for a broadly conceived reference tome - the recent volume by Pietro Sala covers only the older complicated chronos like the Tri-compax, Dato-compax etc. so no help for Polerouter enthusiasts.

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