Universal Genève Medico-Compax
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
Founded in Le Locle in 1894, Universal Genève established itself from its earliest days as a manufacturer of in-house movements of exceptional quality. The acquisition of movement designer and complications expert Louis Eduoard Berthoud in 1897 ensured Universal Genève's supremacy in the development of complicated watches into the 20th Century. By the 1930s, Universal Genève recognized a need for chronograph wristwatches for military and motorsport applications.
The brand answered that need with the introduction of the Compur in 1933 and the popular Compax line in 1936. It's with these chronographs that Universal Genève excelled and gained notoriety, even in exalted circles. Their Compax line of chronographs quickly attracted the attention of some of Europe's elite, including the Dutch royal family, who in 1939 granted a royal warrant to Universal Genève to supply chronographs to the Dutch military.
The Compax came in many dial configurations over its lifespan, with two, three, or even four registers. The "Nina Rindt" Compax, with its distinctive black and white or "panda" dial coloring, is perhaps the most famous and desirable of these chronographs--especially the later versions with reverse panda or even exotic dial coloring. The panda Tri-Compax, with its association with guitarist Eric Clapton, has attained an almost mythical reputation among vintage chronograph collectors.
But the humble Uni-Compax, with its twin chronograph registers at three and nine o'clock--the register at 3 being the minutes counter for the chronograph--remains a perennial favorite. Perhaps the most interesting of these Compaxes are those with unusual applications. The Medico-Compax, introduced in the late 1940s, features a unique scale on the outer edge of the dial: a pulsometer or pulsograph. Designed for those in the medical profession, a pulsometer measures heartbeats per minute on a scale of 15 to 30 heart beats. To calculate a patient's pulse, the wearer would stop the chronograph at the patient's 15th or 30th heartbeat, and the patient's pulse would then be indicated on the dial without any additional calculations necessary.
Pulsometer scales have been appearing on watches in recent years, most notably by Blancpain and Longines. But there's something to be said for the charm of this vintage piece, with its handsome 18k rose gold case at a comfortable 37mm, large for the period, and its dial aged to a handsome patina. Whether you're a doctor or a nurse, or just desire a chronograph with an unusual function, it would certainly be an interesting (and rare!) addition to your collection.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Universal Genève Medico-Compax