Universal Genève Uni-Compax "Big Eye"
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
Why We Love It
Much has been written (on this site and others) on the early history of the Universal Geneve, it’s the sporty versions from the 1960s that attract the most attention with collectors today. There’s one, in particular, that causes heart palpitations at the mere mention of its catchy nickname.
We mean, of course, the “Big Eye.”
Released in the 1960s, the Reference 884100/02 is a cousin to the popular “Nina Rindt” (reference 885103/02). The screw-back case is a sporty 37mm, a good 2mm larger than the Rindt variants, and stands out with its long straight lugs which are reminiscent of the Heuer Carrera and early Speedmasters such as the “Ed White.”
The “Big Eye” is so-called because of the oversized register at 3 o’clock, a quirky design touch that truly makes it seem as though the watch is winking at you.
Universal Genève made the “Big Eye” Uni-Compax in two variations, one with a black dial (Reference 884100/01) and the white dial version featured here.
Either variant is truly rare, but the white-dialed one is the most elusive -indeed, we’ve only had the opportunity to offer a couple of other examples.
This particular “Big Eye” boasts a case with extremely sharp lugs, an extraordinarily crisp dial, and lovely light patination. On a brick-link bracelet (not original, but a great addition), the watch is every bit an accessory that a sporting man or woman of taste would certainly want in their stable, and is absolutely worthy of the "grail" moniker commonly applied by enthusiasts!
Universal Genève was founded in 1894 by Numa-Emile Descombes and Ulysse George Perret. In the brand's earliest days, it established itself as a manufacturer of in-house movements of exceptional quality. Universal Genève was also among the first watch manufacturers to specialize in wristwatches. In 1897, Louis Eduoard Berthoud--noted designer of complicated watch movements--joined the company. This ensured Universal Genève's supremacy in the development of complicated watches in the 20th Century.
It was under Berthoud's leadership that the brand's reputation as a producer of chronographs was solidified. Chronographs, in particular--namely the Compur and the Compax lines--attracted the attention of watch aficionados, aviators, and militaries around the world. Even the Royal Family of the Netherlands issued a royal charter for Universal Genève to outfit the Dutch military with its chronographs.
Universal Genève was once responsible for some of the most beautiful dress watches and chronographs from the mid-20th century. From the purpose-driven to the ornate, UG had a touch all its own and breathed incredible beauty and craftsmanship into every piece they produced.
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 Uni-Compax "Big Eye"