Universal Genève 18k Watch Case

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by ca18thc, Feb 21, 2020.

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  1. ca18thc

    ca18thc Registered User

    Feb 21, 2020
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    This is my first post, my name is Steve. I am from Bel Air, Maryland. I have always been interested In vintage/antique clocks and watches. I found a beautiful Universal Genève 18k solid gold watch case in a can of nails and screws in my Mother-in-law’s garage when I was doing some work on her house. She gave me the watch case and I would like to restore it with the appropriate movement. Surprisingly it is in beautiful condition. The serial number of the case is 1261407. It also has the number 10752 under the serial number. I believe the first #1 is for the 18k gold case. Do the rest of the numbers indicate which movement was originally in the case? The inside dimension is 28.4 mm. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Steve
     
  2. ca18thc

    ca18thc Registered User

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    Here are some photos of the watch case. Thanks again, Steve

    69F0E79C-04B7-4267-A2A7-FE018FCEDA02.jpeg 569D11C1-C909-4DBF-84A6-6A9CAB33C826.jpeg E44931CF-2841-416E-B716-FBE2501ED65C.jpeg
     
  3. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    It would probably be best to get the dimension across the back opening of the case once the cover is removed. That is probably where any case screws would be fastened. If the 28.4mm dimension is this dimension, you're probably looking for a 12-13 ligne movement by the maker Universal Geneve. You are further ahead than most by having the case without a movement. A movement will be much easier to find than a legitimate 18k case that is maker-marked, hallmarked, etc.

    By the looks of the case, I'd say it's from the late fifties or early sixties or so. I'm not sure if that serial number on the back will be of any help, but it might be. Maybe that will offer a hint of what movement should go in? Unlikely, but possible.

    If you go to Dr. Ranfft's movement archive and scroll down to "Universal", look at the 12.5'" (ligne) automatic movements. They MAY be a good match, depending on actual size of case where movement is held. Good luck.

    bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements
     
  4. ca18thc

    ca18thc Registered User

    Feb 21, 2020
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    I appreciate your insight. I looked up the serial number on Wrist Chronology and they show the case as 1945 production. The 28.4 mm measurement is the inside dimension taken with a veneer caliper with the back off. If anyone has additional information I would appreciate it. My father in law passed away and I hope to restore the watch correctly and give it to my son as a family heirloom from his grandfather. Thanks again, Steve
     
  5. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    #5 MrRoundel, Feb 22, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
    Interesting that the case is that early. Certainly possible though. If that's the case, so to speak, then perhaps one of the bumper automatics that were made in the late forties? I think it has to be a 12.5'" size, so those might be your best bet for a good match.May not be an easy find, but "findable".

    That wristchronology is an interesting resource. Thanks for posting it. That said, I don't know how dependable those number are on the back of the case for identifying the year of the the movement. I guess someone with Universal Geneve experience can tell you if the number your looking it would match the movement that was inside? It does have what might be the right amount of digits. I just don't know the answer to that.

    Maybe your MIL can recall if the watch was a self-winding type? Any such info would help. Cheers.
     
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  6. Chris Radek

    Chris Radek Registered User
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    Marks from case screws or movement clamps might reveal themselves upon very close examination of the soft gold. These might be good clues too. I think 1945 seems too early considering both the case style and movement size. It feels unlikely to me.
     
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  7. ca18thc

    ca18thc Registered User

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    Thanks good idea. I looked for the movement mounting marks as you suggested and I didn’t see anything. I looked again using a jewelers loupe and still saw nothing.

    In another thread I found an almost identical complete watch with the movement which also dates to 1945. It’s case number is 10742 mine is 10752. Unfortunately, there are no pics with the back off.

    I copied the following from Wrist Chronology:
    Year of production Serial numbers
    1945 1946 1.200.000 - 1.300.000
    My serial number is 1261407 which falls in the middle of the 1945-46 range. Thanks for the helpful tips.

    Steve
     
  8. ca18thc

    ca18thc Registered User

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    The following link will take you to the other Universal Genève 18k watch like mine dated 1945:

    Universal Geneve
     
  9. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    #9 MrRoundel, Feb 22, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
    You've got good investigative skills, I must say, ca18thc. That case looks like a great match for yours. And that you found it here on the NAWCC MB is very cool.

    The dial on the watch that's in the images does look like a late forties to early fifties style to me. There's also no indication that the movement is an automatic. And IIRC, the Universal Geneves on Dr. Ranfft's site that were 12.5 lignes seemed to be automatics of some type. I'll go look again. At t his point I suspect that it's a manual wind watch, FWIW.

    Caliber 267 a likely candidate, but it is a 12 1/4 ligne, a bit shy of your dimension. Good luck.
     
  10. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    Thickness of movement is another consideration. It seems that Universal used Movado movements for the autos and they didn't start until 1966.
     
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  11. ca18thc

    ca18thc Registered User

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    Thanks Mr Roundel, I appreciate you getting me pointed in the right direction. Dr. Ranfft's movement archive Is a great resource. As you suggested, the Universal Genève automatic bumper movement should fit the case, but I don’t think they were making them until 1948. That may be close enough, but I agree with you that the original movement was probably a manual wind. If you owned the watch case would you go with an early bumper automatic or the manual wind? Steve
     
  12. ca18thc

    ca18thc Registered User

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    I measure the inside depth at the edge of the case as 6mm. I think that should be deep enough for an automatic if I decide to go in that direction, Thank you, Steve
     
  13. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    At some point it's going to be a bit of trial and error, methinks. It looks like there are caliber 267 movements available on that big online auction site. As I said, the case is the hard part today, especially karat gold cases. IIWIYS (If....Your Shoes) I'd buy an inexpensive C267, with case screws present, and see if it works. If it did, and was a nice fit overall, I'd grab the nicest one I could find. As an added bonus, it it works out well you can give your son a parts watch to go along with the heirloom. Parts are probably not going to get easier to find. Unless gold goes over $2,000 an ounce, at which point movements will be everywhere. At least for a while. JMHO.
     
  14. ca18thc

    ca18thc Registered User

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    Thank you for all your help! I will look for a 267 movement as you suggested. I see the 267 was made in 1945 so it should be correct for the case which is important to me. That’s a great idea to purchase an inexpensive example to check for fit and save it for a parts movement. I do like sub second movements but I don’t see a Universal Genève sub second listed in the correct size so it looks like the 267 is the best option, Cheers, Steve
     
  15. ca18thc

    ca18thc Registered User

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    I wanted to post an update on my Universal Genève watch project. On a whim, I e-mailed Universal Genève with my watch case’s serial number and photos. To my surprise, they replied very quickly, confirming that my watch was manufactured in 1946 and originally had a calibre 263 UG movement. I never expected to get a reply but was pleased that they answered my questions and have offered to continue be be a resource as I restore the watch. UG has shown exceptional customer service promptly answering three e-mails in quick succession. I now plan to source a 1946 UG 263 movement and dial or non precious metal donor watch from a local pawn shop or e-bay. The donor watch may be my best option as it will include the ring spacer and the face will have been protected from shelf wear. I will post photos when the project is completed. Thank you to all who have helped especially Mr. Roundel for his guidance. Steve
     
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  16. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    That's great that the company provided you with the exact movement to make it as correct as it can be. I'll have to check out the C263 to see the difference from the C267.

    YW for any assistance I gave. It's fun to participate in such endeavors. I hope you get your movement soon and are able to give the complete watch to your son with some ceremony. Thanks for the update. Good luck.
     
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