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Universal Genève Aero-Compax 24H, a classico (AWW 48)

6613 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  brenguy


Name: Universal Genève Aero-Compax 24H
Reference: 882.424/3970 (white dial) 882.424/9370 (black dial)
Movement: UG 82 mechanical manual wind chronograph
Dial: White dial with arabic numerals, luminous hands and hour markers, subdials 60 second, 30 minute and 12 hour
Case: all stainless steel with screw case back, unidirectional rotating bezel with 24H scale
Size: 41 mm diameter without crown, 44 mm with crown, 48 mm lug to lug
Height: 13 mm
Lugs: 20 mm
Text on dial: [UG logo] UNIVERSAL GENÈVE AERO-COMPAX T Swiss Made T
Water-resistance: 10 ATM
Crown: signed crown at 3, chronograph buttons at 2 and 4
Crystal: flat sapphire crystal
Bracelet: crocodile strap with contrast stitching, signed deployment buckle


Universal Genève Aero-Compax 24H is a representative of rare species - true 24H chronograph. Universal Genève is one of the finest brands in pure 24H watches market at all. You can argue with me, but I think that UG is much closer to the high end than Fortis or Glycine. In auctions you can find Aero-Compax 24H quite often and the prices can be as good as USD 1100 for NOS watch with box and papers.

Universal Genève was a great watch brand. Some classic models like Tri-Compax and Polerouter are much sought. Good read on UG is Lost to Time: Universal Geneve. Very sad, that "the company still technically exists but hasn't produced anything since 2008."
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In 1936 UG introduced the name "compax".

"Compax" originally referred to a complicated watch with a chronograph function. Universal and Zenith "Tri-Compax" watches had three complications (chronograph, calendar, and moon phase) along with running seconds arranged in four sub-dials on the face. Today these terms are commonly used to refer to the subdial arrangement itself rather than the number of complications!
A 24H chronograph watch was first time produced by Universal Genève in 1960s. Universal Genève catalog:
The 24 Hour Compax , created in 1969 by Universal Genève was an instant success with pilots thanks to its unique system that allowed users to read time in a second time zone based on the distance travelled.
These 24H Aero-Compax watches from 60s are today usually very expensive and you have to pay several thousands of dollars or euros for them.

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As you can see the dials in 60s and 90s are almost identical. It is still easy to distinguish them. In the 60s "Aero-Compax" is written over the subdial at 6. In the 90s "Aero-Compax" is in the upper half of dial, below Universal Genève. (Of course there are several minor differences more, the subdials are different etc.)

Nice old thread in our forum is mmlife presented nice 60s Aero-Compax used by his father professionally in Royal New Zealand Air Force and Quantas.

Actually, there were several different models of Aero-Compax 24h in the 60s. If you are more interested, take a look at Late Aero-Compax typology. Very good is also Squirrel Bites - Late Aero-Compax. Pictured above is the "classic" Aero-Compax from 60s, which was replicated in the 90s.

In 1967 UG was bought by Bulova and thereafter they switched to electronic watch movements.

In 1998, under new owners (Stelux Holdings since 1989), UG decided to replicate the 60s successful Aero-Compax 24H. Again, UG catalog from 1999:
The latest version of the 24 Hour Compax presented at Basel 1998 is a replica of the original 1969 version with its unidirectional turning bezel graduated 1 to 24 hours. The timepiece reflects the spirit of the original watch and possesses the same sober design and unique characteristics. The current version has been enhanced using the technology of our times.
Other than the usual chronograph functions, the 24 Hour Compax has the originality of a 24 hour dial hence its name. Time is read not on a twelve hour dial but on a 24 hour dial which implies an added complication to the movement. Furthermore the unidirectional bezel is engraved with a 24-hour clock i.e. from one to twenty-four. This special bezel indicates the time in the second time zone.
The 24 Hour Compax is available with a hand-winding UG 82 movement, stainless steel case, ivory or black dial with Arabicnumbers, sapphire crystal, crocodile leather strap and a fold-over buckle.
This newer Aero-Compax was offered by UG from 1998 until 2002 in two versions - with white or black dial (catalog pictures). Usually you can find a white one. The black one appears not so often.

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Old auction pictures of a nice Aero-Compax with Breitling bracelet and original box and papers.

I got my Aero-Compax without box and papers but with original UG crocodile strap and buckle. If I can find some very nice NOS watch with full tags, then from one side I'm happy, because the possible reselling is much easier. Ad like a last miser I'm holding my nice collection items in drawer. For everyday wearing are only second hand watches I have. So, actually I'm very happy that I got a 2nd hand Aero-Compax. I'm wearing it quite often. Again one item in my heavy rotation list.

The quality of assembly or details is not disputable, of course. The only question for some users can be that hands and dial are not contrast to each other and therefore the legibility is suffering. Here you can see a custom modification where the original hands are replaced.

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For me the original dial and hands are OK and I'm really happy with this watch.

Some words about the movement. UG was famous for several very interesting in-house movements. In this case, UG 82 mechanical chronograph movement, as it was named by UG, is actually a Lemania 1873. Very nice thread with good pictures is

The Aero-Compax presented here is solid and serious watch from renowned Universal Genève. Especially the 90s model. You can call it almost affordable (in a sense of UG). Only a very few can afford other Aero-Compax generations, from 60s and 2006.


Last Aero-Compax by UG was Okeanos Aero-Compax. The limited model (60 in stainless steel, 40 rose gold, 10 yellow gold) was produced in last years of UG existence, 2006-2008. With same hand wind movement ( reference UG 82.1 ). This watch can be very expensive, up to 17,000 $.

Nice short review of Okeanos Aero-Compax.

UG catalog:
Okeanos Aero-Compax
In the 1990s, Universal Genève introduced an entirely revised version of its Aero-Compax, first launched during World War II. In tribute to this second edition, the Okeanos Aero-Compax is equipped with a manual-winding chronograph (UG 82.1) displaying 24 hours on two zones marked off along the 3 - 9 o'clock axis: the day (from 7 am to 5 pm) appearing in the upper par of the dial, and the night (from 6 pm to 6 am) on the lower part. The transparent sapphire crystal case-back enables one to admire the hand-made movement decorations.

A star sparkles at the centre of the model, lighting up the three counters arranged like planets around the elegant dial. The chronograph functions are respectively displayed at 3 o'clock for the 30-minute counter, at 6 o'clock for the 12-hour counter, complemented by small seconds at 9 o'clock and chronograph seconds in the centre.

The Okeanos Aero-Compax is available in two versions: steel with anthracite dial on hand-sewn crocodile leather strap ( in a limited edition of 60); 18-carat yellow or pink gold with anthracite dial on hand-sewn crocodile leather strap (in a limited edition of 50).
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My Universal Genève Aero-Compax 24H:

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That was my white dial with the blued omega broadarrow hands (which improved visibility quite a bit). Any of the Omega hands for the 1873 Speedmaster Pros fit this watch.

I also had a modified black dial, with orange Speedy hands....And a titanium X-33 bracelet!


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The hands were less than $100 and it was less than $100 to put them in (I always had Jack Alexyon at IWW do the work). Yeah, I sold both watches, unfortunately.
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