869109/01 Universal Genève Polerouter Sub
Nothing gets me like attention to detail. It’s why it hits so wrong when Ben Affleck sports a modern Deepsea in Argo while everything else was perfectly 70s. It’s why James Bond’s undersized NATO makes my nails itch. It’s also why I love the fact that this trapezoidal date window is matched in the crystal to perfectly mirror the other indices. And that there’s a little trident running through the ‘U’ of ‘POLEROUTER SUB’. What a shame Universal has left us, they made their own font for a detail most people won’t even notice.
An evolution of Genta’s early brainchild, the Polerouter Sub took the genius calibre 69 micro-rotor and gave it some serious dive chops. It was introduced in 1960 and basically lasted the decade. It has some of the most 60s design elements you’ll see on a diver, with a red crosshair dial and massive tritium real estate on the hands. For no reason at all, the 12, 6, and 9 have doubled up tritium pips. And then there’s the 37.5mm case, a great size with a big old crown. This isn’t a no-nonsense diver, there’s a lot of individualistic frill here but it works. Including the original five-link Gay Freres bracelet.
Mostly though, this Sub is a value. Any period Submariner or Seamaster 300 will run you double the ask of this UG. It’s difficult to find reasonable entry points to vintage today, but this is one. The first iteration, known as the Polerouter Sub Super Compressor, and following bakelite bezel iterations with an asymmetric case are both a little more costly. And here’s the real rub: this one’s no less excellent, just a little more common. But definitely not in this condition.
The case is full, the dial is incredible, and the movement’s just been serviced. Should be noted that the bezel pip was likely relumed. It comes from a well-regarded London retailer.
Find this Polerouter Sub here from Mann About Time for 4850 GBP.