Of the last decade, Universal’s Polerouter has slowly shifted from being a niche enthusiast’s micro-rotor to a foundational reference of attainable watch collecting. No one will argue that this is not deserved; the Genta-designed aesthetic is graceful as they come, the movement is technically impressive, and the dial is bewitching. For all its merits which are numerous, the Polerouter remains a watch of people in value. And yet, it is undoubtedly one of the most desirable wristwatches to ever stand the test of time.
The Polerouter was released in honor of a first flight over the North Pole, hence the title. Perhaps more impressive that that feat, though, was its calibre. When one goes deep enough into watches, they tend to polarize on the subject of micro rotors. It is hard to keep them fully wound, they require more attention. To me, that’s half the charm. I feel mechanical sympathy on a fundamentally deeper level when I have to look after the calibre attentively. Universal’s innovation was this Polerouter’s caliber 218 micro-rotor auto, where burying the winding mass allowed for a thinner overall profile. This, in conjunction with graceful lug design, creates a beautiful harmony of form following function that aids this Polerouter’s charm. The 35mm case on this example houses a silver dial with date complication. The crosshair design nicely offsets what is a highly quirky date aperture. No doubt, a near-perfect watch. And not unreasonable, even today.
This example has strong wear but has never seen a polish, exactly how I love to see these. This is a watch to be worn and not stashed away. Its dial is clear of degradation and all tritium applications have a lovely honey tone about them. It comes on its original gay freres bracelet, from a well-regarded German retailer.
Find this Polerouter Date here from Rarebirds for 3400 EUR.