22705/1 Universal Genève Compax
The humble three-register chronograph: executed by many, yet perfected by few. I am not claiming that the 22705/1 is a perfect chronograph, within Universal that’s probably something we call Nina. Outside of Universal, that title usually goes by 1463, 6263, or 2915. However, I am saying that outside of this triumvirate, it is one of the best ever to do the damn thing. The 36mm lyre case, blued tachymetre scale, radially brushed dial with sunken subs, and manual, working-class masterpiece that is the column-wheel Valjoux 72 ooze vintage charm. If you want a steel chronograph with no frills, a considered design, and honest value far away from hype, I’d offer this as a consideration.
The original Compax watches were purposeful chronographs with a reference time complication derived from aviation. However, in the early 60s, Universal exploded with creativity. The classically handsome aviator’s chronograph evolved to include the Aero-Compax, Tri-Compax Clapton, Nina, Space-Compax, and so much more. This chronograph-only single Compax started out as the reference 222101/1 with a Martel 281 and later evolved to this 22705/1 with a V72.
This base Compax featured a two-body 36mm water resistant case and lyre lugs, a proportion as rare as it is perfect. This was paired with a radially grained dial featuring straight indices (except a U at 12), luminous dauphine hands/plots, and a 30 minute interval register. The blued tachy scale perfectly sets off the blued steel seconds hand and has led many to draw parallels to the 6234 pre-Daytona with a similar aesthetic. Yet, the ask is a fraction of that Wilsdorf peer.
This example sports a sharp case with nothing out of place. The shield-signed crown is correct, its dial is uncorroded, and the movement is said to be running well. It comes from a well-regarded Vietnamese retailer.
Find this 22705/1 here from Spacetime Vintage Watches for 5600 USD.