Finds Vintage

885103/02 ‘Nina Rindt’ Universal Genève Compax

Nina-Rindt-Universal-Genève-885103/02

In the pantheon of Universal Genève, three stand above the rest: they are the Big Eye, the Clapton, and this: Nina Rindt. Of all Compax chronographs, this humble Valjoux 72 is almost certainly the most desirable. Surprisingly rare, beautiful in detail, and with a well-photographed tragic love story of a history. The Nina represents an intersection of many of things watch collectors tend to love: Universal Genève, pinnacle motorsport, a fashion icon, and manual, Valjoux 72 chronographs. In all honesty, I’m not sure it gets any better.

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UG’s ref. 885103/02, the traditional ‘Nina Rindt’, was famed for both its attractive panda dial and the fact that it was photographed, famously, looking extremely beautiful on the wrist of Nina Rindt, supermodel and widow to the late F1 Champion Jochen Rindt (who was tragically lost after crashing while absolutely rinsing Parabolica corner at Monza for all it was worth in free practice). Its rise to fame has been a gradual one over the past two decades, mainly appreciated by watch collectors past a certain level of nerd (all of us). While many dismissed the UG Compax for being too simplistic and a bit too Daytona-adjacent (as if that were a bad thing) in the last century, scholarship and a general increasing appreciation for the excellence UG achieved through their pre-quartz-crisis run has seen the Nina Rindt become a highly collected cult classic in recent years. 

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Then there’s its inherent charm: a 36.5mm case with lyre lugs, stark panda dial, those overly-thick subdial hands, oversized ‘U’ crown signature, and the distinct handset shape. Moreover, the bezel is metal with a printed metal insert, not the plastic you’d see on a black bezel Daytona. The Nina had a short run, from just 1964-1967. Those with serial numbers below 2.45m, such as this example, have what is known as the ‘early’ dial, with an applied ‘U’ at 12 rather than printing. A small detail, but one which when combined with the condition makes this example one of the most attractive to come to market in some time. And, if you wanted a cherry on top, it has its full set.

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Let’s talk about the case first. Lugs are sharp, its caseback serial is still visible. The original UG buckle is included, as is the full set (almost unheard of). It is running well and not in need of service. It even includes its original strap. This Nina comes to market from a well-regarded German retailer. It won’t last.

Find this Nina Rindt here from Rarebirds for 27500 EUR.

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