Finds Vintage

An Oversized Universal Genéve 22430 Compax

Massive watch proportion usually correlates to Audi ownership and a title beginning with “manager of”. Just consider MVMT, TW Steel, and the U-boat startup thing; you get the gist. However, there is another way: massive proportion with proportional elegance. It’s a rare thing, but it does exist. I can only imagine a few offhand (the oversized 570, a few Big Pilots, the Swiss Air) and I’m already grasping for straws. Today’s offering fits precisely in the latter company. Universal’s compax might be one of the best looking wristwatches ever made. When its proportion is scaled up, that doesn’t belittle the design. Size here only amplifies initial brilliance.

Let me first address the elephant in the room. The 22430 gets a bad wrap, for the simple reason that one of its previous owners was named Hermann Göring. That evil bastard left a mark in horology as well. But I’d like to make it clear the the 22430 was a victim and the design itself shouldn’t be married to its tainted history.

The Compax, introduced in 1935, was the first chronograph with hour and minute registers. At WW2’s outset, an oversized reference was released. This Compax found its way to both sides of the battle. There were black dials, silvered dials, and slight variations in hands and lume plotting. Otherwise, it’s a very simple stroke of genius.

The oversized Compax is a pretty rare thing in this market. The example today comes from Menta Watches. It is thankfully unpolished and original. The are a few spots where its age is just beginning to show. The hands have two small flakes. There’s a little spotting developing in the registers. The lume plot at 1 is beginning to grey. However, all features that make the Compax what it is still shine strong through the years of wear. If anything, its faults speak to this example’s honesty. The asking price is steep compared to previous examples, but it’s a market of one. If you’re making the investment, it’s not a bad choice. You also receive piece of mind in a respected dealer and one of the best 292 movement conditions I’ve seen.

Find it here for 42000 USD.