Universal Genève 'Compax Nina Rindt' wristwatch

Numa-Emile Descombes and Ulysse Georges Perret founded Universal Genève in 1894. Their aim was to create complicated timepieces with movements manufactured in-house, something rather rare for the time. In 1917, Universal Genève introduced the world's first wrist worn chronograph, which led to Universal's chronograph era. Throughout the 1930s and 1950s, Universal manufactured some of the most iconic timepieces in the world. The introduction of the Compax, Aero-Compax, Tri-Compax, Polerouter and Microtor revolutionized the Swiss watch industry. Universal was the first maker of a wristwatch with two chronograph pushers. 

Model Nina Rindt wearing her Universal Genève 'Compax' wristwatch. Image via italianwatchspotter.com

The Universal Genève Compax model became famous after being worn by the iconic model Nina Rindt, wife of the Formula One Driver Joachim Rindt who tragically died during a practice session in Monza. The watch then became the triple register “Nina Rindt” chronograph, much like the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona. Both watches have the mythic caliber Valjoux 72 and present similarities, like the tachymeter bezel, pushers, size of the case, up to a point that people could mistake one for the other.