The Universal Genève Polerouter Gets the Reference Treatment in a Gorgeous New Book Covering the Enormous Breadth of the Collection

From the early Polarouters, Willis and Mazzucchi move on to examining later examples of the Polerouter, broken down largely by movement type. The Polerouter famously transitioned from using early automatic “bumper” movements to automatic calibers powered by a micro-rotor early in its history, and the book contains extensive information on the calibers used, using original schematics from the time, often accompanied by French and German annotations. It’s not necessary to be bilingual, however, to grasp that Universal Geneve was interested in highlighting the watch’s thinness during this period, touting it as the “thinnest self winding watch in the world” and the caliber as the “the greatest technical advance in thirty years.”

Something that becomes clear as you move through the book is the absolutely enormous variety of watches that were made under the Polerouter banner. Each of us probably has a definitive Polerouter that comes to mind when the watch is mentioned, but no matter what that watch actually is, there are dozens of variants and alternatives out there to discover, and this book does a fantastic job of putting a spotlight on some references that are truly rare. A personal favorite section of the book for me is the chapter dedicated to the Polerouter De Luxe references, a subcollection of dressier Polerouters in solid gold. Willis and Mazzucchi highlight a number of apparently unique Polerouters made for customers in the Middle East, with enamel dials featuring portraits and maps. Seeing these extremely rare (and ultra formal) examples of the Polerouter alongside far sportier references like the Polerouter Sub help us understand that the Polerouter was almost a brand within a brand at Universal Geneve. The obvious comparison to watches in the current landscape would be to Omega’s Seamaster, which in certain guises is an elegant, dressy watch that can be worn easily with a suit, and in others is a pure dive tool. But they all say “Seamaster” on the dial, just as these watches all say “Polerouter.” 

The Polerouter is now available to purchase via a dedicated website right here. And if the Polerouter is a new discovery for you, be sure to check out our own coverage of the watch over the years, starting here and continuing here and here.

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