Despite being largely dormant since the late ‘80s, 2023 has proven to be a milestone year for Universal Geneve. Obviously, the brand’s acquisition by Breitling (read our in-depth coverage) is the largest news from Universal Geneve in years, but even before the announcement, enthusiasts and collectors have been heating up the market for important vintage references. With this in mind, it’s the perfect time for a detailed look into the brand and its history. The Polerouter, a new book co-written and independently published by Andrew Willis and Mattia Mazzucchi, is perhaps the most thorough, best-researched, and most elegantly presented history of Universal Geneve’s most iconic model – the Polerouter.

This 396-page, 305mm by 280mm book chronicles every step of the Universal Geneve Polerouter (originally rendered as Polarouter) and its legacy, from its origins as the official timepiece of Scandinavian Airlines System’s innovative transpolar flight route in 1954, all the way through the end of the series in the 1970s. Willis and Mazzucchi capture 120 of the best and most influential examples of the Polerouter’s history in crisp, richly printed photographs here, along with deeply informative technical information and meticulously researched context for each piece. The writers were given exclusive access to the Universal Geneve brand archives during the production of this book, and many of the technical drawings, production records, and advertising drafts have never before been shown to the public.

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In many ways, the history of the Universal Geneve Polerouter is the history of mid-20th-century watchmaking innovation, and The Polerouter insightfully and thoroughly tracks the Polerouter series’ advancements throughout the years. The move from bumper-style to micro-rotor automatic movements, the introduction of compressor dive cases to the lineup, and the evolution of Gérald Genta’s classic twisted lug case design are all given deep and illuminating attention here, alongside photographs and illustrations that compellingly tell the story of the series.

At a moment when Universal Geneve is poised to make its long-awaited return to the heights of the horological pantheon, The Polerouter by Andrew Willis and Mattia Mazzucchi is a timely, informative, and richly presented love letter to the brand’s most celebrated model. The Polerouter is available for purchase now directly through the publisher at an MSRP of £225 GBP. For more information, please visit the publisher’s website.

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