In 1954, Universal Genève approached a then young Gerald Genta to design a watch for pilots of the Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) to commemorate their polar flights between Europe and the United States. The watch also needed to be anti-magnetic to overcome the extreme magnetic fields present in the North Pole. Genta took this design brief and created the Polerouter—a distinctive new watch marked by bombé lugs, a textured inner index ring, and a dateless dial. The design proved to be a huge success and spawned a whole line of variants including the Polerouter Jet, Polerouter De Luxe, Polerouter Sub, and the immensely popular Polerouter Date with a trapezoidal date window. In recent years, the Polerouter has become an increasingly appreciated watch and is now a staple recommendation for vintage enthusiasts, especially the black dial version with a date window like the one here. What sets this particular example apart though is a very special engraving on the caseback. It reads, in Danish:
Tak for godt samarbejde
The message essentially translates to "Thanks for the good work with us” from colleagues at the Scandinavian Tobacco Company. A remarkable detail given the Polerouter's origins with a certain other Scandinavian company.
Universal Genève 218-2
Molequin smooth cognac calfskin strap with tang buckle
Max Wrist Size:
Hand model has a wrist size of 6.2 in
UNWORN: Case is pristine with no signs of use. Original stickers may still be present. Dial, hands, and lume have no imperfections and may show natural, even aging.
MINT: Case has only a few superficial hairlines. Lugs are thick, full, and sharp with superb finishing. Dial, hands, and lume may have micro imperfections visible only with a loupe.
EXCELLENT: Case has very light scratches or nicks. Lugs are thick, full, and well-defined. Dial and hands may have imperfections visible upon close inspection. Lume is fully intact and may show slight discoloration.
VERY GOOD: Case may have a few moderate scratches or nicks. Lugs are thick and full but may have softened edges. Dial and hands may have light stains or marks. Lume may have cracks or discoloration.
GOOD: Case has many scratches and nicks. Lugs may show signs of moderate polishing with worn edges. Dial and hands may have noticeable stains or marks. Lume may be damaged or show significant discoloration.
Case: The case is strong and the edges remain fairly sharp. The watch shows normal signs of wear for a 60-year-old watch with numerous hairlines, nicks, and small scratches present on the case, bezel, and caseback. The original caseback engravings, including the Polerouter logo, are faintly visible and were likely polished away to allow for the custom message to be engraved.
Dial, Hands, & Crystal: The glossy black dial is remarkably clean and all lume plots are a nice, creamy shade of yellow. When exposed to UV light, both dial and hands briefly glow the same color and then quickly fade. The crystal is in excellent condition and contains the trapezoidal cyclops to match the date window.
Bracelet/Strap: The Molequin Smooth Cognac Calfskin strap is brand new.
Functions: All functions including the crown-winding, time-setting, and date-switching are working as expected.
Service History: Unknown.