Universal Polerouter SubApollo XVII, the last manned moon landing to date, returns to Earth with 250 pounds of lunar samples
1967 Universal Polerouter SUB Compressor.
The Polerouter Sub is one of the Compressor Watches belonging to the family of the Legendary Divers as the Longines, IWC ref. 812 and JLC Polaris, it shares the same conception, architecture of the 42 mm. case and was used during the 1960s by French, US and Royal Navy.
The Polerouter was designed by Gerald Genta, in the first 15 years of production, Polerouter had many variations like Polerouter Jet, Polerouter Date and Polerouter NS. It was also the favorite model of the Scandinavian pilots who flew over the Arctic because of its durability in harsh conditions extreme low temperatures and fluctuating altitudes.
The Super Compressor watch case was patented in 1956 and manufactured by Ervin Piquerez SA (EPSA) for almost two decades. Most of the Super Compressors can be identified by their twin crowns and internal rotating timing ring.
The name actually referred to the cases sealing technology, which made use of a spring-loaded case-back that sealed tighter as external water pressure increased.
EPSA’s logo was a stylized diving helmet and could be found either on the outside or inside of the case-back. The crowns are typically cross-hatched, oversized and thick, making it easier to operate them under water.
Over 100 different brands used one of the many variations of SC cases. Some notable brands used the dual crown design, including: Jaeger leCoultre, Longines, Universal Geneve, IWC and Blancpain.
The first ever specialized diving watches were the Panerai, used by the Italian frogmen in the Second World War. Actually they were Rolex 3646s with special dials made by Panerai.
Right after WWII, two French combat diving corps started to search for a military grade diving watch, big and easy to read underwater, hermetically sealed and capable to absorb shocks – this helped Blancpain to develop the legendary Fifty Fathoms introduced in 1953. The transformation of the simple water resistant watch to the tool diver watch happened at that exact point. The next year Rolex launched perhaps the most famous diver watch of them all, the Rolex Submariner; from that point most of the Swiss companies started to shift their attention towards the sea, trying to produce reliable underwater-capable wristwatches.
Founded in 1894 Universal watches are highly disputed among collectors especially for their classic chronographs.
Shortly before the beginning of World War II Universal seized an opportunity to create two wristwatch models: the Compur (in 1933) and the Aero-Compax (in 1936).
In 1941 Universal inaugurates a new ultra-modern production site, built within less than six months to make the new Aero-Compax chronometer for pilot’s along with other chronometer models, three years later the Universal Tri-Compax was introduced at Basel Watch Fair for the company’s 50th anniversary.
Universal also collaborated with the French fashion brand Hermes and designed a series of chronographs named Pour Hermes. Incidentally, Hermes was responsible for being the major sales hub for Universal in Europe until the 1950s. Twenty years later, the company was one of the few to introduce the quartz movement, which led to automatic watches.
The most notable changes occurred to the 60’s Compax, with the use of a water-resistant-type case with screw back cases, as opposed to the early models with snap on case backs. These water-resistant cases had round pushers (early models had square-shaped pushers).