Service: Universal Geneve calibre: 138SS

IMG_3746I have soft spot for old bumper automatics, so I have no problems adding a Universal Geneve to my collection. The watch is not ticking and the case is in need of replating.IMG_0793I start of by taking the movement out of the case and sending the case off for replating. The dial is not perfect but still has a nice look to it.IMG_0795The movement is in good condition. Someone has been testing the winding mechanism using a screwdriver scratching the surface of the weight. Something you too often find in bumper automatics.  IMG_0796I remove the weight and the auto winder bridge revealing more of the base movement.IMG_1612I like that the way the rotor axle is jeweled. IMG_1613Sweep second hand pinion is held in place by a tension spring, not my favourite construction, but it does the trick.IMG_1616The balance and pallet fork removed.IMG_1621Gear train visible. There is some solidified grease here and there, but nothing to bad.IMG_1625The mainspring has seen better days. IMG_1624The bottom plate and setting mechanism. IMG_1877After cleaning the movement, it has a new shine to it! Here testing that the balance moves freely.IMG_1878An unusual feature is the setting lever being fastened from the top plate.IMG_1879New mainspring correct size 1.35 x 8.0 x 0.09 x 250mm.IMG_1880The setting mechanism back in place.IMG_1881The gear train is back in place.IMG_1882The movement back together and ticking. I do not wind the watch fully for testing, as the winding wheel is not held in place before the auto winder bridge is back in place.IMG_1883The movement back in the newly restored case.IMG_1884Auto winder mechanism back in place looking good.IMG_1885Performance is excellent for such a old watch!IMG_1888I bought the watch from the US so the case is made by Star watch case & co. This was done so that the dealers could save on import duty. I guess collectors prefer the Swiss case, but I enjoy this piece of history.IMG_1974A good looking classic with a great movement.IMG_1979This watch is nice and thin and makes for a great dress watch.

8 thoughts on “Service: Universal Geneve calibre: 138SS

  1. I have a universal which was puchased early 1950`s whilst I was on national service, it has two sets of numbers s 20217 5 and 1732777 , it no longer re-winds for any time at all, approx cost for service and repair and new bracelet .
    Many Thanks,

  2. Hi Mitka,

    I was wondering if it was not possible to polishe the spring that keeps the second hand in place? Looks a little corroded? Could this not give problems on the long run…or look nicer? Keep up the good work…:)


    • Hi Kevin,

      I did not polish the spring as the corrosion is more like surface discolouration also the active surface that interacts with the pinion is clean so performance does not get affect in any way. Also this spring is so thin that every bit of material removed will considerably shorten it’s life span.

    • Hi Kevin,

      A nice idea, but the spring is so super-thin, that polishing would impair its functionality. So I’m with Mitka here in leaving it as it is, to make sure it will work for as long as possible.

      Looking forward to my new Seiko 7016-8000 😉

      Best regards,


  3. Great work on a nice watch!
    Was there no way to remove the scratches from the bumper weight? Like polishing it?

      • If it was a lesser movement you might test out re-applying some brushing (scotch-pad) in the brush pattern direction after having masked out the polished sides of the oscillator? That would significantly tone down the “wrong direction” scratches and reduce the visual impact. It all depends of the surface plating quality of course, but I have a suspicion it might work out rather nicely.
        Anyway a treat to see a 138SS in the flesh. They also power the early, and very desirable, UG Pole(Polar)routers.

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