There are many classic Swiss watch brands from the mid-twentieth century that didn’t survive the advent of quartz technology in 1969. The “Quartz Crisis” of the 1970s and ’80s saw a proliferation of affordable and accurate quartz best Breitling replica watches flood the market, pushing the mechanical watch industry to the brink and extinguishing many brands from existence.
Many of those brands were later resurrected, some to great success and acclaim, but one has long remained elusive. The brand is Universal Genève, the brand responsible for such all-time bangers as the Gérald Genta-designed Polerouter, the motorsports classic Compax, the funky Uni-Compax “Big Eye” chronograph and the complicated and cool Tri-Compax “Eric Clapton.”
Like so many other brands, UG fell on hard times during the Quartz Crisis and its corpse was acquired by Hong Kong-based holding group Stelux Holdings International in 1989. Under this new ownership, the brand technically still exists but as a shell of its former self. Universal Genève watches have been produced in recent years but as unrecognizable and generic fashion watches mainly for the Asian market, with none of the prestige or style that defined the brand’s mid-century run. Others have tried to purchase the brand in recent years to revive it to its former glory, most notably Guillaume Laidet, the man who acquired and relaunched fellow defunct Swiss watch brands Nivada and Vulcain to great acclaim, but all came up empty. That is, until now.
Breitling is bringing back Universal Genève
Late in 2023, the investment group owners of AAA UK Breitling fake watches, Partners Group, acquired Universal Genève for around CHF 60 million (~$70.5 million) and are set to relaunch the brand as the true successor to the company vintage watch enthusiasts have come to adore. Breitling’s leadership will oversee the relaunch, meaning the brand is quite literally in the best hands it’s been in since the 1970s, as top Breitling copy watches aims to go for a “modern-retro” take on the brand while developing new in-house movements but still honoring the brand’s iconic history and designs, according to Hodinkee’s reporting.
“Rebuilding a brand with such a rich narrative is not a quick endeavor — it is a meticulous labor of love that we anticipate will unfold over the coming years,” Breitling CEO George Kern, who is overseeing Universal’s relaunch, said in a statement. “A dedicated team will be brought on board to allow high quality replica Breitling watches and Universal Genève to operate as separate maisons.”
New Universal Genève watches are still a ways off
As for how long we’ll have to wait before we’ll see any new Universal Genève models, Kern estimates it will take about two years, telling The New York Times that’s when we can expect to see “new designs, new movements, new advertising and new distribution.” Kern also revealed in his Times interview that Universal Genève watches will be priced a bit higher than Breitling, and that the reborn brand “won’t be niche,” as perfect Breitling super clone watches is hoping to see it become a “major player” in the Swiss luxury market.
Personally, I can’t wait to see actual new Universal Genève models hitting the market in the next few years. Will we get a 21st-century Poleruouter with a new micro-rotor movement? A panda successor to the Nina Rindt? Loads of Compax chronographs powered by modified and elevated B01 movements? Time will tell, but Kern more or less confirmed to the Times that iconic references like the Poleruouter will be making a return. “I would be stupid if I didn’t,” he said.
Whatever happens with the revived Universal Genève, it’s definitely an exciting time to be a cheap Swiss Breitling replica watches enthusiast.