Universal Genève Compax Nina Rindt: A Star is Re-born

This year is marked by the 25th anniversary of the internet. On the 23d of August, 1991 our lives were about to change forever, from the way we are exposed to information to the way we may find our next date. As we speak, celebrities create a multi-million dollar business just by posting a well-filtered photo on Instagram but back then, reality was relatively innocent. Traveling a bit more in time, in the 60s and 70s the term “celebrity endorsement” did not even ring a bell and the famous elite would wear what they liked, in an effortless way to express their mysterious personalities. And so did Nina Rindt with her favorite Universal Genève timepiece.

Nina Rindt was the wife of a Formula 1 driver legend, Jochen Rindt- the only driver to posthumously win the Formula 1 World Championship in 1970. Nina, a model at the time, was seen countless times wearing the UG Compax while accompanying her husband in the tracks. Her flawless bohemian style, helped in highlighting the beauty of the watch and transforming it-willingly or not- in one of the most coveted timepieces of the past few years, now carrying her name: the Universal Genève Compax Nina Rindt.

Universal Genève “The Full Set Nina Rindt” ref. 885103/02. Discover more at onlyvintage.com

The most interesting feature of this watch though, may not lie solely in its complications or undoubted elegance. Up until the recent past, the majority of collectors were admiring unique pieces produced by the strong names of haute horlogerie, sometimes neglecting timepieces of equal aesthetic importance but less strong branding. This trend shifted quite recently with the digitalization of the vintage watch market and the ease at which collectors discover information and transmit their passions and findings. The Universal Genève Compax Nina Rindt is one of the most characteristic examples of this new chapter in the history of vintage watch market: a watch that was underestimated, simply to be re-discovered and re-evaluated in the time where information is moving rapidly.

Universal Genève “The Steel Compax Evil Nina” ref. 885103/01. Discover more at onlyvintage.com

With black subdials on top of a beautiful white dial, this UG reminds of the “Panda” Paul Newman Daytona but yet, the differences are remarkable. Produced in the 60s, the UG Compax Nina Rindt features twisted lugs, a common element of UG timepieces, round pushers, a black tachometer bezel of 36 mm, printed baton markers with luminating ends and the legendary Valjoux 72 movement (marked as the Universal Genève caliber 85), which can also be found in the early Rolex Daytonas. To complete the tribute of this beautiful watch, it is important to also mention its black-dial counterpart with cream subdials. The UG Evil Nina, with its contrasting beauty, had a more limited production thus increasing its rarity but not yet its price. Still, both watches could poetically represent the yin and the yang of UG vintage timepieces.

Universal Compax “Nina Rindt” in stainless steel, 1981. Sold by Phillips in November 2015 for CHF 27,500 (approx. 25,500€). Discover more at phillips.com

In auction terms, a UG Compax Nina Rindt of 1981 was sold for € 25,262 by Phillips last November 2015 and it was described as “a rare opportunity to purchase a beautifully presented watch that is fast becoming an iconic vintage chronograph.” Maybe there is nothing more to say than when an undoubtedly beautiful timepiece, worshiped by a vintage fashion icon is revived in the time of social media and fast information, then the recipe of success is almost guaranteed.