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Microtor Technology by Universal Genève





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M icrotor .

1955 Microtor UG 66 .

2006 Microtor UG 100 .

minutes and small seconds at 6 o’clock. Perret & Berthoud Ltd (a name linked to the names of its founders). Universal Genève assembly workshop 1940 In the late 1940s. located at the centre of the movement.C. made a partial revolution of 315° and was limited along its trajectory by two cylindrical buffer-springs placed on the edge of the mainplate. The balance oscillated at a frequency of 18.SS-SC . 1957 The first watch automatically wound by means of a central oscillating weight appeared in the latter half of the 18th century.55mm thick Calibre UG 138. displaying the hours. which was wound in one direction only. described a 130° arc of a circle. The disadvantage of this watch was that it could not be wound by hand. at a time when Universal Genève was still known as Universal Watch Factory. the watchmakers 4 Calibre UG 138. The first self-winding wristwatch was developed by Englishman John Harwood. who had observed that the rotation of the oscillating weight generated sufficient energy to wind the mainspring.S elf-winding watches Universal Genève trademarks 1936. of the Manufacture presented a men’s self-winding wristwatch equipped with Calibre UG 138.SS-SC with centre seconds. particularly due to the integrated micro-oscillating weight that made them extremely thin and uniquely elegant. Ever since.000 vibrations per hour. driven by an ongoing quest for miniaturisation and precision. Universal Genève watchmakers were pioneers in the development of self-winding movements.C complete with date disc and small seconds at 6 o’clock. measured 28. The oscillating weight. in Le Locle. and the 6mm thick Calibre UG 138. 1940. The oscillating weight. It stemmed from the ingenious work of watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet (1729-1826). which drove the “Monodatic” model. who filed a patent for it in Switzerland in 1932.20mm in diameter and was 4. The first caliber was to be followed in the early 50s by two movements featuring the same technical characteristics : the 5.85mm thick. this major technical innovation has been constantly perfected. Calibre UG 138.

On November 8th 1952. Equipped with Calibre UG 138 SS. watch designer Gérald Genta created the famous Polerouter (Polarouter). as well as the balance-cock fitted with a fine-adjustment system and Incabloc shockabsorbers. this watch accompanied the crew of the SAS Scandinavian Airlines System 1954 . for a self-winding device with double effect via a rotating oscillating weight. which was not the case with previous Calibres. since the date-jump could be adjusted in one direction only. which was to serve as a model for the construction of the Microtor. which was to enjoy worldwide success. characterised by an oscillating weight connected to an organ driving two cams . The setting-lever was connected to an arbor that need only be pressed in order to pull out the winding-stem. The 40hour power reserve was perfectly respectable at the time. Patent n° 308028 In 1954. The movement was equipped with 17 top-quality jewels. This system meant the watch could be automatically wound in both directions of the oscillating weight rotation.Polerouter 5 . the Universal Perret & Berthoud Watch Manufacture in Geneva filed patent n0 308028. the time could thus be set counterclockwise without making the date jump. published on September 1st 1955. The rotating oscillating weight transmitted its energy to the driving organ of the watch via a loose-wheel coupling clutch.The chief assets of this calibre were the antimagnetic balance-spring and balance (the latter being of the bimetallic glucydur type with screws).themselves connected but operating independently of each other. For the version with a date display.

Perret Frères SA in Carouge-Geneva. Published on June 30th 1958.Carouge 6 Patent n° 329805 . it protected an ultra-thin self-winding watch comprising a microoscillating weight with an off-centred rotation axis: the first Microtor Calibre UG 215 produced by Universal Genève was born. and opened its new operational centre on the Place d’Armes in Carouge. Universal changed its name to Manufacture des Montres Universal. Universal Genève showroom on the quaysides of the Rhône .Geneva M Mr Perret & Mr Amann (Director SAS Geneva) icrotor watches On May 27th 1955. Universal Genève filed patent n° 329805 with the Intellectual Property Bureau.Company on the first ever flight from Europe to the United States via the polar circle. Universal Genève Headquarters . while keeping its historical premises on the Rue du Rhône as a showroom. Building on its success.

which they would subsequently place at the disposal of the greatest names in Swiss watchmaking. In the 1950s.000 vibrations per hour and a total diameter of 28mm. Once again. filed patent n° 345849 for a micro-oscillating weight nicknamed Super-Slender. but now had 28 jewels. ensured a power reserve of almost 48 hours. measured 28mm in diameter and was 4. at 4. a SwissGerman company extremely active in research and development of new calibres. which disappeared in the 1970s). The Calibre UG 215 was a threehand movement with central seconds. Patent n° 333993 was filed on December 29th 1956 and published on 7 . Calibre UG 215 displayed only the hour and minutes.15mm thick. 1958. including for the date disc version. The micro-oscillating weight was positioned in the space left free by the barrel and balance.Calibre UG 215-2 This major technological innovation was made possible by the constant improvement of the quality of components supplied by the Swiss watch industry and by the gradual miniaturisation of these parts during the 1940s and 1950s.1. published on August 15th Patent n° 330900 The qualities and improvements embodied in this calibre compared with Calibre UG 138 comprise a simplification of the self-winding system. The Microtor technology was once again improved and on January 30th 1957. comprising a rotating oscillating weight integrated within the movement and featuring an axis off-set in relation to the movement. Calibre UG 215. Since the Geneva-based Manufacture had filed its patent just one month after that filed by Von Büren.2 was endowed with the same functions as Calibre UG 215. for a self-winding movement with central seconds wheel and pinion. The micro-oscillating weight. similar to the one devised by Universal Genève in 1955. since similar movements are still widely used in the construction of many self-winding Calibres. reduced thickness. Its balance oscillated at 18. minute and seconds hands along with a date disc. Universal Genève was to present an invention that would represent a landmark in watchmaking history. The UG 215. In 1958. Universal Genève continued developing the Microtor-based technology and presented many new models that would ensure its international success and reputation.. The technical solution lay in the perfect proportions of the frequency-reduction mechanisms of the automatic winding system. pivoting in both directions and coupled to a large-diameter barrel. The UG 215 family of Calibres comprised the same technical characteristics as the UG 138 Calibres. Büren Watch Co SA (Von Büren Watch Co. and enhanced comfort on the wrist.45mm slimmer.10mm thick.70mm. meaning a balance frequency of 18. the two companies had to reach an agreement in order to separately exploit this remarkable invention. which was 5.1 version. and turns in bearings carried exclusively by a bridge.000 vibrations per hour. Universal Genève filed patent n° 330900. since the wearer no longer felt the shocks induced by the oscillating weight. featured central hour. there was however no fine adjustment. but was 0.

The main improvement featured in Calibre UG 218 compared with its predecessor. published on March 4th 1959. which was 4. this movement had 28 jewels and a frequency of 18. thereby providing enhanced precision and facilitating adjustment. covering a central wheel and pinion carrying the minute hand composed of a single pinion simultaneously meshing with two coaxial wheels. each fixed to one of the bases of the pinion. Universal Genève filed an additional patent n° 329805. Each of these wheels is driven by the adjacent disc and carries at least one coupling organ designed to mesh with the pinion. adjustment. These coupling organs rotate in the same direction.70mm thick. This new construction for a Microtor was characterised by a pinion fixed to the barrel-arbor by two discs.10mm thick.2 by Calibre UG 218. minute and seconds hands. the UG 215. under patent n° 336013.2. While Calibre UG 69 (or UG 1-69) featured the same technical characteristics as Calibre UG 68. watchmakers were soon to replace Calibre UG 215. This movement was to be used in assembling Polerouter Date watches. the first leading to the second that in turn transmits the movement to the balance. measuring 28mm in diameter and 4. since the balance-cock was equipped with a micrometrical adjustment screw. As the direct successor to Calibre UG 218. for the creation of a watch model equipped with both a hand-wound and a self-winding system.000 vibrations per hour. and built in such a way that these two systems worked independently of each other.December 31st 1958. and by two superimposed wheels placed between these discs and each linked to one of the winding mechanisms. drove central hour. Calibre UG 68 (or UG 1-68). on the same plane as the latter. equipped with a date indication. Calibre UG 1-69 On March 26th 1956. was the fine Golden Classique 69 8 . it was also equipped Patent n° 333993 Constantly in quest of perfection.

9 . was to last from the mid-1960s through to the early 1990s. It was to enjoy considerable popularity. The ultra-thin self-winding Microtor Calibre UG 66 displayed the hours and minutes only. Universal Genève presented a new range of refined and elegant watches named Golden Shadow. taking the total movement thickness to 4. including the gold-plated Gilt Shadow or the steel White Shadow. These two Calibres also featured Golden Shadow Over 250 variations of the Golden Shadow were created to highlight its extreme slenderness. Calibre UG 1-66 Among the other particularly important features were the self-compensating monometallic balance and spring operating at 19. thereby preventing oils from creeping.800 vibrations per hour. like its forerunner the UG 215. There was also a Polerouter Sub with two crowns equipped with Calibre 68.with a date disc. Its balance oscillated at 19. the geometry of its micro-rotor had been transformed.70mm. but with no date display.50mm. referred to at the time in French as “super-choc Incabloc”.800 vibrations/hour and equipped with a system designed to absorb shocks to the balance pivots. ensuring lasting lubrication of the gearwheels and thus reducing the frequency of movement overhauls (technical note n° 76 dated 07/12/1967). The saga of Shadow watches equipped with Calibres 66 and 67. all driven by the world’s thinnest self-winding Microtor movement. including a “stop oil” chemical treatment generally referred to as “epilame coating”. and featured a diameter of 28mm and an exceptionally diminutive thickness of 2. At the 1966 Basel Show. For reasons related to rationalising production of the balance-cock. the UG 1-68 and 1-69 versions had no fine adjustment but were still fitted with the mobile balance-spring stud-holder (source : catalogue of old UG Calibres). Polerouter Sub an excellent 55-hour power reserve. and of their subsequent technical developments. Nonetheless. The latter modifies the surface tension of the part thus treated. Calibres UG 68 and UG 69 underwent many improvements during the actual production process.

The line of UG 66 Calibres developed steadily throughout the 1960s and comprised different variations such as Calibre UG 1-67 displaying the hours. The construction principle of Calibre UG 71 was nonetheless reminiscent of that of the UG 69 Calibre and did not stem directly from the UG 66 Calibres. Calibre UG 71 featured centre seconds .10mm in all. minutes and date and measuring 3. after the classic pin-type method of securing the balance-spring stud was replaced by a new cementing system (technical note n° 104). published on August 14th 1964.600 vibrations per hour (as did UG 215-9.The self-winding system consisted of a ball-bearing device for the oscillating weight and of a reverser with three ball-bearing devices (technical note n° 26) that reduced friction. Calibre UG 2-66 On February 2nd 1963. UG 71 and UG 72. and thus avoiding wear of the lower winding wheel (technical note n° 75 dated 17/10/1967). Calibres UG 1-66 and 1-67 became UG 2-66 and 2-67 respectively. UG 215-97 and UG 218-9). covering the development of a bidirectional oscillating weight thanks to a reverse system composed of a plate pivoting in the frame of the watch and carrying two pivoting intermediate wheels mounted on ball-bearing devices. Calibre UG 1-67 In the 1970s. Calibre UG 66 became UG 1-66 after the addition of a coupling clutch doing away with the rotation of the winding wheel and pinion when the watch was wound by hand. Patent n° 388195 Calibre UG 2-67 10 These two Calibres shared the same characteristics as the family of UG 66 Calibres. the Geneva-based Manufacture filed patent n° 388195. thereby improving the winding of the Calibre. and a new type of balance guaranteeing an oscillation frequency of 21. albeit with a smaller overall diameter of 27mm instead of 28mm. Universal Genève watchmakers continued to fine-tune the line of ball-bearing mounted micro-rotor movements and presented two new Calibres. which were used in the Polerouter III watch lines.

This solution also had the advantage of avoiding the use of a friction spring. In developing this new Calibre. one of the main issues was to resolve the tough question of the (central) deadbeat seconds display which. Polerouter The escapement system comprises a glucidur balance and an Anachron balance-spring made by Nivarox (Le Locle) and ensuring a frequency 11 . The construction principle consisting of the two third wheels first of all made up for gearing play and also alleviated the jerking motion resulting by the seconds wheel. on the previous Calibres and especially the UG 66 movements. increasing the total movement thickness to 4.60mm.90mm thick. in keeping with the traditions of the great Swiss Watch Manufactures. such as is generally present in the construction of most Calibres.T he renewal of the Microtor Calibre UG 71 At the 2006 edition of the Basel Show (now named Baselworld) and after two years of intensive research and development. Calibre UG 72 Calibre UG 100 and a date display and was 3. The movement construction thus needed to be entirely redesigned and the position of the going train had to be modified in order to put the seconds back in the centre by means of a gear system involving two third wheels. whereas Calibre UG 72 also showed the days of the week on a second counter. The absence of a friction spring prevents any risk of slowing down the gear trains and thus improves the rate of the movement. Universal Genève sprung a surprise by presenting a 111/2 lignes Microtor Calibre UG 100 movement stemming from an entirely new conception. was derived from a small seconds display at 3 o’clock via a complication plate.

Universal Genève earned COSC chronometer certification for one of its Microtor movements. Microtor UG 100 . ball-bearing system. Finally a micro-rotor with a diameter of just 12. mounted on a double Calibre UG 100 comprises 30 top-quality monocrystalline jewels. The balance-bridge is fitted with a balance-cock and enables fine adjustment by two screws and a jewelled Incabloc shock-absorbing system. is crafted from sintered tungsten.800 vibrations/hour.20mm in diameter.80mm thick and only 26. this new movement is the smallest Microtor Calibre equipped with similar functions ever produced by Universal Genève. The first ball-bearing system meshes with the reverser pinion and the second with the auxiliary reverser pinion. Measuring a total 3. and which is also innovative in relation to the rare competing Calibres. This rotor is the smallest ever produced for a Microtor watch.30mm features a new geometrical shape entirely different from the design of the brand’s former Microtor Calibres. The Calibre Microtor UG 100 drives central hour.38mm less than the size of the rotors equipping Calibres UG 66 and UG 71. and for the first time in its history. The bidirectional rotor. minute and seconds hands. Thanks to this system.of 28. meaning five more than Calibre UG 72. as well as the date shown at 3 o’clock by means of a disc. 0.

Calibre UG 101 Microtor UG 101 13 . 1 year after the presentation of the Microtor UG 100 used in the assembling of a limited officially chronometer-certified gold edition of 100 watches (20 in yellow gold and 80 in pink gold). The circular Côtes de Genève decorating and finely gilded engravings on the bridges are reminiscent of the movements produced by the Manufacture in the 1950s. Microtor UG 101 features the same technical characteristics of the Calibre UG 100 including a chronometer-quality escapement. proudly introduce Calibre UG 101 adapted to series production criteria.M icrotor UG 101 2007 Baselworld International Watch and Jewellery Show: Universal Genève.

CALIBRE UG 100 / UG 101 .Going-train bridge Barrel-bar Balance-cock Centre wheel and pinion Balance Barrel Micro-rotor Ball bearings Winding-stem Mainplate EXPLODED VIEW .

B ibliography Swiss Timepiece Makers 1775-1975.5. dépôt 27.1958. enregistrement 30. Carouge (Genève).1958 Brevet n° 336004. Carouge (Genève).6. Pritchard.2. enregistrement 15. dépôt 26.7. parution n°4.8. enregistrement 31. Calibre Microtor Manufacture des montres Universal Perret Frères Genève. 1 Auflage 1997 Universal Genève 100 ans de tradition horlogère. Manufacture des Montres Universal Perret Frères. dépôt 15. technicien chef de la manufacture des montres Universal à Genève. publication 14. Kathleen H. Manufacture des montres Universal Perret & Berthoud SA. par B. publication 14.décembre 1957 Sommes-nous à la veille d’une révolution dans la construction des montres automatiques ? Par H.1957.1958 Brevet n° 330900. Eigenverlag.Kocher. enregistrement 31.1958..1965 “Journal Suisse d’Horlogerie” La montre Suisse à remontage automatique.1959. Carouge (Genève). octobre 1961 La montre automatique la plus mince du monde. Bandi. dépôt 2.1. publication 15. Carouge (Genève). dépôt 29. Genève (Suisse).1952. Manufacture des Montres Universal Perret Frères.6.3. enregistrement 15. CH 2000 Neuchatel.1959 Brevet n° 388195. enregistrement 15. Manufacture des Montres Universal Perret Frères.1956. dépôt 30.1963. Calibre. publication 30. christine Glauser-Kocher und Hans Kocher. août 1961 La montre Suisse à remontage automatique. publication 1.12.11. directeur technique de Büren Watch Co A et F.9.1.1956.3.3. Carouge (Genève). novembre . Humbert. parution n° 9-10. Manufacture des Montres Universal Perret Frères. 1997 edition Menschen – Uhren – Mein Leben. parution n°5. septembre – octobre 1957 . 1994 edition “Liste de brevets déposés auprès du Bureau Fédéral de la propriété intellectuelle. Manufacture des Montres Universal Perret Frères. XIII 2ème série.5. publication 31.1957.1955.1959 Brevet n° 336013.1955. XIV 2ème série.6. Manufacture des Montres Universal Perret Frères.1959. dépôt 8. publication 15. rue des Saars 99.1958 Brevet n° 333993. Published for the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.1965.11. Sothis Editrice.1955 Brevet n° 329805.1958. publicité Universal et Buren parution n°11-12. Calibre Super Slender Buren Watch Co. by Editions Antoine Simonin. Confédération Suisse” Brevet n°308028.11.2. Italo Bonifacio et Laura Rivolta.6.1. enregistrement 30. Humbert. Inc. Carouge (Genève). par B.

universal. Stéphanie Des Arts-Loup. Franck Boisseau Graphic Design : Alexandre De la Riera & Eva Sandoval Text : Transcribe – A Propos Printed in Switzerland .Switzerland www. Christian Müller. Geneva .ch Editorial commitee : Vincent Lapaire.UNIVERSAL GENÈVE S.A.April 2007 . Christine Fery-Hammer.

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ch .UG Couv 2.universal.4.2007 18:13 Page 1 Microtor Technology by Universal Genève UNIVERSAL GENEVE SA .SWITZERLAND www.