|Universal 16.75 ligne monopusher||Complications:||6-Column Chronograph, Chronograph, Column Wheel Chronograph, Monopusher Chronograph|
|Hands:||30 Minute Chronograph Hand at 3:00, Central 60 Second Chronograph Hand, Central Hour Hand, Central Minute Hand, Small Seconds Hand at 9:00|
|Distinguishing Technical Characteristics|
Counter-Clockwise Balance Cock
|Production: 1916 – 1931|
Universal produced monopusher chronograph wristwatches using four distinct movements: A 15.25”’ movement with a pusher co-axial with the crown at 3:00, this 16.75”’ movement with the pusher at 6:00, a 16”’ movement with the pusher at 2:00, and a 14.5”’ movement with the pusher at 2:00.
It is likely that the latter three movements were produced by Martel, since they share some design characteristics with later movements produced by the company. The 16.75 ligne movement is nearly a mirror image of the 15.25 ligne movement, and both were produced at the same time. A 1916 ad for Martel Watch Co. shows a nearly-identical chronograph wristwatch, complete with pusher at 6:00, suggesting the source of this movement.
The 16.75 ligne chronograph is unusual in that it uses a pusher at 6:00 (between the lugs) to control the chronograph function. The first images of this movement date to 1916, and it appears that this was the earliest wrist chronograph produced by Universal, officially in 1917. It remains in Martel advertisements through 1931, disappearing just before the first appearance of the more-refined 2:00 monopushers. A period advertisement (below) shows that the movement had 17 jewels and a Breguet spiral hairspring.
Omega used a movement with an extremely similar design in the 1910s. Their 18”’ CHRO also had the pusher between the lugs at 6:00. Omega reissued this watch with classic movements in 2018.Images are taken from official publications and are used here for commentary and educational purposes. Copyright is held by the original owner as noted.