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2007 18:13 Page 1

Microtor Technology by Universal Genve

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M icrotor

Microtor UG 66

Microtor UG 100
S elf-winding watches
The first watch automatically wound by means of
Universal Genve trademarks 1936, 1940, 1957

a central oscillating weight appeared in the latter

half of the 18th century, in Le Locle. It stemmed of the Manufacture presented a mens self-winding
from the ingenious work of watchmaker Abra- wristwatch equipped with Calibre UG 138. The
ham-Louis Perrelet (1729-1826), who had oscillating weight, located at the centre of the
observed that the rotation of the oscillating movement, made a partial revolution of 315 and
weight generated sufficient energy to wind the was limited along its trajectory by two cylindrical
mainspring. buffer-springs placed on the edge of the main-
The first self-winding wristwatch was developed
by Englishman John Harwood, who filed a patent Calibre UG 138, displaying the hours, minutes and
for it in Switzerland in 1932. The oscillating small seconds at 6 oclock, measured 28.20mm in
weight, which was wound in one direction only, diameter and was 4.85mm thick. The balance
described a 130 arc of a circle. The disadvantage of oscillated at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per
this watch was that it could not be wound by hand. hour. The first caliber was to be followed in the
early 50s by two movements featuring the same
Ever since, this major technical innovation has technical characteristics : the 5.55mm thick
been constantly perfected, driven by an ongoing Calibre UG 138.SS-SC with centre seconds; and
quest for miniaturisation and precision. the 6mm thick Calibre UG 138.C.C complete with
date disc and small seconds at 6 oclock, which
Universal Genve watchmakers were pioneers in drove the Monodatic model.
the development of self-winding movements,
particularly due to the integrated micro-oscilla-
ting weight that made them extremely thin and
uniquely elegant.

Universal Genve assembly workshop 1940

In the late 1940s, at a time when Universal

Genve was still known as Universal Watch
Factory, Perret & Berthoud Ltd (a name linked to
the names of its founders), the watchmakers
Calibre UG 138.SS-SC

The chief assets of this calibre were the anti-
magnetic balance-spring and balance (the latter
being of the bimetallic glucydur type with
screws), as well as the balance-cock fitted with
a fine-adjustment system and Incabloc shock-
absorbers. For the version with a date display,
since the date-jump could be adjusted in one
direction only, the time could thus be set counter-
clockwise without making the date jump, which
was not the case with previous Calibres. The 40-
hour power reserve was perfectly respectable at
the time. The movement was equipped with 17
top-quality jewels. The setting-lever was connec-
ted to an arbor that need only be pressed in order
to pull out the winding-stem.

On November 8th 1952, the Universal Perret &

Berthoud Watch Manufacture in Geneva filed
patent n0 308028, published on September 1st
1955, for a self-winding device with double effect
via a rotating oscillating weight, which was to
serve as a model for the construction of the
Microtor. The rotating oscillating weight transmit-
ted its energy to the driving organ of the watch via
a loose-wheel coupling clutch, characterised by
an oscillating weight connected to an organ driving
two cams - themselves connected but operating
independently of each other. This system meant
the watch could be automatically wound in both
directions of the oscillating weight rotation.

Patent n 308028

In 1954, watch designer Grald Genta created

the famous Polerouter (Polarouter), which was
to enjoy worldwide success. Equipped with
Calibre UG 138 SS, this watch accompanied the
crew of the SAS Scandinavian Airlines System
1954 - Polerouter

Company on the first ever flight from Europe to
the United States via the polar circle.

Building on its success, Universal changed its

name to Manufacture des Montres Universal,
Perret Frres SA in Carouge-Geneva, and opened
its new operational centre on the Place dArmes in
Carouge, while keeping its historical premises on
the Rue du Rhne as a showroom.

Universal Genve showroom on the quaysides of the Rhne - Geneva Mr Perret & Mr Amann (Director SAS Geneva)

M icrotor watches
On May 27th 1955, Universal Genve filed patent
n 329805 with the Intellectual Property Bureau.
Published on June 30th 1958, it protected an
ultra-thin self-winding watch comprising a micro-
oscillating weight with an off-centred rotation
axis: the first Microtor Calibre UG 215 produced
by Universal Genve was born.

Universal Genve Headquarters - Carouge Patent n 329805

1958, for a self-winding movement with central
seconds wheel and pinion, comprising a rotating
oscillating weight integrated within the movement
and featuring an axis off-set in relation to the
movement. The micro-oscillating weight was
positioned in the space left free by the barrel and
balance, and turns in bearings carried exclu-
Calibre UG 215-2 sively by a bridge.

The UG 215 family of Calibres comprised the same

This major technological innovation was made technical characteristics as the UG 138 Calibres,
possible by the constant improvement of the meaning a balance frequency of 18,000 vibrations
quality of components supplied by the Swiss per hour and a total diameter of 28mm, but now
watch industry and by the gradual miniaturisa- had 28 jewels. The Calibre UG 215 was a three-
tion of these parts during the 1940s and 1950s. hand movement with central seconds. The UG
215.1 version, which was 5.15mm thick, featured
The technical solution lay in the perfect proportions central hour, minute and seconds hands along with
of the frequency-reduction mechanisms of the a date disc. Calibre UG 215.2 was endowed with
automatic winding system. The micro-oscillating the same functions as Calibre UG 215.1, but was
weight, pivoting in both directions and coupled to a 0.45mm slimmer, at 4.70mm.
large-diameter barrel, ensured a power reserve of
almost 48 hours.

Calibre UG 215 displayed only the hour and

minutes, measured 28mm in diameter and was
4.10mm thick. Its balance oscillated at 18,000
vibrations per hour.

In 1958, Bren Watch Co SA (Von Bren Watch

Co., which disappeared in the 1970s), a Swiss-
German company extremely active in research
and development of new calibres, filed patent
n 345849 for a micro-oscillating weight nick-
named Super-Slender, similar to the one devi-
sed by Universal Genve in 1955. Since the Patent n 330900
Geneva-based Manufacture had filed its patent
just one month after that filed by Von Bren, the The qualities and improvements embodied in
two companies had to reach an agreement in this calibre compared with Calibre UG 138 com-
order to separately exploit this remarkable prise a simplification of the self-winding system,
invention, which they would subsequently place reduced thickness, including for the date disc
at the disposal of the greatest names in Swiss version, and enhanced comfort on the wrist,
watchmaking. since the wearer no longer felt the shocks in-
duced by the oscillating weight; there was howe-
In the 1950s, Universal Genve continued ver no fine adjustment.
developing the Microtor-based technology and
presented many new models that would ensure Once again, Universal Genve was to present an
its international success and reputation. invention that would represent a landmark in
watchmaking history, since similar movements
The Microtor technology was once again im- are still widely used in the construction of many
proved and on January 30th 1957, Universal Genve self-winding Calibres. Patent n 333993 was filed
filed patent n 330900, published on August 15th on December 29th 1956 and published on

December 31st 1958, for the creation of a watch adjustment, since the balance-cock was equipped
model equipped with both a hand-wound and a with a micrometrical adjustment screw, thereby
self-winding system, and built in such a way that providing enhanced precision and facilitating
these two systems worked independently of each adjustment.
other. This new construction for a Microtor was
characterised by a pinion fixed to the barrel-arbor
by two discs, each fixed to one of the bases of the
pinion, on the same plane as the latter, and by
two superimposed wheels placed between these
discs and each linked to one of the winding
mechanisms. Each of these wheels is driven by
the adjacent disc and carries at least one coupling
organ designed to mesh with the pinion. These
coupling organs rotate in the same direction.

Calibre UG 1-69

On March 26th 1956, under patent n 336013,

published on March 4th 1959, Universal Genve
filed an additional patent n 329805, covering a
central wheel and pinion carrying the minute
hand composed of a single pinion simultaneously
meshing with two coaxial wheels, the first leading
to the second that in turn transmits the move-
ment to the balance.

Calibre UG 68 (or UG 1-68), which was 4.10mm

thick, drove central hour, minute and seconds
hands. As the direct successor to Calibre UG 218,
this movement had 28 jewels and a frequency of
18,000 vibrations per hour.

While Calibre UG 69 (or UG 1-69) featured the

same technical characteristics as Calibre
UG 68, it was also equipped

Patent n 333993

Constantly in quest of perfection, watchmakers

were soon to replace Calibre UG 215.2 by Calibre
UG 218.2, measuring 28mm in diameter and
4.70mm thick, equipped with a date indication.
This movement was to be used in assembling
Polerouter Date watches.

The main improvement featured in

Calibre UG 218 compared with its pre-
decessor, the UG 215, was the fine
Golden Classique 69

with a date disc, taking the total movement thick-
ness to 4.70mm, like its forerunner the UG 215.
Nonetheless, the geometry of its micro-rotor had
been transformed.

Calibres UG 68 and UG 69 underwent many

improvements during the actual production pro-
cess, including a stop oil chemical treatment
generally referred to as epilame coating. The
latter modifies the surface tension of the part
thus treated, thereby preventing oils from creep-
ing, ensuring lasting lubrication of the gear-
wheels and thus reducing the frequency of Golden Shadow
movement overhauls (technical note n 76 dated Over 250 variations of the Golden Shadow were
07/12/1967). These two Calibres also featured created to highlight its extreme slenderness,
including the gold-plated Gilt Shadow or the steel
White Shadow.

The saga of Shadow watches equipped with

Calibres 66 and 67, and of their subsequent
technical developments, was to last from the
mid-1960s through to the early 1990s.

The ultra-thin self-winding Microtor Calibre UG 66

displayed the hours and minutes only, and fea-
tured a diameter of 28mm and an exceptionally
diminutive thickness of 2.50mm. Its balance
oscillated at 19,800 vibrations per hour.

Polerouter Sub

an excellent 55-hour power reserve. There was

also a Polerouter Sub with two crowns equipped
with Calibre 68, but with no date display.

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 : Calibre UG 1-66
catalogue of old UG Calibres).
Among the other particularly important features
At the 1966 Basel Show, Universal Genve presen- were the self-compensating monometallic ba-
ted a new range of refined and elegant watches lance and spring operating at 19,800 vibra-
named Golden Shadow, all driven by the worlds tions/hour and equipped with a system designed
thinnest self-winding Microtor movement. It was to to absorb shocks to the balance pivots, referred to
enjoy considerable popularity. at the time in French as super-choc Incabloc.

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, thereby improving the
winding of the Calibre.

The line of UG 66 Calibres developed steadily

throughout the 1960s and comprised different
variations such as Calibre UG 1-67 displaying the
hours, minutes and date and measuring 3.10mm Calibre UG 2-66
in all.

On February 2nd 1963, the Geneva-based

Manufacture filed patent n 388195, published
on August 14th 1964, 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

In the 1970s, Universal Genve watchmakers

continued to fine-tune the line of ball-bearing
Calibre UG 1-67
mounted micro-rotor movements and presented
two new Calibres, UG 71 and UG 72, which were
used in the Polerouter III watch lines.
Calibre UG 66 became UG 1-66 after the addi-
tion of a coupling clutch doing away with the
rotation of the winding wheel and pinion when
the watch was wound by hand, 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, after the classic pin-type
method of securing the balance-spring stud was
replaced by a new cementing system (technical
note n 104).

Patent n 388195

These two Calibres shared the same characteris-

tics as the family of UG 66 Calibres, albeit with a
smaller overall diameter of 27mm instead of
28mm, and a new type of balance guaranteeing
an oscillation frequency of 21,600 vibrations per
hour (as did UG 215-9, UG 215-97 and UG 218-9).
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
Calibre UG 2-67 Calibres. Calibre UG 71 featured centre seconds

T he renewal of the Microtor
At the 2006 edition of the Basel Show (now named
Baselworld) and after two years of intensive
research and development, Universal Genve
sprung a surprise by presenting a 111/2 lignes
Microtor Calibre UG 100 movement stemming
from an entirely new conception, in keeping with
the traditions of the great Swiss Watch
Calibre UG 71 Manufactures.

Calibre UG 72 Calibre UG 100

and a date display and was 3.90mm thick, where- In developing this new Calibre, one of the main
as Calibre UG 72 also showed the days of the issues was to resolve the tough question of the
week on a second counter, increasing the total (central) deadbeat seconds display which, on the
movement thickness to 4.60mm. previous Calibres and especially the UG 66
movements, was derived from a small seconds
display at 3 oclock via a complication plate. 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.

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. This solution also had the
advantage of avoiding the use of a friction spring,
such as is generally present in the construction of
most Calibres. The absence of a friction spring
prevents any risk of slowing down the gear trains
and thus improves the rate of the movement.

The escapement system comprises a glucidur

balance and an Anachron balance-spring made
by Nivarox (Le Locle) and ensuring a frequency

of 28,800 vibrations/hour. Thanks to this system, ball-bearing system, is crafted from sintered tungs-
and for the first time in its history, Universal ten. The first ball-bearing system meshes with the
Genve earned COSC chronometer certification reverser pinion and the second with the auxiliary
for one of its Microtor movements. reverser pinion.

The balance-bridge is fitted with a balance-cock Calibre UG 100 comprises 30 top-quality mono-
and enables fine adjustment by two screws and crystalline jewels, meaning five more than Calibre
a jewelled Incabloc shock-absorbing system. UG 72.
Finally a micro-rotor with a diameter of just
12.30mm features a new geometrical shape The Calibre Microtor UG 100 drives central hour,
entirely different from the design of the brands minute and seconds hands, as well as the date
former Microtor Calibres, and which is also inno- shown at 3 oclock by means of a disc. Measuring
vative in relation to the rare competing Calibres. a total 3.80mm thick and only 26.20mm in dia-
This rotor is the smallest ever produced for a meter, this new movement is the smallest
Microtor watch, 0.38mm less than the size of the Microtor Calibre equipped with similar functions
rotors equipping Calibres UG 66 and UG 71. ever produced by Universal Genve.
The bidirectional rotor, mounted on a double

Microtor UG 100
M icrotor UG 101
2007 Baselworld International Watch and Jewellery
Show: Universal Genve, 1 year after the presenta-
tion 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), proudly introduce Calibre UG 101
adapted to series production criteria.

Microtor UG 101 features the same technical Calibre UG 101

characteristics of the Calibre UG 100 including a
chronometer-quality escapement. The circular
Ctes de Genve decorating and finely gilded
engravings on the bridges are reminiscent of the
movements produced by the Manufacture in the

Microtor UG 101

Going-train bridge


Centre wheel
Balance-cock and pinion


Ball bearings


B ibliography
Swiss Timepiece Makers 1775-1975, Kathleen Brevet n 336004, Manufacture des Montres
H. Pritchard, Published for the National Universal Perret Frres, Carouge (Genve),
Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. dpt 15.7.1957, enregistrement 31.1.1959,
by Editions Antoine Simonin, rue des Saars 99, publication 14.3.1959
CH 2000 Neuchatel, 1997 edition
Brevet n 336013, Manufacture des Montres
Menschen Uhren Mein Leben, christine Universal Perret Frres, Carouge (Genve),
Glauser-Kocher und Hans Kocher, Eigenverlag, 1 dpt 26.3.1956, enregistrement 31.1.1959,
Auflage 1997 publication 14.3.1959

Universal Genve 100 ans de tradition horlogre, Brevet n 388195, Manufacture des Montres
Italo Bonifacio et Laura Rivolta, Sothis Editrice, Universal Perret Frres, Carouge (Genve),
1994 edition dpt 2.2.1963, enregistrement 15.2.1965,
publication 15.6.1965
Liste de brevets dposs auprs du Bureau
Fdral de la proprit intellectuelle, Journal Suisse dHorlogerie
Confdration Suisse La montre Suisse remontage automatique,
Brevet n308028, Manufacture des montres Calibre Microtor Manufacture des montres
Universal Perret & Berthoud SA, Genve Universal Perret Frres Genve, par B. Humbert,
(Suisse), dpt 8.11.1952, enregistrement XIII 2me srie, parution n4, aot 1961
30.6.1955, publication 1.9.1955
La montre Suisse remontage automatique,
Brevet n 329805, Manufacture des Montres Calibre Super Slender Buren Watch Co., par B.
Universal Perret Frres, Carouge (Genve), Humbert, XIV 2me srie, parution n5, octobre
dpt 27.5.1955, enregistrement 15.5.1958, 1961
publication 30.6.1958
La montre automatique la plus mince du monde,
Brevet n 330900, Manufacture des Montres Calibre, publicit Universal et Buren parution
Universal Perret Frres, Carouge (Genve), n11-12, novembre - dcembre 1957
dpt 30.1.1957, enregistrement 30.6.1958,
publication 15.8.1958 Sommes-nous la veille dune rvolution dans la
construction des montres automatiques ? Par
Brevet n 333993, Manufacture des Montres H.Kocher, directeur technique de Bren Watch
Universal Perret Frres, Carouge (Genve), Co A et F. Bandi, technicien chef de la manufac-
dpt 29.11.1956, enregistrement 15.11.1958, ture des montres Universal Genve, parution n
publication 31.12.1958 9-10, septembre octobre 1957
Geneva - Switzerland

Editorial commitee : Vincent Lapaire, Stphanie Des Arts-Loup,

Christian Mller, Christine Fery-Hammer, Franck Boisseau
Graphic Design : Alexandre De la Riera & Eva Sandoval
Text : Transcribe A Propos

Printed in Switzerland - April 2007

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Microtor Technology by Universal Genve