Phillips to Offer Bruce Lee’s Universal Genève Polerouter Wristwatch

An ordinary watch with extraordinary provenance.
Universal Genève Polerouter Bruce Lee

A seemingly standard Universal Genève Polerouter, lot 860 undoubtedly has the most notable provenance of the watches in the upcoming Phillips x Blackbird thematic auction – it was once owned martial arts legend Bruce Lee.

Much like the watch owned by Elvis Presley that became the most expensive Omega ever when it sold for US$1.181m last year, Bruce Lee’s Polerouter is ordinary in itself. The watch is an example of a 1950s Polerouter with a gold-plated case, attached to an equally well worn cuff-style leather strap.

But it is accompanied by a letter of provenance from the former owner stating that the watch was gifted to the owner’s father, Herb Jackson, by Bruce Lee. Jackson was one of Lee’s earliest students and also a close friend who constructed much of Lee’s martial arts training equipment.

Universal Geneve Polerouter Bruce Lee Phillips

Photo – Phillips

Universal Genève Polerouter Bruce Lee 2

An interesting historical aside is the fact that the Polerouter was designed by a young Gérald Genta in the early 1950s. Developed as an antimagnetic timepiece for the pilots of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), the watch was issued to the pilots of the inaugural SAS flight from Copenhagen to Los Angeles, which went over the North Pole and its stronger magnetic fields.

Initially named the Polarouter, the watch was given to SAS pilots and management, with the company timepieces having the SAS logo on the dial.

Universal Genève Polerouter Bruce Lee 1

The Polarouter was powered by a bumper automatic – an early and inefficient type of self-winding mechanism – which was eventually replaced by the cal. 215 micro-rotor movement. And it was also renamed the “Polerouter”, as is the case with this example.

The Bruce Lee Polerouter has no reserve, but is estimated at US$10,000-20,000. More information can be had on Phillips.com.


 

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Breguet (Re)Introduces the Marine, Now with Titanium Bracelet

Doubling down on sports luxe.
Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale 5547

At Baselworld 2018, Breguet revamped the bestselling Marine collection of luxury sports watches. The revamp was total, from the entry-level Marine 5517, to the complications like the Marine Chronographe 5527 and Marine Alarme Musicale 5547.

More modern in style than the watches it replaced, the revamped Marine was a major gamble for the brand, since the earlier generation was the biggest selling model line.

The base models of the Marine had titanium cases, while the luxe versions were in 18k rose or white gold – but all were fitted with rubber or leather straps. This year, Breguet made the Marine a bona fide sports watch with the introduction of matching titanium bracelets for the time-and-date, chronograph, and alarm models.

Breguet Marine Titanium

The titanium link bracelet

While the addition of a metal bracelet is a pretty obvious next step, the execution of the new bracelets is up to Breguet’s traditional quality, with the finishing and construction a testament to Breguet’s manufacturing capability.

The front faces of every link are satin-brushed, while the faces in between are polished for contrast. This echoes the finish on the watch case, which has a polished bezel and fluted flanks, with brushed surfaces in between.

Breguet Marine Chronographe 5527Breguet Marine Titanium bracelet

Bracelet aside, the rest of the watch is identical to last year’s Marine. The dial, which is a disc of 18k gold underneath, remains the same, a clean, brushed surface in brown-grey that matches the titanium case well.

It’s a more contemporary look, replacing the wave guilloche found on last year’s Marine. The simpler, more functional dial is a good fit with the maritime theme of the watch, and more importantly, Breguet’s historical status as the official watchmaker for the French navy in the 19th century.

While the styling of the Marine is a departure from the traditional, ornate Breguet look, the brand’s visual signatures can still be found in the fluted case band, Roman numerals, as well as the serial number on the dial just below the brand. And the hands are a twist on the traditional Breguet-style, or pomme, hands.

The distinctive wave guilloche on the Équation Marchante 5887

The distinctive wave guilloche on the Marine Équation Marchante 5887

Key facts

Diameter:
40mm for Marine 5517 and Marine Alarme Musicale 5547
42.3mm for Marine Chronographe 5527

Material: Titanium

Water resistance:
100m for Marine 5517 and Marine Chronographe 5527
50m for Marine Alarme Musicale 5547

Movement:
Marine 5517 – Cal. 777A
Marine Chronographe 5527 – Cal. 582QA
Marine Alarme Musicale 5547 – Cal. 519F/1

Power reserve: 55 hours, 48 hours, 45 hours respectively

Strap: Titanium bracelet

Pricing and availability

The Marine 5517 with titanium bracelet (ref. 5517TIG2TZ0) is priced at 19,400 Swiss francs, or 28,600 Singapore dollars.

The Marine Chronographe 5527 on bracelet (ref. 5527TI/G2/TW0) is priced at 23,500 Swiss francs, or 34,600 Singapore dollars.

And the Marine Alarme Musicale 5547 on bracelet (ref. 5547TI/G2/TZ0) is priced at 30,400 Swiss francs, or 44,800 Singapore dollars.


Update May 22, 2019: Key facts added.
Update May 24, 2019: Image of bracelet added.

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