You’ve probably never seen this Universal Geneve, and probably can’t even imagine they ever made such a watch. Obviously they did.
In the late 1990’s Universal Geneve teamed up with the Ayrton Senna Institute (IAS). Founded in 1994 by Ayrtons Senna’s family and presided by Viviane Senna. Viviane being Ayrton’s sister, and mother of Formula One driver Bruno Senna.
The cooperation resulted in two dedicated watches, from which part of the profit was donated to the IAS. The first watch was the chronograph model ‘Senna 41’, the star of this article. The second a 3-hand model, the ‘Senna 65’. The numbers were taken from the 41 Formula One wins in Ayrton Senna’s career, and the 65 pole positions.
The Senna 65 Chronograph was available in three dial variations, silver, black and yellow. Further it was available in a quartz version and the COSC chronometer certified automatic version as seen here. There was a choice for a metal bracelet or a leather strap with folding buckle as well.
Both versions were made in steel in combination with something what Universal Geneve mentioned as carbon at that time. To my knowledge it wasn’t true carbon, but merely a kind of plastic, probably blended with some carbon enabling to use ‘carbon’ in it’s description.
As of last year the Universal Geneve Senna 41 can even be indicated as a presidential watch. The current president of the United States owned one back in the days. Of course he couldn’t settle for a stainless steel watch so chose for one of the very few which were made in 18k solid gold. I’m not sure if this now adds to the popularity to the watch though.
The watch I’m wearing this week is one of a limited and numbered series exclusively sold in the Netherlands. Only 50 pieces, with different dial colors and with a leather strap or metal bracelet, accompanied by a certificate. My watch here bears the number 41, matching the type indication of the watch 🙂
The ‘diameter’ of the casing measures 41mm, still a nice size even for today’s standards. As movement Universal Geneve chose for the trustworthy Valjoux 7750. Obviously in an elaboré excecutionin order to have it chronometer certified. Due to a screw down crown and screw down pushers the watch reaches a noteworthy 20 bar pressure rating. It’s all topped off with a flat sapphire crystal.
The box is something else to mention. A solid steel box paint sprayed in grey and black with the Senna logo embossed in it’s lid. The booklet nicely fit in the cardboard outerbox lid, containing the credit card size warranty certificate as well. And the original COSC slip is supplied with the automatic chronometer models as well.
Gerard has been in the watch industry for over two decades now. He owned a watch shop in The Hague, The Netherlands, and besides that he has journalistic and photographic activities in the field of watches. Collecting watches since he... read more