In our Brief History of Universal Geneve, we concluded by hoping for an eventual rebirth of the brand:
Today, Universal Geneve as a brand is technically still in existence, owned by Stelux, a Hong Kong investment group, since 1989. The brand saw a brief relaunch in 2001, but hasn’t updated its marketing materials or website since 2009. They’re still a member of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, and oversee production of Cyma, another brand owned by Stelux. So what does the future hold for the once thriving brand?
Well, since we wrote that article in November 2018, a few developments pointing towards a rebirth of the Universal Geneve brand have happened. As someone astutely noted in the comments section of that article, Universal Geneve’s website, universal.ch, is now fully functional. It only features a history of the brand and a “contact us” form, but it’s definitely something. If you check out the code of the webpage, you can see it’s hosted on WordPress and all of the content seems to have been uploaded in January or February 2019, showing there’s a team actively working on it.
Universal Geneve Trademark Filings
Universal Geneve has also filed for a handful of trademarks in the United States. First, Universal Geneve S.A. registered a trademark for the name “Universal Geneve” in January 2018. Prior to that, in 2015, it had registered a trademark for the classic “U” logo, which remains active today.
In November 2018, two more trademark applications were filed, but by a different entity: the first is for the Universal Geneve name, the second for the Universal Geneve name with the “U” logo. These trademarks were filed for by Beau HLB, a massive holding company based in Geneva.
In the United States, when someone files a trademark application, they have to claim which “class” they’ll be using the trademark in. For example watches are included in class 014, along with jewelry, bracelets and similar or associated goods. These trademarks filed for by Beau HLB were filed for in the 014 class, but also in the 009 class. Nowadays, the 009 class is most commonly associated with technology items such as software, wearables, and phones, though historically it has also included scientific instruments, including timers and chronographs. While this may have simply been to protect Universal Geneve against any potential infringers in the smartwatch industry (e.g. Swatch v. Samsung), let us be the first to wildly speculate about a Universal Geneve smartwatch.
Universal Geneve has also maintained trademarks on the “Aero-Compax” and “Compax” names since 2016 and 2013, respectively. They briefly held the trademark for “Polerouter” in the 1980s, but that registration has long since expired.
Finally, all of the previously mentioned trademarks were filed to cover all of the goods in the claimed classes (i.e. 009 and 014) “from Geneva.” In September 2018 Universal Geneve S.A. filed one more trademark for goods in the claimed classes of “Swiss origin,” just in case covering "Geneva” alone wasn’t enough. You can never be too sure.