Posts Tagged ‘Heuer Dive watches’
Heuer Diver LV ‘Hulk’ Custom 980.006, 44mm with crown, ETA 536.121, c1983.
As some of you may remember, around a year ago I revived a knackered old gilt dial diver by resurrecting it as a ‘Black Bay’ custom. Well, it received a warm welcome, and not so long ago my mind turned to a regular stainless model that was in need of some TLC. I’d been thinking about doing another project, and a slightly bruised 980.006 fitted the bill. It was is great overall shape, apart from having a warped/bent bezel… I suppose this is the sort of thing you encounter by buying from ebay. The dial was fantastic with lovely clean lume, that had a pleasant green patina to it. The case pretty good, with a few knocks.. but the bezel was unusable.. when rotated it would come off the case, due to the warping lifting the retention spring wire.
I did try quick photoshop mock up of it with a blue bezel, as I thought a Tudor Snowflake custom might look good.. but it didn’t look quite right – I think the green lume didn’t quite ‘click’. I always liked the look Rolex Sub LV (Lunette Verde – green bezel), and the greeny lume on the Heuer set me off wondering if green might be the way forward.
I did have a spare gold plated bezel.. which a knackered insert, so I removed the insert, and had the bezel blasted back to the steel, I sharpened up the beveled edges, and polished it.. then modified it to fit the green insert – in the same way I did the red ‘Black Bay’ custom. I also had a super thick 4mm crystal fitted (thanks Jimbo), as the new insert had more of an angled slant to it than the original. Then fitted a brand new solid link aftermarket oyster (aftermarket Rolex Sub). I was going to fit snowflake hands, but the originals were in such stunning condition, I couldn’t do it, and I’m glad I didn’t.
Even I’m astonished by the result.. and I have to say.. it’s equal if not better than a standard 980.006.. I know some purists will tut at me saying that, but it really is a awesome looking thing. I think what really sets it off is that the old heuer lume is greeny – it totally compliments the bezel.. it looks like it was designed that way. I present the Heuer Diver Professional Lunette Verde..
Heuer Autavia 11630P Diver Decomp Tropical Dial, Cal. 12, c1974
It’s astonishing how time flies.. back in August 2012 a three way trade with two fellow Heuristas resulted in me saying goodbye to my 1163 Viceroy, and welcoming in this 11630P. That’s its official name, I added ‘decomp’ to highlight the decompression bezel, although it was only available with this bezel.
This particular c1974 example has obviously seen quite a bit of sun, and the dial has turned a stunning tobacco brown ‘tropic’ colour, and there is some fading to the orange accents on the minute subdial. It’s quite wonderful. I tried to capture it in the photos, to little success I’m afraid, although the ‘dial shot’ does give a hint, it clearly noticeable in daylight. Under artificial lights, it does have a deep grey appearance too. Also noticeable are the amazing ‘blued’ subdial hands. I haven’t checked all my Autavias, but I’n pretty sure those with white subdials have these blued hands, although they generally look black. Maybe the sun-bleaching has made them more noticeable in this case. I don’t normally go for modern rubber straps on Autavias, but this ‘Breitling Pro Racer’ style seems to suit this special Autavia down to the ground. This is a truly special watch, and belongs to an elite group of Autavias that has directly applied hour lume plots, like you see on most of the GMTs, it gives it a real tool-esk appearance. So, if you want the GMT look without the added hands and red/blue bezel, this is a winner.
This example also had the pleasure to feature in the Autavia book (grab a copy – it’s highly recommended and makes a great coffee table book – with amazing photography).
So, why ‘P’?
Simple really.. like many of Heuers models, they used French descriptions, ie. N = Noir (Black). P simply means Plongeur, or Diver – probably where ‘plunge’ originated! Oddly, the P coding was never used prior to this model, even for the Heuer divers, but it serves as a way to distinguish it from other 11630′s in catalogue listings and other official paperwork. As this shares the same case with other 11630 models, there is nothing special ‘specification wise’ that makes it more suited to diving than any other 11630.. or any of the cushion case Autavias.. but I feel that I still need to file it under the ‘Heuer Divers’ category. Is it rare.. well, that’s subjective. I won’t hazard a guess at how many are out there, but it certainly isn’t common, and many tend to have seen a hard life.. all I’ll say is.. if you see a good one, buy it.
How does the decomp bezel work?
Well.. I’m writing this from memory, so hope this is correct… as I understand it, it shows how long you have before you have to decompress..
You turn the bezel so the 12 o’clock triangle lines up with the minute hand, like any regular divers bezel. As you can see, you only have approx. 5 minutes at 60 meters depth.. but 9 minutes at 50m, 15 minutes at 40m, etc etc.. the last marking is right around the bezel, so at 18m you have 56 minutes to dive. Please let me know if that’s wrong!
Mystery 1163 version..
It is first seen in the 1972 catalogue.. clearly listed as 11630P Diver, but if you look closely, you’ll note that it if housed in an earlier 1163 case, with acrylic crystal, also it has no bezel lume pip. It was presumed that this might be an ‘art dept’ error, as these have been seen before – a pre-computer version of a ‘photoshop fail’. But in the last few years, 1163’s have surfaced which have this 11630P style dial. Some have decomp bezels, some don’t. Best guess is that it was a very short-lived run, and they switched quickly to the 11630 case. Here is an example that a fellow Heuerista acquired, being discussed over on the Heuer forum – as you can see, it too has a tropical brown dial.
The next time it is seen (in available catalogues), is in the 1974 catalogue.. and this is the only time it is pictured with a bezel lume pip. That’s why I’m suggesting this one is from c1974, as opposed to later, although it’s possible the insert was replaced at service – these details are unknown.
You can also see it in the 1978 catalogue, and it makes a cameo appearance on the wrist of a diver in the 1984/5 catalogue. I know it’s hardly visible, but I have a copy of the catalogue, and it is more clear in the flesh, see last photo below.
Also, it’s worth noting that one of the coolest dudes on Earth wore a 11630P.. Sir Mick Jagger. In fact, you might call him a ‘Heuer Guy’, as he also owned/owns a 70′s Carrera… more info here on OTD.. Jagger’s Heuers.
There is a great write-up over on Cal 11..
Historic prices from OTD.. ’72 = $275, ’74 = DM620, ’78 = $439, ‘85 = 1,050DM.
1972 Catalogue.. But is the 1163 cased variant..
1974 Catalogue… First time seen in 11630 form in available catalogues.. and the only time seen with a lume pip on the bezel.
Not technically ‘shown’ in the catalogue, but the photograph of the diver in the water is wearing one..
Heuer Diver 973.008 Ladies 2000 Series, c1984/5, 200m, 28mm Case
Yet another tiny 28mm cased ladies Heuer Diver. This 2000 series was short lived, being available for a limited period just before the TAG takeover of Heuer, so there aren’t many around. These are great little watches, their design has aged well, and wouldn’t look out of place if launched today. This model has the factory bead blasted case and bracelet, and with it’s cool reverse triangular hour markers looks very ‘tool like’, even if it is a lady-like 28mm case. (It’s actually a bit wider including the crown).
Being a later model, it features nice touches – a signed Heuer crown and caseback. The bracelet is particularly nice too. Many vintage ladies divers tend to have a more delicate linked bracelet, this one mimics the gents version being chunky and has a proper professional dive watch quality to it.
The ‘all-grey’ sister version of this watch can be seen here: Ladies 972.008.
Heuer Night Diver 980.032L 1000 Series, 42mm, c1985
This is the second of this version I have owned, and I still don’t get tired of charging up the dial to see that lovely full dial glow. I love the way the dial takes on a green luminescence even in daylight, it’s subtle but very pleasing. This one I picked up a couple of years back, and hails from New York. This is the last of the diver series from Heuer, dating from c1985, before TAG took them over. There are some key differences between this model and the slightly earlier oversized models. The case is slimmer, and the bezel is recessed a tiny bit into the case, which is arguably more comfortable on the wrist, as it’s not as tall. Other differences give it some nice touches, it has a Heuer signed crown and a fully signed caseback with the a large Heuer shield – oh, and most obvious, it has ’1000′ on the dial. As much as I love the earlier models, these touches really make a difference, and it is a pleasure to own.
This one even has the original correct bracelet, ad although that might not seem like a big deal, as these bracelets aren’t rare, the endlinks for this model differ from the earlier bracelets, and fit the slimmer case perfectly. The case is lovely, barring a few minor marks, it is untouched, which is a bonus, as many have dulled edges from unsympathetic over polishing. It also has a push down crown, and this is the 3rd ’1000′ series model I’ve had with a push down crown. There was some debate years ago as to whether these were correct or not, but since then myself and many other Heuer diver enthusiasts have confirmed many of the last Heuer diver models had push down crowns. I had this one pressure tested (only to 50m), but it passed no problem. I even asked my watchmeaker to check with TAG Heuer, and they confirmed that push down crowns were used on these later models, as well as screw down crowns. Why the two types, who knows, maybe it was different case manufacturers, which wouldn’t surprise me, as Heuer traditionally used several suppliers for cases and dials.
Heuer Diver 980.021 Black Bay Auto (Custom), 200m, 42mm, c1982
I know some purists will be screaming at there screen right now, but even they have to admit.. it does look pretty damn cool.
So, I better explain myself.. as a collector of many Heuer divers, I can tell you that parts are extremely hard to come by, and as a last resort I relieved this 980.021 two-tone diver of its handset, in order to restore a more important diver. This oversized 42mm Heuer diver was in a bad way. The bezel was in a mess, most of the gold plate was missing and the insert was battered, as was the crown. The quartz movement wasn’t working either, the lume had fallen off the hands. It sat in a drawer feeling sorry for itself.
Then I saw the stunning Tudor Black Bay, like many watch nuts, fell in love with it, and I had a brainwave…
The crown was replaced with a stainless steel version (original was gold plated), the bezel had the remaining gold bead-blasted away. Then the inner ring of the bezel was sanded down to accommodate the aftermarket Rolex insert, which also needed to be carefully sanded to fit. The handset is an aftermarket ‘snowflake’ set, and finally the broken quartz movement was replaced with a ETA 2836-2 (if I remember correctly). A ‘tropic weave’ NATO strap topped it off to give it the proper Black Bay look. The way I see it, is that the watch has been saved from being sold off as a parts watch, and now has a new colourful lease of life.
Heuer Titanium 820.208 Ladies – Series One 28mm, 100m, Ti & Gold c1983
Heuers Titanium series was a real breakthrough when they hit the market around 1983. It’s a material often associated with todays high end timepieces, and one again shows Heuers forward thinking development of materials and precision timing well before others were even considering it. Heuers are often catagorized as ‘good ol’ vintage watches’, but if you ever get the chance to read any of the interviews that Jack Heuer has given over the years. you’ll discover that he was, and still is, a driving force for embracing new technology, from solid state quartz to the Titanium series.
This Ladies model is from the ‘Series One’ of the Titanium series. These aren’t seen that often and it’s great to handle it with it’s original bracelet. It is the titanium & gold model, with uni-rotating bezel. The bezel numerals and dots would have originally been black filled, but it’s rare to find any Titanium model with all the black intact, it appears it was quite fragile and the markings shallow. Yes, this is a tiny watch, at just 28mm, but even so, it is incredibly light. The ‘moon dust’ dial is quite something, I’d never seen one up close before, and it’s quite striking.
Read more about the Titanium Series over on Calibre 11, where there is a comprehensive write-up.
Heuer Diver 980.028 Black Coral II, Ladies 28mm. Black PVD and Gold Plate, c1982-85
Another ladies model that is a joy to handle. This one is the black PVD and gold plate from the Black Coral II range. (Black Coral (one) was the all black models).
This one is very well preserved, having seen little use since the early 80’s. The caseback is unusual in that it looks to have been restamped – I can’t be certain that this is the case, I have seen other casebacks like this – (mainly on ladies models) ie. With the numbers in a sunken rounded rectangle/sausage shape. If it is a restamping, then I’m pretty sure it is a been factory restamp – the style of the stamping is very similar to how Heuer restamped their Cal. 11 movement bridges to display ‘Cal. 12’ after the upgrade. Either way, these appear to come from the factory like this.
This 980.028 is powered by a tiny ESA quartz movement, and was priced in 1982 at $375, and in 1985 at 740 Deutsche Marks. It is named as a 28mm diver, but like all Heuer divers this doesn’t include the crown guards and crown, which make it around 32mm. With 14mm lugs, make no mistake, it’s a small watch, but a perfect tool watch for the active lady. I’ve said it many times before, they are fascinating to study, and are very well built. I managed to hunt down a 14mm military type NATO-RAF-esk strap for the watch, complete with gold plate buckle, which suits it very well.
See it here in the 1982 Divers Catalogue on OTD.
Heuer Diver 935.112, Ladies 28mm stainless steel case ‘Transitional Phantom’
I like a good mystery, and researching a watch.. but this is a strange one… 935.112 doesn’t exist…
My first thought was the caseback has been changed, as this is clearly the wrong model number.. but then the strangest thing.. 935.112 doesn’t seem to exist anywhere. I’ve checked all catalogues and index pages, there are 93x.xxx series that relates to the 3000 series, there is a 934.xxx and a 936.xxx, but 935 doesn’t appear to exist. Now that is weird. Not only does this watch have this weird number, but 935 was skipped by Heuer (& TAG Heuer) entirely. Why?
So, I presume it’s a 980.008, but it doesn’t have a lollipop hour hand, and the dial is different.. so it could be a 980.038, which was the ‘budget’ version with a plated case.. but this watch has a stainless steel case. Now, clearly at this point I’m thinking it’s a franken, made up of a case from a 980.008, and a dial & handset from a 980.038.. but that doesn’t explain the caseback. The stampings are all as they should be, the numerals the same shape, depth and size as other Heuers, so a ‘fake stamped’ case isn’t the answer – in any case, that would have to be some insane coincidence to stamp a number that was skipped by Heuer.
I’m starting to think that this is, or was a watch that was released as a 980.038 replacement under a new model number, with a SS case, but it’s life was short-lived, the TAG takeover stopping it in it’s tracks. It’s the only explanation I can think of that makes any sense. The dial/handset from the early 980.008’s were replaced by the dial/handset from the 980.038 in the later TAG Heuer models, (Mercedes hands, shorter noon triangle), so this could be a crossover, a relic of the switchover, that never made it into catalogues.
If anyone can shed any more light on this phantom Heuer, please post your comments.
Lists showing the jump from serial numbers 934 to 936..
The bottom photo shows it before it had a well earned deep clean and tidy up – showing 25+ years of grime that was lurking under the bezel. It looks worse than it was, a good clean and a light polish, and it came up looking great. I even treated it to a NOS 14mm tropic strap. In some photos, it is shown together with an 11630 Autavia to get a sense of scale, it really is tiny.
Heuer 980.005 Auto Orange Diver. Oversized 42mm case. 200m, ETA 2872. c1982
Another legend finds itself in front of my camera, the beautiful orange dialed 980.005, the automatic version of the orange 42mm divers. The ‘005’ is found in a several variations, the early models shown in the 1979 catalogue as having cathedral hands and a non-tramlined bezel (ie. No metal ring between glass & insert). The next iteration saw the iconic Mercedes hands introduced, the last was like what we see here – with Mercedes hands and a traditional Heuer tramline bezel. They are seen in catalogues 1979-82, and the quartz version featured on the front cover of the Heuer 1981 Speciality ‘Winter Olympics’ catalogue.
One thing to note, is that the regular black dialled Heuer divers have lume that ages to pale slate green, whereas the orange divers age to a very pale warm peach-ish hue, which looks wonderful with the orange dial. It’s nice to see that level of care and attention taken by Heuer when these were produced. The date wheels also tend to go a similar colour, which I can’t quite explain, but it was the same on my quartz version..
I sold on my 980.007 quartz variation, over a year later, I regretted that decision, so when this came along I had to grab it.. but it wasn’t so straight forward… It arrived in my care as a bit of a basket case. The bezel insert was OK – a bit knocked about, the case a bit filthy, an incorrect crown, and the hour & minute hands were not original and the glass in poor condition. The dial also has had a tough time, with a few marks on it, but thankfully they are indentation marks, and not scratches, which aren’t really noticeable most of the time.
As a bit of a long time Heuer diver nut, I had a few spares kicking around, so had the crown replaced and I treated it to a mint bezel. The hands were a problem, thankfully the seconds hand was original, and in decent condition.. so I relieved a two-tone Heuer diver of it’s hour and minute hands, and had them lightly sanded and sprayed gloss black. They were then relumed to match the seconds hand. Once again, a big thank you goes to James for his superb work – cheers bud.
So, here it is, with a new crystal, a light upper case polish and finished with a Heuer oyster bracelet. I need to give the caseback a bit of a polish, it shouldn’t be brush finished, but that aside, I think it has scrubbed up well and now looks fantastic.
Heuer 980.021. Two-tone 42mm oversized case. C1985
I have already featured this particular watch, a long time ago, when this blog was in it’s infancy.. you can see the posting here, I was simply going to simply update the old post, but I think this tough old-timer deserves a brand new posting, as the transformation is impressive, especially as it has been such a workhorse.. it was bought new in c1985 in the US and was used as a dive watch for over 10 years and worn daily for 16 years.
I decided to sell a NOS case that I had, an all-gold Analogue-Digital diver model, but with no interest, I sacrificed it for this 980.021. The bezel was carefully removed, which wasn’t easy, as it was so tight on the case, being NOS. The risk of damaging it was high, so I had to tread carefully.
Some time back, I spent many evenings sorting the case out, making sure I didn’t dull any edges. Then it was off to my watchmaker (Thanks James) for a new glass and crown. Since then it has sat unloved in the back of a drawer with its tired looking bezel. As the ani-digi diver and the ‘021’ share the same bezel, it was a simple snap on fit, and the result is beyond what I thought.. it now looks the business. Yes, technically it should have a gold plate crown, I do have one, but I like it the way it is right now, so I’m just going to enjoy it.
And here is a before shot..