Posts Tagged ‘Heuer Dive watches’
Heuer Orange Diver 980.016, Mid Size 32mm case, 200m waterproof
I’ve said it before, these small Mid-sized (ladies/junior) Heuer divers are utterly fascinating. Identical to the larger 42mm+ sized variants, but somehow Heuer managed to scale down all the elements to make a lovely looking watch – that’s not easy. The attention to detail and quality is remarkable. In fact, somehow it seems more of an achievement with these smaller cases. Obviously I’d never be able to wear them, but they are fantastic to handle and admire.
This one is in wonderful condition, and being an orange dial variant, is pretty rare. I have to say, it’s gotta be one of the coolest boys or ladies vintage diver watches out there. This isn’t the smallest model, which is housed in a 28mm case, this is the next size up with a 32mm case – far more well proportioned for todays tastes.
I had a new glass fitted and had a black glass gasket fitted too, which really complements the look – the standard gasket was a clear/white colour. Apart from that, it’s all original and a true surviver.. so many of these are beaten up.
They are built to high standards too, all stainless steel cases and bezels, plus waterproof to 200m, just like their bigger brothers. A true old school tool watch for the watch collectors son or better half. Another detail (that is high praise to Heuer) is the ‘warm’ lume, it has a very delicate ‘peach’ tint to it, to complement the orange dial. I’ve noted this before on the full sized version. On the black dial divers, the lume has a greenish tint – seems that Heuer really did think about the very fine details. I even managed to find a Black NOS Swiss Sport Tropic strap for it, and a NOS Blue Tropic Star strap – plus I made a black leather rally strap for it.
These were seen in the ’81 Heuer speciality catalogue as well as the ‘82 catalogues. Back then they cost quite a bit.. at £128.24 in the UK and $240 at US dealers.
Catalogue link over on OTD:
1981 Speciality Catalogue
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.