Vintage Heuer / TAG Heuer watches, and a few others. Plus Handmade straps..

Squale Marina Militare 50 Atmos

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Squale ‘1521’ 50 Atmos Marina Militare

First off, I’m not entirely sure if this is technically a Ref. 1521, it’s certainly very similar to the current models bearing that reference. I’m not sure when that reference number came into use at Squale.

I’ve always liked Von Buren/Squale cased watches, and have owned a few Heuers and a modern Squale 1521 with those case shapes.

I won’t pretend to be any expert in military and/or issued watches, but the research I have done points to this example being from circa 1980 to early ‘90’s.

This particular watch was owned by a profuse collector of Marina Militare/COMSUBIN watches. He is a former military recon diver, and posted a very good account of his collection, with their history here:

This collector sold it on, and I ended up buying it from another diving enthusiast based in France.
This Squale has a rare Bakelite bezel, which features illuminscent minute numerals, which amazingly still glow – but it’s very faint. It’s presumed that this bezel was specified by COMSUBIN – the name given to the of the Comando Subacqueo Incursori , based in La Spezia, North Eastern Italy.

The watch also came with a straight lugged Squale signed oyster-esk bracelet. I’m not sure if this is original to the watch, but it’s a nice extra to have. Unfortunetly it’s way to tight for me, but I’ve bought an almost identical aftermarket version, which does the job nicely.

The watch itself is pretty beaten up, and the bezel looks like salt water and sun has caused for fatigue.. but that’s what is so charming about it, it has been used as a tool, and shows it.
If anyone has any other info on this model, please comment!

Written by Heuerville

October 26, 2015 at 12:09 am

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Fortis Stratoliner 571.10.142

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Fortis Stratoliner

Fortis Stratoliner 571.10.142 Lemania 5100 movement, c1988

I’ve had this Stratoliner for over 2 years, but I’ve only just got around to getting a replacement handset fitted. Fortis experts will know that this model came out the factory with ‘paddle’ shaped hour & min hands (see last photo below). They weren’t to my taste, so I sourced some more ‘traditional’ L5100 hands from a Sinn L5100.
The sub-dial hands have been left OEM.

I don’t know a great deal about this model. I believe it’s from circa 1988 and was the predecessor to the well known Cosmonaut. This model was also used as a base for a Merceded Benz limited edition, which featured the Benz ‘Star’ on one of the hands. There is also an identical CYMA badged model to this.

It does have some nice touches, like the number-less hour plots, a domed crystal and drilled lugs, and of course that L5100 workhorse of an engine. It is a very good do-all tool watch, and works very well on a NATO strap. The case is 39mm and 15.5mm thick with 100m WR.

Below shown with the OEM handset..

Written by Heuerville

July 25, 2015 at 3:26 pm

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Tudor Submariner 7016/0 ‘Snowflake’ ’68

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Tudor Snowflake

Tudor Submariner 7016/0 ‘Snowflake’ 1968

I picked up this little gem some 10 months ago, but only just realized that I hadn’t added it to the blog. I’m a real sucker for these old Tudor Subs, whether they be a Snowflake variant or not.

Not being a vintage Tudor expert, I wasn’t confident to hunt one down from unknown private sellers, so I jumped on this one when I saw my friends over at HQMilton listing it, especially as it was freshly serviced and running to COSC specs.

Having rescued many Heuers over the years that have needed a little TLC, I decided to go for this one and get this old-timer back to it’s former glory. Not that it needed a lot of work.. the only thing that was ‘wrong’ with it was that the lume on the dial had been partially cleaned away. Presumably it had badly flaking hour lume plots, and a well meaning watchmaker cleaned it away. Sadly this is not that uncommon, and the hour plots didn’t match the original untouched creamy lume of the hands. Thankfully the rest of the dial is is stunning condition.

So I decided to get the hour plots tidied up and relumed, and a big thanks goes to James Hyman, who is one of the finest master vintage relumers. I’ve used James many times over the years, but he knocked this one out of the park. The colour match with the hands is spot on, even the texture is perfectly matched. More astonishing is that he matched the now non-existent glow of the hands.

I know some collectors prefer no relume work, but I honestly think it was a good decision, and I enjoy the watch far more now.

I won’t attempt to do a write up on the history of this model, as my knowledge is severely lacking. You are far better off following the links below to some great articles written by some real Tudor experts.



Written by Heuerville

April 20, 2015 at 4:05 pm

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Heuer Regatta 134.601 (Black PVD)

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Heuer Regatta 134.601

Heuer Regatta 134.601 ‘Flyback’ Lemania Cal. 1345, c1983 

I’ve been into Heuers for a fair few years now, and although I’ve been aware of the Regatta ‘600’ series, I didn’t really care too much about it.. it wasn’t on my radar. I bought this one as a bit of a punt, and it turns out that it’s really grown on me, to the point that I wear it a lot.

It needed a little TLC, in the form of a fresh service and replacing the heavily scratched glass, apart from that it’s untouched. It has a real heft and solid feeling to it, which makes for a great daily wearer, especially when paired with an Isofrane. The design has dated well too, and has a very current look to it. I’m a huge fan of the last Autavias, with that wonderful 11063 case… this is essentially the same case, just with one less pusher, and the crown on the right.

When the countdown timer isn’t in use, the big ‘space shuttle’ orange & black chrono hand sweeps continuously, a feature which I love. Those wonderful cut-out countdown discs remain black and rather menacing looking, kinda ‘Dark Knight’-esk. It definitely has a military-tool feel about it. The lack of date and hour batons add to it’s stealthy look. The PVD has worn on the usual exposed edges, but to a dark titanium-ish colour, which is really appealing.

When the chrono pusher is activated, the big orange hand flies back to the 12 position, and the blank black discs come alive with a vibrant blue. This is T minus 10 mins, as each minute passes, the blue discs rotate clockwise to reveal orange discs. When all are orange, it’s T minus 5 mins.. then minute by minute they turn black again. This is all for the benefit of a sail-boats Skipper. One glance at his watch, and he can see how long before the start of the Regatta… Essentially, it’s a 10 minute countdown to the start of a sail-boat race.. A cannon sounds a 10 minute warning, in that time, the Skipper has to tack his yacht so that when the cannon sounds the start of the race, the yacht is just about to cross the start line at full sail. A T-10 min cannon is sounded, then a T-5 min cannon, then the ‘Start’ cannon. Below are photos of the timer running through the countdown.

For more reading on the history of the Regatta and other Yachting chronos from Heuer, check out http://www.regatta-yachttimers.com/brands/heuer/

Hodinkee did a little write-up too, here: http://hodinkee.squarespace.com/blog/2009/10/20/vintage-heuer-regatta-in-pvd-the-ultimate-urban-yachtsmans-t.html

For more reading on Heuer Skippers & Yacht timers, check out Henrik’s site.. http://www.heuerchrono.com
..and more on the ‘5 dot’ timers here… http://www.heuerchrono.com/heuer-5-dots/

See the three ‘600’ series models in the 1983 catalogue… http://onthedash.com/Guide/_Catalogs/1983_Chronograph_Catalog/?show=83TFAA17A.jpg

..and the countdown explanation from the same catalogue… http://onthedash.com/Guide/_Catalogs/1983_Chronograph_Catalog/?show=83TFAA17B.jpg

Below is a series of photos showing the countdown timer in progress…
10 minute countdown begins, the discs switch to blue and the orange chrono hand flies back to zero…

5 minutes left…

20 seconds to go…

Written by Heuerville

August 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Hamilton Pilots Chrono Military Issued

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Hamilton Pilots Chrono Military Issued / Royal Navy 1972, Val. 7733

This is a pilots chrono issued by the British Royal Navy in 1972. The caseback markings are 0552, signifying Royal Navy. If you find one marked marked 6BB, it means Royal Air Force issued, and 6645-99 if Royal Australian Navy issued. It features the classic 39-40mm asymmetric case with fixed bars, and robust manual wind Valjoux 7733 movement.

I’m no military watch expert, and if you wish to read up on these watches, there is no better place than a superb article on Worn and Wound.. here is an excerpt from the article..

“In the early 1970s, while the United States maintained and grew its military in response to the conflict in Southeast Asia and its cold war with the Soviet Union, the British government was in the process of reducing its armed forces in both size and cost. As a very small part of these austerity measures, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) revised the Defense Standard (DEF-STAN) that prescribed the design characteristics of military pilots’ watches to allow for cheaper, commercially available movements to be used. This change allowed manufactures to begin using one of the classic workhorse chronograph movements of the 1970s: the Valjoux 7733. This movement and the unique case design of these watches combined to become THE British military pilot’s watch throughout the ‘70s and into the early ‘80s.”

Click here for the full article – it’s well worth a read..


Written by Heuerville

July 15, 2014 at 7:55 pm

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Rolex Submariner 1680

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Rolex Submariner 1680, Cal. 1575 COSC, Date with open numbers & flat 3.
1978 – 5.4mil Serial. (with Superdome crystal)

Normally I do a little write up on the history of a particular model, but this watch needs little introduction, and there is nothing I can add to the plethora of information out there. Here is a quote from VintageSubmariner.com..

“In 1965, Rolex introduced the caliber 1565, which was both C.O.S.C. certified and had a date display. In 1971, Rolex iterated the caliber to include hacking (meaning the seconds hand stops when the crown is pulled out for time setting). The 1565 caliber lead to a new model series, the 168X series. Reference 1680 was introduced in 1965 or 1966 and had the chronometer status and a date display. This also introduced the Cyclops date magnifier to the Submariner line.”

I bought my first Rolex a year or so back, a 16800 and I didn’t get on with it. I think it was because I had this huge expectation of something astonishing.. and it turned out to be ‘just a divers watch’. I was disappointed, so sold it on.

The itch didn’t go away, so I bought an ‘86 5513.. this I instantly liked. The acrylic non-cyclops crystal made such a difference, combined with no huge expectation. It grew on me quickly. Fast-forward 6 months and I sold it.. a combination of me trying to reduce the collection and the need for a new MacBook. C’est la vie.

Months later I regretted it, and started hunting a maxi dial 5513, but the 1665 Sea-Dweller caught my eye – the non-cyclops crystal with date greatly appealed. One problem, the price. I didn’t want to splash that much on a divers watch. During my hunt, I’d spotted a few 1680’s fitted with plain crystals, and that seemed like an ideal solution.  I know the purists may grimace at such a thing, but the idea didn’t bother me – Rolex deemed the Sea Dweller OK to not have it, so why not!

I read an article recently on ‘ablogtowatch’ about the history of the Sub.. and one fact that really stood out was that the founder , Wildorf, wanted to produce a good quality watch that could be worn by many. This really struck a chord with me.. it wasn’t a super high end watch, but was designed and built as a good quality tool watch – average cost about 2 weeks pay. This makes me love my Sub even more.. it’s not a status symbol, glittery or conspicuous, it’s a tool watch. It’s tough, will do a job, and it carries a certain history with it. It’s the perfect size, weight and supremely comfortable. I have to admit to storing the folded link bracelet.. if I’m honest – it sucks, and I didn’t want to tear it apart to size it. So, I’ve fitted an aftermarket bracelet (gasp!). I’m still not sold on the cyclops, but I have to admit, whilst I wore it before getting the crystal changed, it really grew on me.. but with a superdome crystal fitted.. for me, it’s bang on the money.

Written by Heuerville

July 6, 2014 at 6:49 pm

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Bulova Marine Star

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Bulova Marine Star
Bulova Marine Star, Manual Valjoux 7731, 43mm. c1970’s/80s

You don’t see many of these kicking about, and they have an intriguing history. As far as I know, it wasn’t an issued military watch, but shares its design with the well known issued  Zenith A. Cairelli Tipo CP2. I believe the cases are the same. I read that it’s possible that Zenith had problems with Cairelli, so sold off the cases they had. Although this is calculated guesswork and not proven (as far as I know).

The case is large, being just under 43mm, and features 22mm lugs, a 60 click uni-directional bezel and 50m water resistance.
The fully story of this watch is a bit of a mystery. I’ve tried doing some heavy research, but little comes to light. In fact, the best write-up I found was by a fellow watch collector (Dave “Sweets”), who I know from a few forums – he is a highly respected collector and knows his stuff…

Here is his findings on the Marine Star… well worth a read..

Bulova Marine Star

Bulova Marine Star

Bulova Marine Star

Bulova Marine Star

Bulova Marine Star

Bulova Marine Star

Written by Heuerville

May 25, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Non-Heuer

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