Camaro 73443 NT 30 Dato (Stardust)
Heuer Camaro Ref. 73443 NT 30Min Dato. Valjoux 7734. c1971
The combination of black dial, date and tachy scale make this a special little watch. (NT = Noir / Tachy). There aren’t many of these kicking around, even a substantial Google-ing comes up pretty poorly for this particular model, especially with the correct fluted pushers.
It’s not a big watch, but it sits so elegantly on the wrist, and manages to pull together a killer combination of drivers tool watch, elegance, and vintage cool all in a classic yet masculine design. To top it off, it’s powered by the respected and highly accurate 18,000bph hand wind Valjoux 7734 movement.
It was Jack Heuer who was the driving forced behind the design and production of the Camaro. Despite the name, he commented recently that the watch had no commercial connection with the American muscle car. Sadly, the Camaro range was a short lived, only being seen in the 1970 to 72 catalogues. This one carries serial number 232594, which, according to Heuer expert Mark Moss, is most likely from 1971, he noted on OTD that “232xxx suggests a date late in 1971 rather than anything earlier”.
This watch is far from mint, but it’s patina and ‘wabi’ is quite charming. What really makes it stand out is the remarkable ‘stardust’ dial. This is something that the Rolex boys will be quite familiar with, being a rare and desirable ‘fault’ in a handful of Rolex Sea-Dweller dials that causes the lacquer to deteriorate creating a beautiful stardust effect. Admittedly, not everyone likes this patina, personally I find it quite appealing. Its effect varies hugely depending on the light conditions. Sometimes it is barely visible, other times it glitters in the sun. I’ve tried to capture it on the photos to give a true representation of how lovely it is.
Another Camaro-ism is the off-centre Heuer shield… in the shot below, you can see the middle of the U doesn’t line up with the shield apex. This is something common to Camaro’s, I can’t recall ever seeing one that wasn’t like this. Unfortunately the top of the U has some paint scratched off, something I will happily put up with to get that dial.
Camaro 73443 NT Dato shown bottom right. 1970-71 Heuer brochure courtesy of OTD