Heuer Diver 844/3 Automatic
Heuer Diver 844/3. Oversized 42mm case. 200m. Automatic ETA 2872. c1983.
Bit of an update.. I wasn’t quite happy with this 844, the hands were a little corroded, the lume not great, and I set about with a mini project with some ideas in my head of how I wanted it.. (original pics are lower down).
I found a replacement Heuer handset, and a Heuer bezel complete with insert. I wanted the faded wabi’d look on the bezel, so after reading about Andy’s success with bleaching a bezel for his Rolex Submariner (over on 24Heuer.com), I thought I’d give it a go, as Andy’s Sub looked great…
So I sent my Heuer diver off to James (thanks bud) for a creamy vintage relume of the handset… (he had also relumed the hour markers a while back) and I set about bleaching the bezel insert as per Andy’s instructions. I was a bit apprehensive, but like with many watch related decisions, a few beers were involved to pluck up the courage. I have to admit, I didn’t leave the insert in the bleach for as long as Andy did – I did it in 2-3 minute ‘dunkings’… I think the older Heuer insert was quicker to fade as it already had some well earned wear. I dunked, wiped with kitchen towel, rinsed under the tap, then repeated to get the effect I wanted.
Anyway, I was quite pleased with the results – leaving the insert faded with darker edges. I then set about trying to find an oyster to fit the head. When Heuer first released this model, it was sold with a rather cool looking oyster, but this option was short lived, and they changed to the jubilee. (these original oysters are like hens teeth).. so I bought a few aftermarket oysters, but the endlinks didn’t quite fit. Eventually I found someone who did have two bracelets (old stock) with endlinks that fitted. They were part polished, part brushed. I took the endlinks, brush finished the center polished section and used them with an all brushed bracelet I already had, so 2 bracelets = 1 that fitted & was correctly brushed all over.
I’m quite pleased with the results, the bezel has a soft blue-grey hue and is very pleasing to the eye… I know disagree, but I think it’s great.
At last… the estimable Heuer 844… ‘some say’ that you’re not a true petrol head if you haven’t owned an Alfa, I think the same applies to being a Heuer fan and owning an 844.
This was quite a hit in its day, and the design has aged well, with many modern dive watches looking not too dissimilar. I suppose you could call it the poor mans Rolex Submariner. If you were being more generous, you could argue that it offered a genuine, bigger, tougher looking alternative to the Sub. Either way, its great no-nonsense tool diver. The famous 42mm screw down crown case design has influenced many tool divers to this day. The case was also shared with the Quartz variants, which helped Heuer survive the ‘quartz bad times’, ironically caused by the quartz itself.
I’m not alone in not knowing the differences between the 844/1, 2 and 3. It has been discussed over on OTD a few times, with little to show. Some 3’s had ‘Automatic’ written on the dial, some didn’t. I’m not entirely sure why this is, whether manufacture date or market/country specific. One option was that it could have been there were more than one dial suppliers.
As far as I’m aware, the Heuer 844/4 (day/date) didn’t have it, but the later TAG Heuer 844/5 did. Very confusing, and typical Heuer! I believe that versions 1, 2 & 3 all had the ETA 2872 movement. One difference noted by collector Paul Gavin from Heuerworld, is that the 844/2 dial was marked ‘T Swiss T’ the others has ‘Swiss Made’.
It’s difficult to accurately track the 844 series past the original, as the catalogues (1979-84) only list the models as ‘844’ throughout its life, with no ‘version number’. Furthermore, the photographs tend to be of the Quartz 980.006 variant, as that was when Quartz was having its heyday & was marketed more vigorously.