Heuer AMI 1000 Series 510.543
Heuer Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI) 1000 Series 510.543 (Civilian)
I can’t quite believe I’ve managed to get my grubby paws on this beauty. As Jeff Stein says over on OTD, “This is one of Heuer’s “cult” watches — collectors chase them for years; they appear suddenly and vanish even more quickly”.
This isn’t actually an issued watch – hence why it says ‘Civilian’, it was custom for a prolific collector known to most Heueristas (Davis D). Built using an identical case from Sinn, that was used in the factory Heuer AMI’s. It was professionally overhauled, case back was stripped of the SInn markings, given a circular brush effect, and had NOS AMI dial, handset, pushers, crown and seals, plus a completely overhauled movement. Ok, technically it’s a franken to the purist, but I couldn’t care less.. it’s ice cool. The only notable difference is that the day/date is English black on white instead of Italian white on black, but I have seen another AMI with black on white – so I’m not sure about that being a ‘rule’. I’ve fitted it on the bracelet from my Super Professional, which suits it perfectly and fits like a glove. The head isn’t massive, it’s not as big as the Heuer 510.50X series, but is wonderfully shaped, and I prefer the brush effect to the factory bead blasted finish.
I have to admit, I don’t know the full history behind these watches, but one thing is certain, they are rare and very hard to come by.
Clearly built for the Italian Air Force, or ‘Aeronautica Militare Italiana’, they seem to come from around 1982-4. It’s part of Heuer ‘1000 Series’ of Lemania 5100 driven models, all with a similar design. The dial features the AMI initials & wings, and the 3H symbol often seen on military watches. I believe that this is a military symbol to indicate Tritium in the lume, with H-3 being the chemical symbol (hydrogen-3 isotope).
Further reading about the Lemania 5100 driven Heuers can be found on Caliber 11 here.