Heuer Audi Sport 510.533 Lemania 5100
Heuer Audi Sport 510.533 Lemania 5100, c1983-4
Fire up the Quattro…
When two motorsport legends came together in the early 80’s to celebrate their successes, this was the result. Heuer’s motorsport heritage combined with Audi’s equally illustrious achievements, specifically their remarkable foundation-shaking turbocharged dominance of rallying in the early 80’s, makes this timepiece very special indeed.
Given that motorsport runs deep in Heuer’s blood, it’s surprising there aren’t more examples donning various petrol fueled logos, in fact the opposite is true, they are pretty much nonexistent. Sure, we have the super-rare “MG” and “Indianapolis Motor Speedway” co-branded early Carreras that starred at the Haslinger Bonhams auction in Dec 2010, and a Volvo branded Carrera has been spotted, but this Audi Sport (as far as I’m aware) is the only mechanical Heuer Chronograph co-branded directly with a motorsport division or team.
Solving the Audi Sport Mystery…
There was a lot of mystery surrounding this model.. especially as it is so rare, with only an armful known amongst Heuer collectors, and never seen in any Heuer catalogue. Exact numbers amongst collectors is unknown, but guessed at 10-20 max over the years). Actual manufacture numbers must have been higher, 150, maybe 200, no one really knows. Until recently, there were many ‘best educational guesses’ that offered up its origins. The most common is that this watch was Audi Sport team issue only, and that a limited numbers were offered as an optional extra if you bought the very expensive road going version of the Group B Audi rally car. There certainly was some supporting information to back this, I even managed to speak to someone who was gifted one in the 80’s from a Scottish Audi dealer for buying many company cars from them. Various experts have debated the possible history and distribution of this watch, and I have kept my ear to the ground for two and a half years picking up bits of info and collating the ‘ultimate write up’.. then all of this hearsay was blown out the water by the definitive truth…
A friend of mine and fellow Heuer enthusiast, Dave Black, hit the jackpot. He too had an Audi Sport, and we were both trying to piece together its history.. and rather ironically, the answer was a stones-throw from his front door in the North of England. A local jeweller/watch shop turned out to be the sole UK importer for the Audi Sport… Dave was contacted by Nigel, an Audi & Heuer enthusiast, after seeing Dave’s watch photos on an Audi forum.. Turns out that Nigel was a long-time Audi nut and had bought a Heuer Audi Sport from Prestons of Bolton in ’83. Nigel and his family knew the family who owned Prestons, and his sister even worked there on the Heuer stand.
Turns out that the watch was commissioned via Audi Sport U.K. VAG U.K. Ltd & David Sutton Motorsport Ltd., and Prestons of Bolton were UK Heuer importers and were the sole importers of the Audi Sport. They distributed to Audi dealers but retained a stock for their shop. Nigel’s sister recalls that they were only on sale for about 2 months, and the window display consisted of the watch on a red display with an Audi Quattro behind it. Nigel also enlightened Dave about the original advert that was placed in a popular book amongst rallying enthusiasts; ‘Audi Sport, World of Rallying No.6 by Martin Holmes’. Dave and myself have managed to track down a couple of copies online.
Nigel also recalled that it originally came in a blue box (not a red rally box, as some thought) together with an Audi Sport branded outer sleeve. He also noted that Hannu Mikkola has one and also David Sutton of David Sutton Motorsport & Museum fame. He also thinks that all the drivers from that year were given these watches. (See Dave’s post over on TZ-UK)
I’ve had the pleasure of swapping a few emails with Nigel, and it just goes to show that new information on these old Heuers still keeps coming to light!
There were two variants…
Not many people know that there are actually two variants of the Audi Sport.. the difference is minimal, with just a slight change to the hour subdial markers.. there is more information here on TZ-UK by Lemania expert ‘Pascal S’ – about halfway down the page.
Even the great Chuck Maddox wrote that the Audi Sport was powered by a Lemania 5012, a mistake that Calibre 11 cleared up on a thread over at Watchuseek:
“The Audi Sport uses the Lemania 5100… Where it gets confusing is that the 5100 usually has the 24 hour register, but take a look at the Heuer Silverstone Lemania and the Heuer Audi Sport – it’s missing. Apparently Heuer/ Lemania modified the 5100 to remove the function on some watches. All this despite having the 5012 movement on the shelf, which had already lost the 24-hour function. Seems strange, but there are many things that don’t make sense about Swiss watches in the early 1980s.”
The Heuer Lemania’s were admired enormously by the great Chuck Maddox, and if you want some in-depth reading regarding the Lemania movements and the watches they sat in, have a read of his well penned site:
Watch Legends: The Calibre Lemania 5100 “Not beautiful but Rare”
Further reading about Audi in the 80’s…
Audi History/Motorsport PDF Link
Audi Motorsport Official webpage info
Interesting Website on Audi
1. Hertz and Mikkola, Hannu Mikkola wearing (allegedly) his Audi Sport.
2. The mighty 80’s Audi Quattro gettin’ some air.
3 & 4. TAG Heuer still have an ongoing partnership with Audi Sport, but instead of rallying, Audi Sport have been a dominant force at Le Mans.