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

Archive for the ‘Heuer Chronographs’ Category

Autavia 1163T Siffert

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Heuer Autavia 1163T Siffert, Cal. 11 Mk4 w/Mk6 dial/hands, c1971 (on loan)

A big thanks goes to fellow Heuer collector and master Heuer tinterer James for letting me try out his Siffert. Thanks bud.

So, this is a 1971 Mk4 version with a Cal. 11 movement. At some time in it’s life it has most probably had the dial and hands replaced at service, so it has the later Mk6 dial, with the 1-12 numerals on the hour counter. This Mk6 livery is actually one of my favourite Sifferts, I love the blue tipped hands and tramline hour batons. (Earlier models had ridged batons). This is actually the first Siffert I have ever handled or seen in the flesh, and I’m genuinely blown away by it. Up until this point I had always admired the Siffert, but was of the mindset that it was a little overpriced compared to its other Autavia brothers. Now I can see the appeal, and why they command top prices – it is strikingly beautiful, and I can see why it is firmly one of the most sought after Heuers.

I won’t go into too much detail about Jo Siffert, but to simply say he was a legendary Swiss racing driver who loved his Heuers, and wore a white dialed 1163T for a long time. If you want to read up on his illustrious career, check out the Siffert Wiki page here. For some more reading and great photos of Jo Siffert, check out fellow Italian Heuer collector GMV’s blog here.

Written by Heuerville

May 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Heuer Montreal 750.503N Convex Case

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Heuer Montreal 750.503N Convex, Valjoux 7750, c1977-81

I do like these old Heuer tool watches, they are both elegant and tough. They are often overlooked in the world of vintage Heuers, taking a back seat to its more glamorous cousins. This underdog-ness has an appeal all of it’s own. This convex barrel style case is not huge, being slightly smaller than the concave cased Montreal (and the very similar Pasadena). It has a very nice balance to it on the wrist, and on the aftermarket Hadley Roma oyster bracelet, it really wears well. The starburst finish on the upper surface adds a nice touch, adding a touch of elegance to the toolness. The dial is lovely, the lume markers showing their age with a beautiful patina, which is matched by the faded central chrono hand that had developed a khaki colour – many fade to a pinky-orange. It really does look fantastic.

As mentioned above, the Valjoux 7750 Montreal was available in two case designs, a convex and concave style case.  The convex style seen here is the more rare variant, and until recently, only presumed to exist as a ‘non-named’ version, ie. without Montreal written on the dial. This presumption is based on the fact that there is (at the time of writing) no catalogue picture of the convex case with a named dial. So this watch seemed to be a slight mystery – of course I presumed it was possibly that it had been re-dialled, but then a fellow collector got in touch recently who has another example with the name on the dial, which was confirmed with a series of photos. Another little piece of the Heuer puzzle solved – the convex cases were available with the name on the dial.

The 7750 Montreal and Pasadena range can get a little confusing, and my research, together with some help from fellow OTDers, into these models is more clearly described here on OTD, where I shared my results.

Here is a short extract:

3) 750.503N Montreal
Black dial, Concave lip barrel case, Circular brush effect Stainless Steel.
(In OTD catalogues 1982 Speciality)

4) 750.503N Montreal (yes, same ref. no. as above but different case)
Black dial, Convex barrel case, Starburst Effect Stainless Steel.
(OTD catalogue 1977, 1978, 1981 Speciality)

Catalogue links via On The Dash 1977 Catalogue | 1978 Catalogue | 1981 Speciality catalogue

(N= Noir (black) Dial) (later models didn’t have Montreal on the dial)


The Bracelet
Genuine Heuer bracelets are hard to find in great condition, and when you do they can be very expensive. I bought a solid link 22mm Hadley Roma oyster style bracelet, and filed the end pieces down to 20mm, resulting in the same ‘cut-in’ look of the original. I have to say it looks the business, and dare I say it, far better than the folded original Heuer bracelet, not to mention it’s superior quality solid links. The weight of the bracelet works perfectly with the weight of the head, and is very comfortable to wear, yet you can still fell a nice weight to the whole package.  If you do fancy a change, it works very well on a NATO, and of course a rally style strap always looks good, but the bracelet would be my choice.

Filing the bracelet end pieces was pretty straightforward; I didn’t use specialist tools, just a pocket tool file, some wet n dry, and a digital micrometer/vernier caliper. I protected the closest links with some cardboard (which needs to be checked often), and simply hand filed one side, making sure my file was square-on, and periodically checking the width with the caliper – when I hit  (just under) 21mm, I did the other side. A bit of wet n dry to tidy the edges, and voila, 19.95mm endlinks.

Written by Heuerville

May 5, 2012 at 10:23 am

Heuer Carrera 510.511 PVD

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Heuer Carrera 510.511 PVD, Lemania 5100 powdered c1983-5

I finally managed to bag one of these uber-cool Lemania 5100 driven Carreras. I have to thank a fellow Swiss collector for allowing me to get my grubby mitts on this mint example of this bad-ass tool watch. The size is perfect, it’s no oversized beast, being 38mm across without the crown. Even though many tool-esk Heuers are bigger, this Carrera is surprisingly well balanced and comfortable, especially shod with a DD handmade strap, (those in the Heuer community know how charming they are.) You really don’t notice you are wearing it, and it can be worn slightly loose on the wrist without the head slip-sliding around.

I find the overall design and case fascinating, the case is unusual in its shape for a Heuer, sort of flat and squarish, imagine a flattened Autavia case, not that dissimilar to the cushion cased/turtleback divers from the 70’s. It’s very utilitarian, it means business, yet at the same time, quite elegant and minimal. The PVD is immaculate, the matt finish soaking up any light.. this gives it a very mil-look appearance, it really is jet black – hold it against almost anything else that is black, that it makes stuff look like a deep grey washed-out black.  And lets not forget this is a Carrera, a legendary name, this model coupled with a legendary movement – the Lemania 5100. Add to the mix an iconic dial design, handset and sublime high acrylic crystal.. and, well.. to be honest, there’s not a lot more you’d want from a watch. Interestingly, Chuck Maddox notes that this was Heuers first use of the Lemania 5100 movement.

Released in c1983, this continued to be available until 1985, so was among the last in the line of the ‘Named’ Heuers. This one has a signed Heuer crown, which I believe is unusual.. in an article by Chuck Maddox, he waxes lyrical about this Lemania driven Carrera, as it was one of his favourite chronographs, being a daily wearer for him. He writes that they do not have a signed crown – whereas my example does.. maybe it is a late model, or the crown was fitted as that was all that was left, who knows, but I’m not going to worry about a Heuer signed crown.

Article on the Carrera Lemania 5100 by Chuck Maddox.

This model was available in two variations, this one with the PVD finish, and the stainless steel model (510.523), which had polished sides and a sunburst brush finish to the upper case.. this is now on my hit list too.

Seen here in the Heuer 1983 Catalogue, and the 1984/5 catalogue via On The Dash.

Carrera 510.511 PVD

Written by Heuerville

April 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Heuer Autavia 11630 Tachy Black/White (Viceroy Colours)

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Heuer Autavia 11630 T Black/White, Cal. 12, c 1973-4

I already have in my collection a regular 1163V Viceroy model, so when I decided to go for a 11630 version, I knew what I was getting, so there wasn’t a great deal of excitement waiting for it to arrive… how wrong I was. I love it, it really is a very handsome watch – it oozes cool and class, fullstop. It has a certain luxury quality about it too, one thing that helps create this are the steel Monaco-esk main hands, something unique to this colourway, as (if I remember correctly) all the other 11630’s have painted handsets.  Yes, these models aren’t rare, or hard to come by, but it is a beautifully made and just goes to show that you don’t have to spend years hunting a rare piece, or a pay a kings ransom to really enjoy a vintage Heuer.

What’s really pleasing about this one, is that the surface ‘gloss’ on the tachy bezel insert has worn away over the years, leaving a very deep matt grey-black, which is just sublime – the silver tachy scale really ‘punches’ out against the matt backdrop. I hadn’t planned to put it on a ‘perlon’ NATO strap, but I think it looks wonderful on it.

This has the more common Schmitz case, with the deep-dish caseback . The Piquerez cases has more shallow stepped caseback. More info on case differences can be seen here at OTDs Viceroy guide.

Although I mention Viceroy, this model actually falls outside of the promotion dates. This model has no ‘V’ stamped along with ‘11630’ on the case, Serial is 300950, located low on the lug end, (as is the ‘11630’ on the other side).  Mark Moss, a renowned Heuer specialist, has undergone a large amount of research, as yet unpublished, into the serial numbers of the Autavias – his best guess is that this particular watch was not part of the Viceroy promotion, and was produced after the promo, in around 1973/4. Heuer continued to sell this model long after the promo ended in late ‘72, the design carrying on into the 11063 cased Autavias. Despite this technically not being a Viceroy, these watches are still referred to as such or as ‘Viceroy colours’, as it immediately identifies the colourway from other 11630s.

Despite this model being very well known, and not exactly a rare piece, the odd thing is that (as far as I know), it doesn’t appear in any catalogues that are online at the usual places (OTD or Calibre 11). The earlier 1163 and last of the Autavias, the 11063 are seen, but not the 11630. What is slightly confusing to the layman, is that the 11063 model is sometimes referred to as the 11630 in some catalogues. This is a known error amongst the Heuer community, and is attributed to an art dept. error when designing the catalogues.

Written by Heuerville

March 23, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Heuer Autavia 2446C GMT Mk3

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Heuer Autavia 2446C GMT mk3, Valjoux 724, c1969

This is a beautiful early edition to my collection. The large majority of which are mid 70’s to mid 80’s, so it’s nice to get a real old ‘un. This is the Mark 3 version of the manual wind compression cased Autavia GMTs. It is distinguished by its red central chrono hand, polished hands and fluted pushers. The caseback is high polished and blank, the only markings being the small concentric circles positioned right on the edge which indicate where to open the compression case (the ‘C’ references this).

This example has a lot of wonderful wabi to it. It is no safe queen and has clearly been used as a daily wearer, it’s 40+ year existence marked with scratches, fading and tiny scars. This all works beautifully with the sun bleached bezel and creamy sub dials, it is wonderful. I did have the tip of the GMT hand and the hour hands relumed in a vintage hue, as it was almost black and more than likely to flake off. The central red chrono hand had some chips in it, so that was sympathetically touched up. (Many thanks to Jimbo again). It does have marks on the outside of all four lugs, which was a bit baffling, but we reckon it has been in a make-shift case holder at some point of its life, but this only ads to the decades of wear and patina. The observant wil have spotted that the GMT hand is slightly out, so I think it’s about time the old girl gets a well deserved a service, so it’ll be off soon.

The Mk4 version is seen in the 1970/71 catalogues, so this Mk3 can be fairly accurately dated to 1969.
More details are in the OTD Master Reference Table (line D4) and see all the versions in the Photo Library.

Shown below with a NOS tachy bezel, I know it’s incorrect, but it looks great…

Written by Heuerville

February 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Heuer Silverstone Triple – Full Cal. 12 Set

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Heuer Silverstone Cal. 12 Full set c1975

I know I’ve covered these watches before, but this is the first time they have been shot as a full set. There is little to add to the individual posts but one thing to note is how special they feel to handle them all together. Something very special indeed.

Read about them individually..
Blue Silverstone 110.313B | Red Silverstone 110.313R | Fume Silverstone 110.313F

Written by Heuerville

February 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Heuer Autavia 30 Ref. 7763c MH

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Heuer Autavia 30 Ref. 7763c MH, c1968-71. Valjoux 7730, Compressor case.

I picked this up last year, and I’ve grown to love it a lot. It’s got a nice amount of wabi, with its faded minute/hour bezel insert, which is a beautiful blue grey that gradients paler towards the coin milled edge of the bezel. The majority of the hour baton lume had disappeared, so it went away for a minor refresh, courtesy of James, who has expertly relumed the stunning wide hour batons and hands in a perfect vintage cream colour.

It’s a big watch for it’s period, being 44mm with the crown. The (20mm) squared lugs are beautiful, they have a crisp, strong architectural quality, and the design shrugs off it’s years, it has a very modern look and feel about it with that added magic of it being 40 odd years old. This model, as referenced by the ‘C’ is the compressor snap-back case, which is signed with an large engraved Heuer logo and the Autavia lettering. (I really should have taken a photo). Shown here on a traditional style rally strap, it looks very business-like, but it also looks great on a battered pale honey strap, giving it a very relaxed ‘off-duty’ feel about it – great with lounging around on the weekend in those knackered old comfy jeans.

Although considered more of a vintage dress chrono nowadays, it was originally considered tool watch.. shown in Heuer (& Chronosport) catalogues from 1968 to 71, and has a depth rating of 330 ft. The 1969/70 Chronosport catalogue listed it (maybe a little generously) under its Diving Watches section, subtitled “Especially selected for their rugged reliability and waterproof qualities”, and describes it as…

“A top quality water resistant chronograph fitted with a rotating minute and hour bezel. 17 jewel precision movement with incabloc shock absorbers and specially treated hairspring and strengthened mainspring and glass. All stainless steel case and bezel. The 1/5 second flyback push-button operated stopwatch is fitted with a minute recording dial, and the mechanism may be stopped and restarted without zeroing the recorder. Black low-reflection dial, high retention luminosity and contrasting white secondary dials make this chronograph ideal for conditions where quick readings must be made accurately. Complete with leather strap this watch is both attractive and very strong”
See it here in the 1969/70 Brochure and description here on OTD.

This model was also available with a Tachy scale, which connects it more to it’s racing roots, and also available with a rice grain stainless steel bracelet. The Chronosport description mentions a leather strap, this is plausable, although it’s more commonly known to have been offered with a corfam strap…
It can also be seen here (bottom left) in the 1970 catalogue on steel bracelet on OTD, where the corfam strap option is mentioned.

NB. Commonly referred to as an Autavia 7763, I’m not entire sure of the absolute correct name.. the catalogue of the day list it as ‘Ref. 7763 MH Autavia 30’. Collectors seem to add the ‘C’ to denote the compressor case. It is simply stamped 7763 between the lugs. This particular example is probably early, as it’s serial no. is 112XXX.

Written by Heuerville

February 19, 2012 at 11:33 am

Silverstone Bordeaux 110.313R

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Heuer Silverstone Bordeaux

Heuer Silverstone  110.313B c1975. Cal. 12

I’m lucky enough to get my mitts on another Silverstone.. this time the beautiful Bordeaux, or ‘Red’. It’s interesting that the three Silverstones have different finishes to the dials. The Fume has the sunburst dial, the Blue is lightly brushed and metallic, and the Red, seen here is a flat colour. This may seem ‘plain’ compared to the slightly more exotic finishes of it’s brothers, but the finish of the red dial is sublime. The gloss bordeaux, is wonderful. It has a simple an alluring quality that reflect the ambient light in a wonderful manor.. sometimes it appear almost blue,well, more bluey-purple. Other times it is full red, then almost black.

Like my Blue Silverstone, this Red has been fitted with a new sapphire crystal (yes, I said sapphire)… Rob at Nakai Watches went to great lengths to secure the manufacture of exact replacement sapphire crystals. NOS mineral glasses are like hens teeth, and would cost a fortune, so these new sapphires are a revelation. More details on the sapphire crystals here. Again, like my Blue dial version, I’ve forgone a vintage bracelt of leather/corfam strap in favour of an aftermarket Hadley Roma Oyster bracelet. I think it suits the watch perfectly, and is very well made, it’s solid links adds a hefty weight, with balances the Silverstones big head.

The ‘red’ is the only model that TAG Heuer didn’t release as a ‘re-edition’. The Fume was re-released as a brown colour, the Blue was re-released as a straight blue. There is one exception though.. TAG Heuer built a one off reissue Red, bearing the signature of Jack Heuer, and was sold as part of the Haslinger Collection at the infamous Bonhams auction – it achieved a sum of £12,000, with all proceeds going to charity.

A big thanks goes to Rob at Nakia watches for selling me this wonderful timepiece, and for the sapphire crystal, the infamous DD who got me hooked on the ‘Red’ with his renowned wristshots, and James for fitting the crystal and sorting out a minor hand issue.

Written by Heuerville

February 12, 2012 at 12:28 am

Autavia 11063 GMT

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Heuer Autavia 11063 GMT, Cal. 14, c1984/5

What can I say, this is an amazing timepiece. This is THE 11063 that is featured on Davids fantastic Cal. 11 website. Those regular and long time readers of Cal. 11 will know this watch well. Bought in decent condition by David, and restored to perfection with the greatest of care, by master craftsman Abel, this is one very special watch.
Heuer GMT’s aren’t that common, when compared to other models but this later 11063 model is exceedingly hard to find. I don’t really know why, maybe it was because the 11063 range where launched during the early/mid 80’s, when the fashion was not traditional timepieces. Either way, this model is perfect for me. I love the 60’s & 70’s Heuers, but there is something about the 11063 case that just appeals to me. Many prefer the 1163 and 11630, for their classic lines. I agree, and love them too, but I also love the tough, large, tool-like shape of the 11063 case.

Click here to see it in the 1985 Catalogue via On The Dash

I could write forever about this GMT, but as it is well documented over on Cal.11.. so I’ll keep it short and lazily supply the links to the Cal. 11 articles.
I do like watches that have a meaning, a history, a story. This one ticks those boxes… I remember reading about it on Cal. 11 and looking upon it with envy. It’s appeal lies in not only my love for the case, but the toned down grey sub-dials on black, the wide whaite main hands, the patina’d 24 hour hand, the fact that Abel restored it, David owned it, and that it was present at a dinner that David had which with Jack Heuer, who commented on the condition of it –  I believe Jack even handled it. All this makes it very special in my eyes, and gives it a quality that can’t be bought.

I’d like to thank David for allowing me to take it off his hands, I promise to look after it, and I really appreciate it’s story. Thanks DC.
NB. Any marks on the case are simply reflections of the pitted metal backdrop.

Check out the restoration pics and article over on Cal. 11…
Restoration Article | Follow up article
Restoration Gallery

Written by Heuerville

February 5, 2012 at 1:01 am

Heuer 272.006-1 Chronograph / 2000 Series

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Heuer 272.006-1 Chronograph / 2000 Series c1985. NOS

Yet another grey dialed 2000 series here, this a rather stunning NOS example of the quartz+mechanical movement. Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of these 2000 series with the triangular hour markers, they look fantastic, plus the size and balance is spot on. Together with the factory blasted case, it looks the business.

They are stunning in the flesh, with the silver subdials with concentric grooved circles balanced against the plain grey dial.  I’ve said it before about these early 2000 designs, they have a military/tool-ness to them, and the fluted pushes hints back to the early Heuers. Again, this features the ‘super-quartz’ Calibre. 185 movement – it uses the Dubois Depraz 2000 chronograph module mated with a quartz engine.

This model can be seen here in the 1984 catalogue on OTD. In fact, it is listed as simply 272.006. The ‘-1’ were added to the very last models in ’84 & ’85. Heuer usually did this when there was a movement change, or change from unsigned elements to signed elements (like the crown and caseback). The movement is the same as earlier models, so I can only presume that there was a minor change.

Written by Heuerville

January 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm