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

Archive for the ‘Heuer Divers’ Category

Heuer Diver 980.006 (Rhode Island)

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Heuer Diver 980.006, 200m, Oversized 42mm case, ETA 536,121, c1980-84

This is the second 980.006 I’ve posted, so I won’t whittle on about it’s facts n figures.. if you want to read what I wrote before, click here.
This was my first 980.006, bought a long time ago, from a seller in Rhode Island, USA. The lume on it is just lovely.. is has developed into a gorgeous green/grey colour. This watch almost got ruined… I took it to a local watchmaker, before I knew about all the various Heuer experts.

This local watchmaker was absolutely useless. He lost the stem, fitted the wrong glass, and when I went to collect it after he’d had it for over 12 months, he opened it up in front of me with a basic cheap tool, dropped the movement/dial, and caught it roughly in his fumbling hands, pressing the hands and dial with a big fat thumb. I actually gasped. Anyway, after a bit of an argument, I took it back into my custody and sent it to a trusted Heuer expert.. and this is how it now looks, with a new glass, cleaned up dial and new stem.

This version 980.006 can be seen here in the 1981 Speciality catalogue on OTD


Written by Heuerville

September 10, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Heuer Diver 980.006 (Norwegian)

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Heuer Diver 980.006, 200m, Oversized 42mm case, ETA 536,121, c1980-84

First off, ‘Norwegian’ isn’t a special model name, it’s just that I have a few of these tough tool models, this one came from the original owner in Norway, so I just need to identify which is which. I acquired this last Summer, it had a filthy dial, damaged glass & crown.. after a bit of care and attention, it turned out to be a cracker.

The 980.006 is the quintessential no nonsense quartz tool Heuer diver, brother to the 844 Auto series. Appearing in catalogues from around 1981 to 84.
It came supplied with a choice of strap.. “steel bracelet, tropic strap or rubber strap” according to one catalogue,  I presume from these options that the tropic strap was a leather type, but I can’t say for certain.

This is the second variation of the huge 42mm cased 980.006… the very first being identical, apart from: cathedral hands, no ‘quartz’ on the dial, and the bracelet was the oyster type. This 2nd version has become ‘the standard’ being available for many years unaltered until the final version in 1985 when it became the 980.006L, a slimmer cased version. (See my 980.006L here).

The first ‘cathedral hand’ version can be seen here in the French 1979 catalogue on OTD
The second (as this one) can be seen here in the 1981 Speciality catalogue on OTD

Written by Heuerville

September 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Heuer Diver 980.006L

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Heuer Diver 980.006L ‘1000 Series’. 42mm Oversized case, Quartz, 200m, 1985

The oversized case diver series from Heuer served them well. This is a later version of the 980.006, identified by the ‘L’ at the end of the model number. The differences between this ‘L’ version and the earlier 980.006 are – thinner case design, the bezel is recessed slightly into the large case, a thinner movement, a elaborate signed caseback, a signed crown and ‘1000’ on the dial. It’s more slender design is very appealing, and really sits nicely on the wrist. Much like the 844 series, the variant number, or ‘L’ letter in this case were not always displayed in the catalogues, with Heuer simply using the same model code of 980.006. There has been much discussion about some later 1000 series divers not having screw down crowns, like this example. I’ve three ‘oversized’ Heuer 1000 divers from this period (L variant), one has screw down, two push in – one of these (night diver version) had a new crown supplied by Heuer themselves, and they insisted it was push down, and survived a pressure test no problem.

There seems to be far less of these later L variants around, I’ve only ever seen a handful over the years. This is because this variant had an extremely short shelf life, appearing in 1985, just months before Heuer became TAG Heuer. This also makes this a Heuer that can be accurately dated, something not too common in the Heuer world.
This one was a nice amount of wabi to it, the faded bezel insert is just lovely, with it’s soft blue/grey patina – I rather like it, sometimes these faded bezels look cooler than a mint example. It suits its tool diver design and looks great on a NATO.

Written by Heuerville

September 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Heuer Diver 844/3 Automatic

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Heuer Diver 844/3. Oversized 42mm case. 200m. Automatic ETA 2872. c1983.

UPDATE: 11/2/2012
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.

Original post…

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.

Written by Heuerville

September 6, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Heuer Night Diver 980.031L PVD ‘Bond’

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Heuer 980.031L Night Diver, Black PVD,  200m. ETA 963.114 ‘Bond 007’

This is a later version of the 1000 series 38mm cased black PVD Heuer Night Diver, signified by the ‘L’ at the end of the model number from circa 1885. The differences between this and the earlier version from 1983 are a thinner movement, ‘1000’ on the dial and a more elaborate signed case back. The case is also slightly thinner too. It features Heuer’s cool phosphorescent full lume dial for night diving, and the rare black date display. This example has a beautifully even wear to the PVD. All too often we see uneven wear with scratches, this one is just lovely, with an almost black/titanium patina to the case.

This models biggest claim to fame is as being a Bond watch, from the 1987 James Bond film The Living Daylights, staring Timothy Dalton as 007. A great deal of research was invested into identifying the exact model, by Dell Deaton, a Bond expert who runs the website jamesbondwatches.com, with help from fellow Heuer collectors Paul Gavin, David DeVos, and David from Caliber 11. You can read more about the detailed research here:


One thing that I have noted reading through the research is that there is commonly an earlier 980.031 shown as a reference photograph. This is most likely incorrect, if the watch was from 1986/7, the two contenders would be a late Heuer or early TAG Heuer version. If it was the Heuer version, which I am inclined to think (& the research points to), as production of the film started in 1986, then the model shown here (the ‘L’ version) is the most likely culprit. To confuse matters more, this model was also available with a ‘Sky Divers’ bezel, with Countdown (60-0) numerals , the 980.031.60, but this model was eliminated from their research.
Interestingly, Dell Deaton’s research delves much deeper, and identifies several other Heuer watches in the film, in many different scenes by different actors. One model (Regatta) was only available as a Heuer, so it is concluded that it is more than likely that the rest of the models were Heuers. Of course, there is no solid confirmation from Eon Productions, but it is clear that they used Heuer as the watch of choice for Bond.

I guess my biggest error is that I should have photographed it on a Bond NATO!

Written by Heuerville

August 29, 2011 at 11:16 am

Heuer Diver 982.013 PVD Pewter

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Heuer Diver 982.013, Pewter PVD case.,1983. 200m Quartz ETA 526.121

This rarely seen all grey 38mm cased Heuer diver is very cool. This dial is a real stunner, a refreshing break from the normal black or full lume Heuer divers of the time. The case is pewter PVD, together with the dial, it has a very tool watch feel to it, almost military-esk. The bracelet is great, but is also looks great on a NATO, but if that isn’t your thing, even better on a vintage tropic strap, which I believe was an option when it was new. Shown in the Heuer 1983 catalogue (see below).

This example is an early version, as the case back is plain – the later versions of around 1985 had the more elaborate case backs with the full Heuer shield stamped into it. It has a wonderful wearing to the PVD, it is still there, but worn evenly, giving the case a lovely lustre. The dial is remarkable too..  it’s absolutely mint. It really does look great on the wrist, a real tool ‘no nonsense, no fuss’ all cool diver.

Written by Heuerville

August 29, 2011 at 12:28 am

Heuer Ladies Diver 980.038/17

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980.038/17 Ladies diver. 200m 28mm gold-plated case, gold & slate grey bezel. ESA quartz. c1984

I’ve never handled a 28mm case Heuer diver before, and it’s surreal, it’s so strange to see all the usual Heuer markings and hardware but on such a small scale – it’s tiny, and very appealing. You can almost cover the whole watch your thumb. Its petite dimensions can be seen when compared with its 42mm case big brother in the photo below (and the dollar bill above). The dainty dial and hands are in superb condition and are fascinating to study – the deep brown patina’d dial is very pleasing against the gilt markings and hands. The lume  still has a healthy glow to it. I treated it to a NOS Certina Swiss 14mm leather strap as the original gold plate bracelet has seen many better days.

I bought this out of curiosity, as the model number wasn’t immediately known to me.  If you look at the OnTheDash reference table, there is no 980.038/17.
The closest match is 980.017, which is a Ladies 28mm with gold plated case, black dial and black bezel. There is also a 980.038, described as an ‘Economy version’ Ladies 28mm chrome plated case. So, going by the Heuer reference numbers, I believe this 980.038/17 is an economy version with gold plated case. What makes it the ‘economy version’?  Well, the bezel is an aluminium one piece with PVD markings – as opposed to the standard ladies divers that have stainless steel bezels and a separate aluminium insert.

The ladies 980.038 chrome plated brother in the 1984 catalogue…

Written by Heuerville

July 10, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Heuer Diver 980.007 Orange

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Heuer Diver 980.007 Professional. Oversized 42mm case. 200m.

One of Heuer’s more colourful watches, with it’s gloss orange dial. It graced the front cover of the Speciality 1981 catalogue, celebrating being the official timekeeper of the 1980 Olympics (Winter games at Lake Placid and Moscow Games). It also featured in the 1982 Speciality catalogue. This model has the oversized 42mm case and is powered by an ESA (Pre-ETA) AS 536.121 movement.

Typically with Heuers of this period, there are a few versions of this model. The very first models had the cathedral hour hand design, which was inherited from the early G. Monnin 844’s. Some models had a tramline profiled bezel (the insert sat between two metal rims. Some had a single ‘L’ shaped bezel profile (like this example), where there is no inner bezel ring. Some had fully painted black hour/minute hands, some part painted.

I presume this is an earlier example, as it has the single outer ring bezel and part painted hands (like the Heuer chronographs of the 70’s).

As a side note, this was difficult to photograph, to get the orange correct, which does vary greatly dependent on the lighting conditions. It really does ‘pop’ when you get it in strong daylight. Although I have to say, the jpeg exporting process has left some pics looking slightly red-ish/deeper than I’d like.

Written by Heuerville

May 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Heuer Diver 980.004

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980.004. 200m. Day/Date. 4 o’clock crown.
This is my second 980.004, this one has the traditional minute markings on the chapter ring, my other 980.004 being a ‘Blank Chapter Ring’ model, details of which can be seen in this earlier post: 980.004 Blank Chapter Ring

Again, this 40mm day/date model is very rarely seen. It was never really publicised/marketed by Heuer, only appearing in a few catalogues, which might explain it’s rarity now.  I purchased this watch from the original owner who bought it new in the late 70’s (as far as he could remember) in California. It has the original unsigned 21mm stainless steel bracelet (21mm at the lugs, but it opens out to around 24mm). The crown is original & correct, being unsigned and placed at the 4 o’clock position. The movement is also unsigned, which is unusual for Heuers from this period, but normal for this model. My other 004 is also unsigned, as is every other example that I have seen.

Unlike my other 004, this model has recessed and PVD filled numerals on the bezel. The bezel markings seem to vary across the life of this model, some being PVD printed on, some recessed. Another variation of this model, the 980.004/1 has a white on black day/date markings. Some have ‘Quartz’ written in a straight font, some italic, like this version.

I really do like these divers, they are a rugged and masculine looking watch, with it’s all stainless steel bezel, offset crown and wide bracelet. It is an understated diver that has lots of wrist presence.

Written by Heuerville

December 12, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Heuer 980.023 Deep Dive 1000m/3300ft

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Heuer 980.023

Heuer Diver 980.023. 1000m/3300ft Tool diver.

This was Heuer’s first serious tool diver, rated to 100 Atmos with an unsigned crown at the 4 o’clock position to avoid wetsuit damage. It featured in Heuer’s diver line up for many years being in the 1984 to 1986 catalogues (maybe more). It was originally supplied with a rubber strap plus a rubber wetsuit extension or a metal bracelet. Here I’ve got it on a more traditional leather strap and a Heuer buckle, which sets it off nicely.

This example was bought from Germany and is in near mint condition, the only noticeable mark is a minor scratch on the bezel insert and a minuscule bit of deterioration around the edge of the dial. I love the big chunky tool-like design, some have commented that it is slightly Autavia-ish. Those eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that the sides of the case have a light brush finish, some would call this sacrilege, but I applied this, I prefer it. However, a quick 1o mins of careful hand polishing would restore it to factory mirror finish.

Some refer to this model as the ‘Heuer Spirotechnique’, which, in my opinion is wrong…
An identical model was produced with the Spirotechnique script and diver emblem on the dial. There was also a Spiro & non Spiro model that was Automatic, but ‘only’ rated to 200m. In any case, all these models are almost impossible to find in good condition, due to them serving their owners as tool watches. This model survived the TAG acquisition and TAG Heuer versions were made, including a nice full lume dial. But this to me is the star of the show.

It’s tempting to say that this was Heuer’s only 1000m diver, but the TAG Heuer Super Professional started off life before the TAG takeover, and if you are very lucky you might find a Heuer signed Super Pro. It is however correct to say that this is the only 1000m Quartz (AS 536.121) diver that Heuer ever made, which makes it very special in my eyes.

Heuer 980.023

Featured in the Heuer 1983 Catalogue

Written by Heuerville

October 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm