Posts Tagged ‘Lemania 5100’
Fortis Stratoliner 571.10.142 Lemania 5100 movement, c1988
I’ve had this Stratoliner for over 2 years, but I’ve only just got around to getting a replacement handset fitted. Fortis experts will know that this model came out the factory with ‘paddle’ shaped hour & min hands (see last photo below). They weren’t to my taste, so I sourced some more ‘traditional’ L5100 hands from a Sinn L5100.
The sub-dial hands have been left OEM.
I don’t know a great deal about this model. I believe it’s from circa 1988 and was the predecessor to the well known Cosmonaut. This model was also used as a base for a Merceded Benz limited edition, which featured the Benz ‘Star’ on one of the hands. There is also an identical CYMA badged model to this.
It does have some nice touches, like the number-less hour plots, a domed crystal and drilled lugs, and of course that L5100 workhorse of an engine. It is a very good do-all tool watch, and works very well on a NATO strap. The case is 39mm and 15.5mm thick with 100m WR.
Below shown with the OEM handset..
Heuer Carrera 510.523, Lemania 5100, c1983
I really enjoyed the PVD version of this model, so jumped at the chance of trying the stainless version. There is something alluring about the L5100 driven Heuers, they ooze rugged tool watch vibes. This Carrera model doing so without being oversized. It’s comfortable at 38mm across and it’s slender profile. As I have mentioned before when talking about the PVD model, this Carrera is surprisingly well balanced and comfortable, plus seems to suit many strap types – shark-mesh, NATO, leather, bracelet. (Pic above with aftermarket Hadley Roma bracelet)
Released in c1983, this was among the last in the line of the Heuers.. with TAG Heuer running down Heuer signed stock. It was also the last ‘Carrera’ signed model under Heuer (together with the PVD version). It has the ‘Autavia-esk’ sunburst graining to the upper case surface with polished sides. The Carrera is in the spotlight right now with the 50th Anniversary being this year, and this more modern model seems to get overlooked… maybe it’s because they aren’t that common, but it’s a pleasure to wear.
More reading here: http://chronomaddox.com/heuer/articles/carrera_article/_carrera_pt4.html
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.
Heuer 510.501, 86.1000 Series, Lemania 5100. Military Issued 82 Air Force, Kenyan Air Force.
I’ll be honest.. when I bought this watch I originally thought it IDF issued, specifically from the Israel Air Force Helicopter Unit from the late ‘80’s. It came from a German trader who deals with a contact based in Haifa who buys direct from military personnel. It turns out it was not IDF at all…
On a standard model, the main chrono hands are red-orange, and the tail end of the main sweep hands are black. Its common that the hand fade, but the black tail never fades. I’ve handled many Heuers with faded red hands and they fade to various colours – from pink to orange to yellowy, but never pure white.
It has been noted in the past, that some military issued Heuer were supplied with a different handset to the standard production models, often the handsets are white (as seen on IDF issued models). Heuer collector Arno Haslinger, who in a post on OTD, noted that often …“hands are white on IDF watches and orange on Argentina Airforce watches”.
82 AF 180 Markings
Like anyone buying a mil-watch, I wanted to find out the story behind the markings. I was optimistically confident that the military markings were genuine, but on the other hand, I couldn’t find any comparable evidence online to ‘back-up’ the markings. I mused that it’s highly unlikely that anyone would go the trouble of faking mil-markings that no one had ever seen before. If you’re going fake an IDF watch, just stamp M and 3 numbers, right?
Interestingly, I’ve seen many Lemania driven SAAF watches with the ‘AF’ marking accompanied by numbers, I guessed this proves the fact that AF is used for ‘Air Force’ in military watch marking, but I wasn’t sure..
So, I asked the Mil watch experts…
I posted up on a few forums, MWR and OTD to see if anyone could help with identification. Many suggestions and theories were put forward, including Israeli Air Force Flight Academy graduation gifts, plus other suggestions that didn’t hold water. Eventually, a break-through.. I had a theory put forward that made sense..
Thanks to ‘NetMatrix’ (aka Paul) on OTD who put me in touch with an African Mil watch expert, Neil Herbert, based in South Africa. After exchanging several emails, Neil believed that these markings could well be Kenyan Air Force (KAF).. or part of KDF (Kenyan Defence Force).. Specifically ‘Air Force 82’.. as he has seen similar ’82 AF xxx’ markings on other mil issue equipment.
What is the 82 Air Force?
On 1st August 1982, there was a failed coup d’etat attempt to overthrow the Kenyan president. Lead by a group of Air Force officers (no aircrews), the failed attempt lead to the disbandment of the Air Force on 22nd Aug ’82. It was reconstituted shortly after under tight Army control under the name ’82 Air Force’ (or 82 AF). It regained independent status beginning of 1994.
Kenyan Air Force: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenya_Air_Force
KAF Northrop F-5 Tiger II Fighter Jets. Since 1978, it is the KAF’s main air defence fighter.
Kenyan AF 82 BAe Hawk Mk52, supplied around 1980, probably as a fast jet trainer.
Then, to my surprise, in January 2012, a fellow UK watch enthusiast, Dennis Davis, who had the very same model also with AF 82 markings, contacted me. Dennis’ example had a different issue no. 82 AF 163. He bought the watch several years ago, and at the time of purchase, the watchmaker thought the military markings were South African. The markings and their execution are identical to my example, with a unique number of course. This proves that the ‘82’ part is a constant, so reinforces the 82 Air Force theory. Both my example and Dennis’ have very heavily stuck markings, which was a worry with just one example, but with two, proves that they were simply struck with a rather heavy hand, as opposed to a bad ‘faking’.
Furthermore, as I type this out, there is another example on eBay, being sold by a Canadian dealer, which has the issue number 82 AF 112.
More 82 AF Heuers…
Apart from these three 510.501 Heuers, I knew of no other Heuers with 82 AF markings, then another break-through. A mil watch collector posted up 3-4 of his very rare military issued Autavias on OTD’s Heuer forum. One model, a 11063 from c82-85, also had 82 AF stamps on the caseback, very similar to those on the 510.501’s. Wonderful news, and confirmation that the Kenyan 82 Air Force were supplied with Heuers for issue.
Discussion on OTD when someone else owned it before me:
My Discussion on OTD:
My Discussion on MFW:
So, many of you will be looking at the watch shouting.. it can’t be a 510.501 because that was the black PVD model. Yes, you are quite right.. it was.
The watch was in a bad way when I got it. Chipped & scratched glass that had been crudely glued in place, poorly fitted crown, that looked like it had been fitted with a monkey wrench – as there was a huge amount of PVD missing from around the crown area of the case with some gouging. The PVD was badly chipped everywhere. Now, I’m all for keeping a watch original, especially when it’s seen military service, but this one was bloody awful, so I set about doing a sympathetic restoration.
I decided to not touch the dial and hands, apart from remove the excess glue from the tachy ring (from where the crystal being glued in place). With the case, I opted to have it lightly bead-blasted, but keep it’s little dings, scrapes and ‘life history’. The crown had already been replaced with a like-for-like but in stainless steel, so I left that as it. The pushers I dismantled and painstakingly removed the PVD using very fine wet n dry paper and then polished to a high gloss with a cape code cloth.
I decided to fit a mil-style bracelet (with wider link gaps), similar to a genuine Heuer type seen on a mil Autavia I’d seen. I hunted around and found a great 22mm bracelet from Watch-band-centre. I could have fitted a straight 20mm bracelet, but these 510 series, along with many Heuers, were originally fitted with cut-in bracelets, so I custom filed the 22mm endlinks down to fit the 20mm lugged case. The bracelet was brush finished, so I sent that off with the case to get blasted. Although the case had already been blasted, it was done again to ensure a perfect match between bracelet and case. They both were treated to an ultra-sonic bath spa to get rid of all the grime.
Finally it went away to be re-assembled & have new glass and gaskets fitted (Thanks James), then sent away to Steve at Rytetime for a full overhaul and service. It’s taken 22 months to get to this stage, and I have to say it’s looking rather good – I’ve also opted to retains its slight wonky crown (stem), which I kinda like.. it connects it to it’s story. Part of me thinks it actually looks too clean, I’ve resisted dropping the case into a jar of nuts & bolts & giving it a good shake.. but I think it’s ready for another 30 years of abuse & wabi to collect on it.
Heuer ‘1000 Series’ 510.501 Series 2 Day/Date, Black PVD finish, Lemania 5100 movement.
This rugged chronograph is from Heuer’s ‘1000 series’ of chronographs, sometimes referred to at the ‘1000 Lemania Series’, circa 1985/6.
This is the ‘Series 2’ version of the model, which signifies that it has both day and date displays, plus a white hour sub register hand. The day only models (Series 1) has an orangey/red sub register hour hand to match the seconds & minute hands. It is driven by the legendary Lemania 5100 movement, which is highly accurate and an absolute joy to own.
This dial layout design was used in various Heuer models, in slightly different forms by the Montreal, Pasadena and Carrera models. (Montreal/Pasadena were powered by the 7750 movement). I actually prefer the no-name ‘stealthiness’ of this model, it enhances the tool-like military feel. Heuer wasn’t the only watchmaker to utilise this successful design combined with the 5100 movement, it has appeared in numerous guises, many destined for military use. I believe this was because the Lemania 5100 movement was extremely sturdy and capable of withstanding high G-forces, so became the watch of choice amongst fighter pilots.
I love this watch, it’s a real pleasure to own. I simply love it’s understated beauty and ruggedness, a true no-nonsense chronograph with a wealth of history behind it’s movement and design. A design and movement that was so successful I could spend hours unraveling the web of great names associated with it… Orfina, Porsche, Sinn, Fortis, Omega, Tengler, Bund, Silverstone, Carrera, Cortina, Audi, etc etc… you get the picture. It was also a favourite of the great Chuck Maddox, what more could you want?! I can see why there is such a strong 5100 following.
Others have researched this far better than I could, so for some further Lemania reading, check out these superb articles from Calibre 11, On The Dash & Chuck Maddox: