Posts Tagged ‘Vintage Heuer’
Heuer Night Diver 980.032L Full Lume Dial, c1984, 200m, 42mm.
Regular readers might know that I’ve blogged about this model before, but given the extraordinary condition of this one, I couldn’t resist posting about it.
My Heuer collecting started with the quartz divers, and very early on I picked up one of these, they were pretty cheap back then. It wasn’t perfect, but I loved it. As I moved onto the chronographs, the divers took a back seat and I eventually sold it. I’m sure I did pick another up, but again, it was sold in favour of funding a chrono.
Over the last year or so, I’ve reduced the collection, and come full circle back to some of the divers – funny how collectors minds work! Only problem is that they are a bit more expensive these days.. but still, compared to most of the chronos, they are bargains.
I picked this one up from a US seller around a year ago. The dial and handset were in remarkable condition. These dials are highly susceptible to picking up stains & blemishes, so I was pretty damn lucky to bag this one. However, the case and bezel were showing signs of use, but I still loved it. Then another stroke of luck – I got the opportunity to get my hands on a near NOS case & bezel.. (thanks Steve). So off it went to my trusty watch guy (thanks James) and along with a new crystal it now looks near factory fresh. One thing I did have fitted was a black glass gasket. The original gaskets are a semi-transparent white colour. I have to say, it really has made a big difference, it ties in with the dial markers perfectly.
For those interested in the technical specs.. the watch is classed as a 42mm case, however with the crown, it’s around 44mm. Being the ‘L’ model, it is thinner than the earlier 980.032, and the bezel is slightly recessed in the case. It’s slim for a dive watch and I actually prefer it to the non ‘L’ model – it sits perfectly on the wrist. I do like chunky dive watches, but it’s rare to get a slim watch these days. Other differences are a signed crown, and signed caseback, oh and ‘1000’ on the dial. The movement is slimmer too – hence Heuers move to a slimmer case.
The dial is a wonder.. indoors it is pale yellow, but out in daylight is when it comes alive, it glows a yellowy-lime green.. and when ‘charged’ at night it still lumes bright green. I’d take a lume shot, but I’m terrible at them, and my camera is a basic model. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m very much a ‘black dial’ person, but this makes a nice change and despite its ‘Night Diver’ origins, it’s a wonderful ‘daylight’ watch!
Heuer Regatta 134.601 ‘Flyback’ Lemania Cal. 1345, c1983
I’ve been into Heuers for a fair few years now, and although I’ve been aware of the Regatta ‘600’ series, I didn’t really care too much about it.. it wasn’t on my radar. I bought this one as a bit of a punt, and it turns out that it’s really grown on me, to the point that I wear it a lot.
It needed a little TLC, in the form of a fresh service and replacing the heavily scratched glass, apart from that it’s untouched. It has a real heft and solid feeling to it, which makes for a great daily wearer, especially when paired with an Isofrane. The design has dated well too, and has a very current look to it. I’m a huge fan of the last Autavias, with that wonderful 11063 case… this is essentially the same case, just with one less pusher, and the crown on the right.
When the countdown timer isn’t in use, the big ‘space shuttle’ orange & black chrono hand sweeps continuously, a feature which I love. Those wonderful cut-out countdown discs remain black and rather menacing looking, kinda ‘Dark Knight’-esk. It definitely has a military-tool feel about it. The lack of date and hour batons add to it’s stealthy look. The PVD has worn on the usual exposed edges, but to a dark titanium-ish colour, which is really appealing.
When the chrono pusher is activated, the big orange hand flies back to the 12 position, and the blank black discs come alive with a vibrant blue. This is T minus 10 mins, as each minute passes, the blue discs rotate clockwise to reveal orange discs. When all are orange, it’s T minus 5 mins.. then minute by minute they turn black again. This is all for the benefit of a sail-boats Skipper. One glance at his watch, and he can see how long before the start of the Regatta… Essentially, it’s a 10 minute countdown to the start of a sail-boat race.. A cannon sounds a 10 minute warning, in that time, the Skipper has to tack his yacht so that when the cannon sounds the start of the race, the yacht is just about to cross the start line at full sail. A T-10 min cannon is sounded, then a T-5 min cannon, then the ‘Start’ cannon. Below are photos of the timer running through the countdown.
For more reading on the history of the Regatta and other Yachting chronos from Heuer, check out http://www.regatta-yachttimers.com/brands/heuer/
Hodinkee did a little write-up too, here: http://hodinkee.squarespace.com/blog/2009/10/20/vintage-heuer-regatta-in-pvd-the-ultimate-urban-yachtsmans-t.html
See the three ‘600’ series models in the 1983 catalogue… http://onthedash.com/Guide/_Catalogs/1983_Chronograph_Catalog/?show=83TFAA17A.jpg
..and the countdown explanation from the same catalogue… http://onthedash.com/Guide/_Catalogs/1983_Chronograph_Catalog/?show=83TFAA17B.jpg
Below is a series of photos showing the countdown timer in progress…
10 minute countdown begins, the discs switch to blue and the orange chrono hand flies back to zero…
5 minutes left…
20 seconds to go…
Heuer Orange Diver 980.016, Mid Size 32mm case, 200m waterproof
I’ve said it before, these small Mid-sized (ladies/junior) Heuer divers are utterly fascinating. Identical to the larger 42mm+ sized variants, but somehow Heuer managed to scale down all the elements to make a lovely looking watch – that’s not easy. The attention to detail and quality is remarkable. In fact, somehow it seems more of an achievement with these smaller cases. Obviously I’d never be able to wear them, but they are fantastic to handle and admire.
This one is in wonderful condition, and being an orange dial variant, is pretty rare. I have to say, it’s gotta be one of the coolest boys or ladies vintage diver watches out there. This isn’t the smallest model, which is housed in a 28mm case, this is the next size up with a 32mm case – far more well proportioned for todays tastes.
I had a new glass fitted and had a black glass gasket fitted too, which really complements the look – the standard gasket was a clear/white colour. Apart from that, it’s all original and a true surviver.. so many of these are beaten up.
They are built to high standards too, all stainless steel cases and bezels, plus waterproof to 200m, just like their bigger brothers. A true old school tool watch for the watch collectors son or better half. Another detail (that is high praise to Heuer) is the ‘warm’ lume, it has a very delicate ‘peach’ tint to it, to complement the orange dial. I’ve noted this before on the full sized version. On the black dial divers, the lume has a greenish tint – seems that Heuer really did think about the very fine details. I even managed to find a Black NOS Swiss Sport Tropic strap for it, and a NOS Blue Tropic Star strap – plus I made a black leather rally strap for it.
These were seen in the ’81 Heuer speciality catalogue as well as the ‘82 catalogues. Back then they cost quite a bit.. at £128.24 in the UK and $240 at US dealers.
Catalogue link over on OTD:
1981 Speciality Catalogue
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 Autavia 1563 T, Cal. 15, c1972 ‘Albino’
I bought this watch a long while back.. about 17-18 months ago. It was a bit of a punt, as it had a few issues. It had an incorrect crystal, handset from a Heuer Calculator and odd looking lume. Apart from that, the case was untouched being nice and sharp, plus the bracelet looked good.
This example has the ‘fat boy’ case, like that on the 1163 ‘Orange Boy’ and Siffert, the case is stamped 1563.. some were stamped 1163. Both black and silver dial versions are seen here in the 1972 Caliber 15 brochure on OTD.
The cosmetic issues bothered me, the dial/hands/lume/mint insert looked disjointed. A bit like having a lovely old Sub with faded insert, beautiful brown aged lume on the dial, but with brand new white hands.. it’s not a BIG deal, but it just looks wrong... same with this watch. The handset was like new, bright orange, although from a Calculator (with a paddle central sweep chrono hand), the lume on the dial was greeny.. maybe a relume, with a mint insert. Non of these elements sat well with the lovely sunbleached dial. The orange accents on the sub-dial had faded gracefully to a yellowy hue , the minute track fading to almost white.
Together with my watch guy, we tried a correct orange handset, it looked better, it was technically ‘factory correct’, but I still wasn’t ‘feeling it’ with the mixture of new & faded. (On a side note – whilst in this ‘factory correct’ state, this watch was photographed for the Autavia book!)
Eventually a white Autavia handset was tried.. and it did look much better, and had an almost ‘Super KonTiki’ vibe about it. The lume was next to get treatment. I had considered having it scraped out of the tramline hour batons, but this could be a messy/risky job, so decided to try to tint the existing lume. I aimed for a traditional honey/coffee/tobacco colour, to complement the faded sub-dial. Armed with a 0000 sized brush, and a steady hand.. several applications of tint resulted in a surprisingly fantastic finish to the lume.. beautifully textured and mottled in just the right ‘honey tobacco brown’.
In the meantime, I had been fortunate enough to win a NOS Autavia crystal on ebay. Finally the watch was sent off to have the hands relumed. Jimbo did a fantastic job, the texture was bang on the money.. but to make it have the perfect match to the dial, I tinted the hand lume just a touch with the same method as I did the dial.
The bezel insert was looking ‘too new’, being factory gloss black, so to bring it in line with the rest of the watch, I bleached it. It was a leap of faith, as I wasn’t sure what would happen. The silver of the lettering was dulled right down.. almost to matt white, but still with a hint of silver, more importantly, the gloss black had turned a really nice matt finish.
I’m now blown away by it.. the sum of the tweaked parts all come together to create something much more ‘whole’ and together. I know some may turn their nose up at it for having been artificially tinted lume, dulled down insert and an incorrect white handset, but I feel that the watch works much better in this state. For me, it’s a case of – it works better than if it was trying to be ‘factory’ correct. Plus, I’ve seen a few 1563’s over the years with heavily faded handsets and dials. Oddly, I have seen these with white hands before – sometimes called ‘Albino’, due to the loss of the colour accents. Just to finish it off perfectly, I made a distressed strap to match the lume.. and it really is a nice package now.. although, I have to admit, it looks wonderful on the signed Heuer ‘Japan’ market Beads of Rice bracelet.
This whole process has made me realise that it is the very subtle aged accents that make a vintage watch so wonderful.. and without these ‘aged’ hints on all components, it looks wrong.
Heuer Autavia 2446C Tachy (Early), Valjoux 72, c1968-69
I bought this wonderful watch back in July, and I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get it on the blog. I may as well get it out of the way now.. I think this is my favourite watch – in fact, I think it’s one of the best looking vintage watches out there. I know that might raise a few eyebrows, but it’s only my humble opinion.. but I really do think it’s perfect for me.
I do have a soft spot for the Valjoux 72 Heuers, having 3 others, but this one is definitely my favourite. I think it’s the simple monotone design coupled with that perfect coffee coloured lume. It came my way through a ‘want to buy’ request on the OTD Heuer forum, and fellow Heuerista, Jamey came up trumps with this cracker. It did originally arrive with a rather battered min/hour bezel… but I happened to have a NOS Tachy bezel in the back of the drawer, and it transformed the look spectacularly. The watch has seen some life, not being a safe queen.. the case having slight battle scars, but it is nice and sharp and unpolished. I actually like it all the more for the ‘non-mintness’, as I don’t pamper it, it has become almost a daily wearer. In fact, I enjoy it so much, it has made me realise that I have far too many watches that I rarely wear.
So, it’s a circa 1968-9 compressor case model, and fairly large for a watch from that era, being 41mm without the crown. Although this is an earlier 2446C model, this is a later version of this particular mk/generation, having a plain caseback and fluted pushers. The model that came after it featured red highlights and different hands/hour batons.. see it here. The correct metal bracelet for it is a Gay Frères (GF) beads of rice, but they are hard to find and cost a small fortune. I had this old jubilee bracelet in my box of straps, which suits it nicely – but this watch is perfectly at home on a NATO, dress leather or vintage style rally.
Recently discovered photos show James Hunt wearing a Compression cased Autavia, most probably a 2446. It seems he was a bit of a Heuer fan, with other photos showing him wearing a panda dial Carrera 2447NS, many years after it was released (on both a GF and rally strap), and possibly wearing a gold Carrera 1158.
Heuer Autavia 2446C GMT Mk4, Valjoux 724, c1970/71
Like most Heuer collectors, I have a thing for any of the GMT’s, and while most are popular amongst the Heueristas, it’s the 2446 examples that seem to be highly appreciated by the wider watch world. Maybe it’s the classic styling and the Valjoux 72 based movement (v724), either way it’s a prized watch. I did have a 2446C GMT already, albeit with a very faded bezel, and I was in the process of contemplating having the bezel milled out and an aftermarket insert fitted (the bezels on these are one piece, you can’t just replace the insert – it’s printed directly on a solid bezel). Then, this beautiful example came along.
It was a little serendipitous, as the seller – a fellow collector in the US saw my ‘Mitsukoshi’ panda dial Speedmaster conversion, and we chatted via email as he wanted to do the very same mod. Which he eventually did, and was so pleased with the outcome, he listed this stunning GMT on the Heuer forum. I spotted it and fired an email, and it was mine.. thanks Jim, I owe you a beer!
So, what can I say about this lovely thing – well, it’s a 2446C Mk4, the last GMT in the 2446C case, and it’s a marvel, in amazing condition having spent many years in California, them onto Jim in Indiana, then onto me.
Together with it’s younger son, the 11063 GMT – last of the Autavia GMTs.
White chrono hand mystery…
Common knowledge would say this has a white central chrono hand from an earlier model – (which is something I’m pleased about, I think it looks much better with a white hand, usually seen on the 2446 screwback, I don’t know why Heuer changed to red!). The odd thing is, I did some digging around some of the old catalogues to see if indeed it should have a red hand, and I can’t be absolutely sure it should actually be red. I found some back and white line drawings in some of the catalogues, and it looks white – but this just might be artistic license in the line drawings. Also, in the history section of the TAG Heuer website, they have a photo of this same model with a white hand, also with a rather fetching lime green/yellow GMT hand. This is of interest, as the later GMTs hand this greeny/yellow hand, so maybe it is a transitional ‘last in production’ model. Note that TAG Heuer have stated ’69, but that is for the 2446 model range, not that specific watch.
Either way, I prefer the white hand, and if I ever spot a greeny/yellow GMT hand, I’ll bag that too!
Above. Screengrab from TAG Heuer’s website
The GMT is also seen in one of the catalogues (with red chrono hand!) pictured with a GMT Super Autavia dash timer, and the Red Arrows, stating “Used by the RAF Red Arrows in the London to Sydney Air race. I’ve hunted around for info on this air race, with not much luck.