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With TAG Heuer’s recent offerings at Baselworld, it’s safe to say that the watch collecting world has caught Heuer fever. The reissue of the Autavia was unprecedented in several ways. First and not least of all, the Autavia disappeared from Heuer’s catalogs when the brand was gobbled up by Technique Avante Garde in the 1980s. When TAG Heuer decided to rerelease some of their classic designs in the 1990s, they triumphantly reissued the Carrera and the Monaco—but not the Autavia, which had been a linchpin of their catalogs since the 1960s. Secondly, the reissue of the Autavia was proceeded by something unprecedented in the watch world—a viral crowd-sourcing campaign in which aficionados actually got to choose what design TAG Heuer would re-release.
If this were to happen again, we’re confident that the Camaro would not be on the shortlist.
Now, we love the Camaro here at Analog/Shift, and have long been rooting for its success. But it’s never been one of the darlings of the vintage chrono world. Though it’s been picking up traction in recent years, it’s always been overshadowed by its stablemates.
Perhaps timing has something to do with it. The Camaro debuted in 1968, the year before Zenith, Seiko, and Heuer all came out with automatic chronographs. With the Camaro’s manual movement and smaller size, it was awkward when compared to the sleekness of the Carrera or the stockiness of the Monaco.
But for all this, the Camaro's distinctive style—just as unique as the Monaco—reserves it a place in the pantheon of great Heuer chronographs. Like the Monaco's case, the Camaro's is square, but where the Monaco's is all sharp, beveled edges, the Camaro is a softened cushion with straight lugs. The case is thin, comfortable on the wrist, though like all square cases it wears larger than its 37mm would suggest.
And though the Camaro never had a ringing endorsement by a Jo Siffert or a Jochen Rindt, it still has strong racing blood in its veins and design DNA. Jack Heuer (himself an amateur race car driver and lifelong enthusiast) named it after the Chevy Camaro, which was the Pacecar in the Indy 500 from 1967 to 1969. If the Autavia is a Formula One car, then the Camaro is a muscle car.
This particular Camaro is a Reference 7220T, featuring a tachymeter on the outer edge of the elegant silver dial. The printing on the dial is crisp, and the luminescent elements on the hour plots and the hands have gained an even patina over time. Also note the presence of the factory finishing on the case, particularly Heuer's trademark sunburst finishing on the front.
And let's not forget it's driven by a Valjoux 72, the same engine that powers the Rolex Daytona, a beautiful silver lining to the fact that this watch never got the Caliber 11.
The Camaro's "big brothers" (the Monaco, Autavia, and Carrera) might have stolen the spotlight in the collector market, but in our opinion, you'd be hard pressed to find a legitimate vintage Motorsports chronograph with more style and charisma. It's the total package: it's distinctive, rare, and has one hell of a heavyweight chronograph movement. With all that going for it, the Camaro definitely deserves a spot in your collection.
Available exclusively at Marshall Pierce
Stainless steel case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown). Heuer Camaro Reference 7220T. Valjoux Caliber 72 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with crisp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing, retaining its factory brush finishing. Case does have minimal signs of wear consistent with age and use. Dial is in very good condition with patina to the luminescent elements of the hour plots and hands. Heuer crown. Heuer case back has some faint scratches but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 19mm light brown textured leather strap with tan contrast stitching. Also includes two 19mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle