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Who can resist a PVD-coating, really? You take a steel case (or brass, which we'll get to in a minute), already pretty robust, and give it just that extra level of protection. Heuer did this to three of their chronos, which have attained legendary status. While they're all relatively hard to find, two, the Monaco "Dark Lord"--the Darth Vader of Monacos, if you will--and the Autavia 11063, are almost unicorns in their elusiveness. But we're offering one here, the Monza, that combines a sleek exterior with a serious racing heritage.
Heuer and Formula 1 have always gone hand-in-hand. The association with Joe Siffert and the Autavia springs to mind. But the Monza also has a close relationship to four venerated figures in Formula 1: Jack Heuer, Nicki Lauda, and the Ferrari father-and-son pair, Enzo and Piero Lauri Ferrari.
If that doesn't convince you yet, let's get into the history of the watch and how it commemorates a landmark moment in Ferrari F1 history. The Ferrari F1 team was struggling when Nicki Lauda joined in 1974. They hadn't had a World Championship win since 1963. But in 1975, with Lauda at the wheel of the 312T, the title once again returned to Ferrari. To celebrate Lauda's victory, Heuer (partners with Ferrari since 1971) launched the Monza in 1976.
At first glance, the Monza stands out from its more popular chronograph cousins, the Carrera and Autavia. You'd think that the case would be steel, right? But with the Monza, Heuer departed from the norm and cast the case in brass. They never sold it in naked brass, covering it up with PVD in either black or chrome. Also unusual for Heuer, they engraved the reference number and model name on the Monza's bare steel case back.
This Monza is powered by the Caliber 15, the usual motor for the model. Heuer intended the caliber 15 to be an "economy" version of the Caliber 12, but don't be scared by that word--the 15 powered everything from Carreras to Monacos and enabled those watches to be sold at a lower price point. The cal. 15 replaced the cal. 12's hour register positioned at 9:00 with a running seconds register in a slightly higher position on the dial. This asymmetry is polarizing, and while some purists believe the rarer cal. 12 Monzas to be superlative, we enjoy the playful dial design of the cal. 15-powered units. And, with its PVD coating in almost pristine condition, this watch is as much a piece of collectible horology as it is an artifact of racing legends.
Brass PVD-coated case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown). Heuer Calibre 15 Automatic Chronograph Movement. Late 1970s.
Overall Condition: The watch is in exceptional condition, showing the slightest degradation to the PVD-coating on the lugs. Matte black dial is crisp and shows light, even signs of patination to the luminous elements. The hands likewise show matching even patina. Stainless steel case back with shows signs of light use; unsigned crown.
Includes one 20mm red leather strap with contrast stitching and two 20mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.