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The 1960s and 70s are often considered the "golden age" of sporting chronographs by serious timepiece collectors. Utilizing high-grade mechanical movements, large steel cases and sharp, function-first dial designs, timepieces from this era are in constant demand and wear just as well today (or perhaps even better?) as they did four or five decades ago. While the most valuable pieces continue to be those from the better-known brands, there are tremendous collecting opportunities for those seeking something just a little different.
If you've been following us for any period of time, you know we have a strong affection for "off-brand" timepieces. Name isn't everything, and there are a number of really killer watches on the market that add up to more than the sum of their parts, if for no other reason that they were manufactured by "the big names" and simply re-branded and sold by the "lesser" ones. We've covered this in-depth with brands such as Tradition, Clebar, Bulova, Hamilton and Zodiac, all of which sold examples of "Poor Man's Heuers" that are gaining popularity today, despite being slightly less desirable when they were new. Lejour, a small French distributor, was a popular European retailer of Heuer-made chronographs that got the same treatment as the rebranded pieces produced for the aforementioned brands.
Before Techniqué Avant Garde stepped in, Heuer was the name for high-quality timing instruments, including wristwatches. They were way ahead of many of their contemporaries, and were regularly pioneering new technologies. Heuer was one of the first brands to feature PVD coated watches, and their Monza, Montreal, and Pasadena wristwatches are highly sought after by collectors today. Finding these pieces in good condition is really a challenge, mostly because the technology was in its infancy, and the coatings didn't stand up to the test of time the way contemporary treatments do.
The timepiece we have presented here is a rare steel cushion case sports watch from the 1970s, branded by LeJour and featuring a PVD case with matching black pushers and crown. Powered by a Valjoux 7734, this chronograph is in completely New Old Stock condition! Accompanied by its original rubber "bracelet" and packaging, this watch was likely selected as a reward gift from American Express, shelved, and promptly forgotten about. We couldn't be happier about that!
Frankly, this timepiece is a tremendous value for those seeking that 70s sports watch vibe, and wouldn't look out of place in any collection consisting of higher end pieces. We have only come across a handful of these in decent condition in all our time collecting, never mind a NOS example. Really, really awesome.
PVD-Coated Steel Case is approximately 41mm (excluding the crown). Valjoux 7734 Manual Wind Chronograph Movement.
Overall condition: Case, dial, hands and bracelet are in New Old Stock condition, with only very minimal signs of shelf wear from handling. Hour markers and luminous inserts on hands have patinated to a stunning creamy yellow.
Includes original rubber "bracelet" with plastic buckle. Also includes original packaging.