Heuer Bundeswehr 3H Flyback Chronograph

Heuer Bundeswehr 3H Flyback Chronograph

Why We Love It

Military issued pilot's chronographs hold an endless fascination amongst collectors, not least of all for their robust good looks -and flying high among the best and brightest is the Heuer Bundeswehr.

The Heuer Bundeswehr, known affectionately as the “Bund,” was designed for the sole purpose of use in military aviation. It was General Issue for pilots in the air forces of many nations (including the Italian Air Force, under the brand Leonidas, which Heuer acquired in the 60s) but is best-known for its use by the Luftwaffe of West Germany. From the 1960s to the 1970s, the Bund saw a range of dial configurations, which are broken down here on On The Dash.

This particular example, a Reference 1550SG, remains in truly excellent condition. Its corrosion-resistant case houses a very clean matte black '3H' Tritium dial with a matching handset and Valjoux's Calibre 22 hand-cranking flyback chronograph movement. Furthermore, the Bund offers a second timing mechanism with the fully-graduated rotating bezel.

Function. First.

If you want a watch with a bonafide military pedigree and looks to match, then look no further!

The Heuer Story

In 1962, Jack Heuer inherited the company that his great-grandfather had founded in Saint-Imier nearly a century before.

He had already played a role in the design of some timepieces, starting with the Solunar in the late 1940s. But in 1962, the responsibility of running the company fell on his shoulders, and he found himself faced with the daunting task of safeguarding his ancestor’s legacy while at the same time forging his own. His chosen path? Moving into a line of technical instruments for use in sporting and transportation applications.

The Heuer name was not unknown in motor racing and aviation circles. Starting in 1911, when the sport of automobile racing was still in its infancy, the company produced dashboard clocks for cars, boats, and even airplanes. Jack Heuer, a longtime racing aficionado, saw an opportunity to revitalize — or at the very least, to reexamine — the company’s already-successful line of chronographs.

He had first tried his hand with the Autavia, which at the time of his succession was a stopwatch with a virtually illegible dial. In its place he launched the line of Autavia wrist chronographs, the first line of chronographs produced by Heuer to be named, rather than simply numbered. The Autavia was purpose-built for racers and pilots, and attracted the attention of Formula 1 racers and devotees such as Jochen Rindt and Steve McQueen.

In designing the Carrera in 1963, Jack Heuer created something that was entirely his, and is without question the chronograph that is most associated with the brand today. Heuer's obsession with legibility led to a dial design that was simpler to read than the Omega Speedmaster or the Rolex Daytona (released the same year as the Carrera). What resulted was a chronograph with plain baton markers that gave only the most necessary bits of information — clean, uncluttered, undeniably attractive.  

The brand grew to become a powerhouse in chronographs in particular, and the list of famous designs from the 1960s and 1970s can’t be counted on two hands. However, one innovation from 1969 deserves particular mention: the famed Caliber 11. This caliber (and its successors) was the result of a multinational race to build the world’s first automatic chronograph movement. It would go on to power the famed Monaco — made famous by actor Steve McQueen — as well as automatic versions of the Autavia, Carrera and more.

Falling on hard times in the wake of the Quartz Crisis, Heuer was ultimately purchased by Technique Avant Garde (TAG), and subsequently by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, who brought the brand into the modern age. Early TAG Heuer quartz divers from the 1980s have found newfound appreciation in collector’s circles, while the brand’s modern catalog is a mix of vintage-inspired reissues and unique collections, such as the Connected smartwatch line.


SKU: AS05620

Corrosion-resistant steel case is approximately 43mm (excluding the crown and pushers). Calibre 22 manual-winding chronograph movement by Valjoux. Heuer Reference 1550SG. Circa 1960s.

Overall Condition: Case is in excellent condition overall showing normal signs of wear consistent with age and use. Matte black Tritium ‘3H’ dial is in equally excellent condition showing lovely, even patina to Tritium elements with matching handset. Case engravings are deep and clear. Unsigned crown.

Includes Analog:Shift Casablanca Brown suede leather strap with steel pin buckle.

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