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Why We Love It
There is no doubt that diving watches hold a special place in the hearts of many collectors, ourselves included. In fact, Analog:Shift was founded nearly ten years ago with its eyes set squarely on vintage divers.
With their simple designs and robust movements, the tool watches of the 1960s and 1970s were built to accompany the adventurer across the globe and to keep time at its great heights as well as its dark depths. Yet for every Rolex Submariner, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, or Omega Seamaster, there were scores of other lesser-known names that ooze charm and merit consideration from the vintage watch enthusiast.
What you don't expect to see, is a dive watch from Heuer - arguably the biggest name in wrist chronographs in the 1960s and '70s. At this time, Heuer was looking to capitalize on the demand for dive watches, but having no experience in the dive watch segment, Heuer initially outsourced their cases and movements. They would borrow some design cues from existing divers of the era, but also introduced a few features that were not yet common.
This watch, a Reference 844, was amongst the very first Heuer dive watches introduced in 1979. Featuring a contracted 42mm 'Monnin' case, a gorgeous black Tritium dial with "Professionel" text denoting its French-made origin, a luminous cathedral handset, and an excellent 'ghosted' ratcheting bezel - this watch is loaded with looks and features to back them up.
If you are looking for a quirky, functional, and endlessly charming dive watch from one of the best names in the business, 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 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, not just 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, 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 that gave only the most necessary bits of information, with plain baton markers: 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. Falling on hard times in the wake of the Quartz Crisis, Heuer was ultimately purchased by Technique Avant Garde (TAG) and subsequently Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, who have brought the brand into the modern age.
Stainless steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding the crown). Calibre 4611A automatic-winding movement by Franche Ebauche (FE). Heuer Reference 844. Circa 1980s.
Overall Condition: The case is in great condition overall showing normal wear consistent with normal use. Luminous matte black Tritium dial is in excellent condition showing even patination throughout with matching luminous ‘cathedral’ handset. Signed crown.
Includes Analog:Shift Old Fashioned alligator-grain leather strap with steel pin buckle.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options