Heuer Carrera Cushion Case
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Heuer Carrera Cushion Case

Why We Love It

The design language of the 1970s was bold, funky, and colorful. Sporting chronographs from this era are quite unlike anything that came before.

Heuer's 'Golden Age' of wrist chronographs started in 1963 with the introduction of the first series Carrera, and lasted through the mid-70s, when the Quartz Crisis hit hard.

Unlike the first series Carreras, the design language of the second generation featured the cushion case popularized by models such as the Autavia and Montreal, and Heuer began fitting their Calibre 11 automatic movements into them in 1969.

What no one tells you, though, is that those second generation automatic Carreras - as cool as they look - wear very thick on the wrist, making them less enjoyable to wear if you prefer thinner profiles.

Fortunately, a small series of cushion-cased Carreras were fitted with Valjoux manual-winding movements, resulting in supremely cool and colorful versions that are also a joy to wear with their thinner cases - just like the piece we have here.

This example, a Reference 73353, features a 38mm stainless steel with a sunburst 'Panda' dial and a red central chronograph seconds hand. Depending on the light, the dial may appear light grey, or a deep navy blue. Powered by a Valjoux 7733 and fitted to a blue rallye strap, this has got 70s-cool written all over it.

If you are searching for a Heuer that is a bit more funky - and considerably less expensive - than the earliest versions, have a look at this beauty!

The Story

The Carrera was one of Jack Heuer’s most passionate projects, and his design ethos for this watch can be summed up in one word: legibility. Jack wanted a watch that was stylish and functional, a watch that gives you everything you need and nothing you don’t. From the sharp bevels on the case to the artful openness of the dial, it's become a classic. 

A longtime racing aficionado, Heuer first conceived of the Carrera in 1962, when he was attending the 12 Hours of Sebring race in Florida. It was there, in a conversation with the parents of the legendary Rodriguez brothers (both drivers), that Heuer first heard the name: Carrera, meaning the Carrera Panamerica, a treacherous five-day race along the Mexican stretch of the Pan-American Highway. The name haunted him, and he registered it the following year.

A new innovation--a tension ring to anchor the dial in place, while also offering greater water resistance--the same year inspired him to incorporate that feature in a watch that would be a game-changer just like Omega's Speedmaster was. Taking the tachymeter track off the dial wasn't a new innovation--Rolex did it with the Daytona and Omega of course started it, more or less, with the Speedy--but Heuer's obsession with legibility cleaned up the dial in a way that hadn't quite been achieved before. Here now is a watch that shows you only the minimal amount of information, with plain baton markers: clean, uncluttered, undeniably attractive.  

These early Carreras were produced in a variety of styles with a range of dial colors. The dials were manufactured by Singer, the same company that produced dials for the Rolex Daytona. While the elusive black-and-white ("panda") designs remain the most desirable, there's something to be said for the sunburst blue dials like the one we offer here. The clean lines of the dial are echoed in the sharp bevels of the lugs, manufactured by esteemed case-maker Piquerez. The result is iconic, Heuer's answer to mid-century trends that translates well to modern tastes. 

Details

SKU: AS03063

Stainless steel case is approximately 38MM (excluding the crown). Heuer Reference 73353. Valjoux 7733 manually winding caliber movement. Circa 1970.

Overall Condition: The case is in great condition overall with normal signs of wear from age and use. Luminous sunburst dial is in excellent condition with light even patination throughout. Luminous handset shows some dropped luminescent material. Signed crown.

Includes 20mm blue rallye-style strap.

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