Baylor Chronograph Poor Man's Camaro
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Baylor Chronograph Poor Man's Camaro

Being a vintage watch collector is somewhat like being an archaeologist searching for buried treasure. The real task is wading through the maze of sometimes unfamiliar names and finding watches with real value and quality construction. Oftentimes the hunt is more fulfilling than the acquisition, because the real joy is in unearthing watches by brands that have been all but forgotten and giving them a new life on your wrist.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the fashion was for sporty chronographs in sturdy cases. Some of the most renowned racers and teams of the day regularly seen sporting Heuer’s Carrera, Monza and Autavia models. However, then, as now, their price points were out of reach of many average enthusiasts, giving rise to what we now refer to as “Poor Man’s Heuers.”

These watches have picked up quite a bit of traction in recent years, as collectors realize the value of these stunning and sporty watches. However, they’re perhaps undeserving of the moniker, because their solid cases and dependable movements are the same as those used by Heuer. In fact, Heuer manufactured pieces to be sold at a more affordable price through large retailers like Sears & Roebuck and Zales, under names like Tradition or Baylor.

Produced for the jeweler Zales, Baylor-branded watches used many of the same parts as the Heuer Autavias and Carreras of the late 1960s. It’s even rumored that as Heuer began to shift its focus toward automatic chronographs with new cases and dials, Zales was able to snatch up parts for pennies on the dollar. The result was a small array of watches that looked and felt just like Heuers.

While many of these Baylor-branded Heuers were based on more popular models like the Autavia Reference 2446C, the one that we've found takes for its inspiration the humble Heuer Camaro. With a funky, retro vibe, the Heuer Camaro with its dependable manual-wind Valjoux movements exudes '70s style. But the timing of its release—in 1968, just one year before the introduction of the game-changing Caliber 11 Chronomatic movement—saw it overshadowed by the Autavias and Carreras with automatic movements.   

This makes it an odd choice for Zales to import it into the U.S. and distribute it under the Baylor brand. And yet, we think its unusual circle-in-the-square case with the trademark sunburst finishing on the top case and sharp bevels is an attractive (and infinitely wearable) design. When you add a reverse panda color way that’s all the rage these days, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to strap this Baylor on your wrist.

Details

SKU: AS01900

Stainless steel case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown and pushers). Baylor Reference 4210. Landeron Caliber 187 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in good condition with crisp bevels, factory brush finishing, and no signs of over-polishing. Case does have signs of wear consistent with age and use, including some scratches on the front and sides of the case. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and no major signs of discoloration. Baylor crown. Baylor case back has signs of use and wear.

Includes one 20mm stainless steel multilink bracelet with Baylor signed clasp. Bracelet shows some signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition. Also includes two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle

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