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As far as we're concerned, a vintage Heuer Carrera is about as cool a chronograph as you can get, featuring amazing vintage looks, true motorsports pedigree, and a design originally penned by the man himself: Mr. Jack Heuer. The Carrera got its name (in 1963) from the legendary cross-isthmus road race in Mexico, known as La Carrera Panamericana. At least one other noteworthy international brand also borrowed this name for one of their products (hint...it has four wheels and the engine in the back).
Originally, the Carrera was powered by manually winding chronograph movements, but with the advent of the automatic chronograph in 1969 (also pioneered by Heuer), production began shifting towards automatic in a serious way. At that time, a conglomerate of watch brands, headlined by Hamilton, Heuer and Breitling, created an automatic chronograph movement, the likes of which the world had never before seen. The top-secret work conducted at the hands of world-class engineers was dubbed Project 99.
There were three watch groups racing to be the first to release an automatic chronograph in the late 1960s; Zenith, Seiko and the joint Project 99 venture. Ultimately, out of the competition greatness grew. Zenith, the renowned Swiss manufacture, would release its famed El Primero movement that found its way into many watches, including the Rolex Daytona. Seiko, the incredibly innovative Japanese powerhouse, produced their 6139 movement that would later become the first automatic chronograph in space. While the "winner" of this unofficial contest changes depending on who you ask, under the direction of Heuer, Project 99 created some of the era's best looking watches: the Monaco, the Autavia and of course, the Carrera.
However, the costs associated with the Project 99 movement (named the Calibre 11 for retail purposes), proved to be higher than many consumers could swallow, leading to the eventual release of a "budget" variant, known as the Calibre 15. This particular example, a Reference 1553, utilizes just that type of movement, differentiated outwardly by the replacement of the 9:00 register (a 12 hour counter on Calibre 11/12 models) with a subsidiary seconds register at 10:00.
Featuring a brilliant silver dial with greyish blue subsidiary registers and outer tachymetre ring, this example is a stunning beauty, with colorful accents typical of the era. Ultimately, the Reference 1553 Carrera is one of the first - and last - Automatic executions, before the model swelled in size and lost its characteristic svelte design.
Stainless steel case is approximately 38mm in diameter (excluding crown and pushers). Heuer Reference 1553. Calibre 15 Automatic Winding Movement by Heuer. Circa 1972.
Overall condition: Case is in excellent condition overall with crisp brushing, showing only light wear from age and use, and no signs of over-polishing. The dial and hand set are in excellent original condition, showing light even patination and crisp printing. Fluted pushers, original case back and signed crown.
Includes 20mm brown leather strap. Also includes two 20mm Nylon Straps by Crown & Buckle.