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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 watches, 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.
The Heuer name was not unknown in racing and flying 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 an illegible dial. In its place he launched the line of Autavia wrist chronographs, the first line of chronographs produced by Heuer to have a model name. Furthermore, 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.
But the Autavia, though revitalized by Jack Heuer, was not entirely his own creation.
In designing the Carrera, Heuer finally created something that was entirely his, and is without question the chronograph that is most associated with him. He incorporated a tension ring around the edge of the dial, and printed the tachymeter track on it. 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.
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. The dials were black, silver, black-on-white (panda); some references had tachymeter, decimal, or even pulsometer tracks on the outer edge of the dial, in red or blue.
This silver-dialed Carrera we offer here is an early example of a Reference 3647S, also called the Carrera 45, for the 45 minute register at 3 o'clock. The Reference 3647S is powered by the Valjoux 92, a derivative of the triple register Valjoux 72 that we all know and love, with similar architecture and quality, simply without an hour register (another nod to Heuer's quest for extreme legibility). These Valjoux 92-equipped Carreras have a cleaner look and feel especially modern today, as many brands use this layout for their new releases.
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.
For a watch designed in the 1960s, this Carrera remains a stunner, proving the brilliance of Jack’s design philosophy. A clean dial never goes out of style, and it makes the Carrera an easy watch to dress up or down. At 36mm, the sharp-lugged case wears extremely well on the modern wrist, a testament to the wearability of this classic chronograph.
Stainless steel case is 35mm (excluding crown and pushers). Heuer Carrera Reference 3647S. Valjoux Caliber 92 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1964.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and minimal signs of use and wear. Dial is in excellent condition, crisp and clear, with no major signs of discoloration or hand drag. Luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands have gained a fine even patina over time. Heuer crown. Screw case back has some minor signs of use and wear but is in very good condition.
Includes one 18mm dark brown leather strap and two 18mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle