Heuer Carrera
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Heuer Carrera

Why We Love It

Formula One in the 1960s was more chaos than car racing; open-wheeled cars roaring through corners, touched technicians teasing untested designs, racing greats like Jackie Stewart, Jochen Rindt, Jacky Ickx and Jo Siffert battling for position through clouds of exhaust on scorched tires.

The chaos — and danger — of racing was no doubt an influence on Jack Heuer when he created the Carrera.  But rather than mirror the clamor of the track, he designed a simple, staid and highly legible racing timer. 

He crafted a steel case with long lugs for great wearability and utilized a bulletproof Valjoux drivetrain.  He created a watch with presence without pretension. 

But unbeknownst to Mr. Heuer, the Carrera would travel farther than the racetrack — much farther.  Across the globe, collectors clamber to get their hands on these gorgeous chronographs which, retailed by Heuer in 1963 for $89.50, now trade for tens of thousands of dollars.  

After all, wearing one of these gorgeous '60s chronos is like shaking hands with a racing legend, but one that will ride shotgun with you for decades to come.

The 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 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.

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.  

Details

SKU: AS02726

Stainless steel case is approximately 35.5mm (excluding crown and pushers). Heuer Reference 3647N. Valjoux 92 Manually Winding Chronograph Movement. 1960s.

Overall Condition: The watch is in very good condition over all, with some light wear marks consistent with age and use, including a light scratch to the upper right lug. Matte black first execution dial is in excellent condition with a pleasing patina to luminous plots. 9:00 sub register shows some very minor discoloration. Luminous steel sword hands are in lovely condition with a pleasing patina. Screw case back; Heuer-signed crown.

19mm triple-grain Beads-of-Rice bracelet included at an addition cost.

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