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As far as chronographs are concerned, when it comes to mid-century chronos, Heuer is king. They're best-known for their racing chronographs, such as the Carrera, Camaro, Monza, and perhaps most iconically, the Autavia. The Autavia (a portmanteau of "automotive" and "aviation") was first introduced in the early 1960s and graced the wrists of such Formula 1 legends as Jo Siffert, Jochen Rindt, and Derek Bell.
Throughout the Autavia's 20-year run, it saw several different case and dial configurations. The first Autavias had screw-down case backs, unusual for racing chronographs of the period, before shifting to snap-back compressor cases in the late 1960s, and large cushion cases in the 1970s and 1980s. While there's something to be said for the distinctive look of the cushion case Autavias, the earlier snap-back compressor case models, Reference 2446C ("C" denoting "compressor"), are among the most desirable of Autavias, typifying for many collectors the ideal racing chronograph.
While that's without a doubt the most notable association of Autavia, it also served as a General Issue timepiece in the German Bundeswehr. Additionally, Heuer also used the Autavia as the base model for some unusual and downright interesting specialized chronographs, from everything to engineering, fishing, and even yachting. It's perhaps the latter that's the most interesting and unique Autavia of all: the regatta timer, used for timing yacht races.
The Skipper was first introduced in a Carrera case (affectionately known as a "Skipperera" among collectors), and is easily one of the rarest models Heuer ever produced. The second generation, seen here, was increased in size, sharing a case with the larger compressor-cased 7763C and 2446C Autavias. The Reference 7764 Skippers are infinitely wearable and stand out from their Autavia counterparts with the addition of an oversized tri-color register at 3:00. At last count, less than a dozen of these beautiful watches are known to still exist.
This particular Skipper combines a distinctive appearance with the sturdiness and dependability that mark Autavias of this era. The blue, white, and red of the regatta timer remain vibrant, the red indicating the fifteen minute interval where the yachts idle behind a buoy before the start of the race. The chronograph hand is another splash of color on the dial, which has gained a beautiful even patina over time, echoed in the rotating bezel, which has also ghosted to a grey hue.
The Heuer Skipper is a nautical legend, like the mythical ghost ships that haunted sailors' imaginations--how lucky are we that one has come to port!
Stainless steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown and pushers). Heuer Reference 7764. Manually-wound Valjoux 7730 Chronograph movement. Circa late 1960s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel compressor case is in very good condition, with sharp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing. There are light signs of use and wear in keeping with its age, including some light scratches and pitting on the sides of the case and on the lugs. Dial is in excellent condition, with bright printing in the regatta timer and a fine even patina to the luminescent elements of the hands and hour markers. Minute hand missing some luminescent material. Rotating bezel has ghosted to a grey color and has some signs of wear and use, including some scratches from 12 to 5 o'clock. Signed crown; signed case back has some light scratches and tool marks but is in otherwise excellent condition.
Includes one 20mm black leather Autodromo Rally strap and two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle