Swiss watch maker Edouard Heuer founded the company that still bears his name in 1860. He began as a manufacturer of chronographs for sportsmen, and his early interest continues to be a hallmark of Heuer timepieces today.

It took half a century for Heuer’s firm to add wristwatches to its line of stopwatches, pocket watches, and dashboard chronographs. That occurred in 1913 and was instigated by the late founder’s sons, Jules and Charles.

The earliest Heuer wristwatches were made for women and featured gold or leather bands. Men’s chronograph wristwatches soon followed. A typical antique men’s Heuer wristwatch from the late 1910s and throughout the 1920s had a round stainless-steel case, gold numerals on a white dial, and hands that suggest an Art Nouveau influence. A button set within the crown (the winder) controlled the watch’s chronographic functions.

During this period, in 1916, Heuer made the first timer to record tenths of a second. That led to Heuer’s selection as the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games of 1920, 1924, and 1928.

Despite the Great Depression, the 1930s were a busy decade for Heuer. In 1930, it invented a flyback mechanism for its chronographs and patented a waterproof case. Functions such as automatic winding came shortly thereafter and in the middle of the decade, it produced steel Flieger chronographs for the German Air Force.

By the 1940s, triple-calendar chronographs began to appear. Cases came in steel or gold, with dials ranging from black to copper to white. These are among the most collectible vintage Heuers around. By the end of the decade, Heuer would introduce the Solunar, its first wristwatch to give tidal times.

The 1950s saw the introduction of the first of the so-called "poor man’s" Heuers, which were Heuer wristwatches either manufactured for third parties or for Heuer itself under a different brand. Aristo, Clebar, and Zodiac are examples of the latter, but Heuer also made wristwatches for U.S. watch maker Hamilton and retailers Sears (under the Tradition brand) and Tourneau...

Heuer’s most famous third-party client was undoubtedly Abercrombie & Fitch, whose early 1950s line of Seafarer and Auto-Graph wristwatches were heavily promoted by the clothing retailer. The nautically themed Seafarer featured blue-and-while indicators on white or black dials, giving wearers information on tides and the phases of the moon. The wristwatch design was so popular that Heuer repurposed it some years later as the Mareographe under its own label.

A&F’s Auto-Graph was introduced in 1953. This stylish watch was a triple-calendar chronograph, with numerals around the outside rim of the dial to help wearers calculate miles-per-hour and functions designed to calculate miles-per-gallon.

Another auto-themed wristwatch was the 1962 Autavia, which took its name from Heuer’s dashboard timers from the late 1950s. The elegant Carrera chronograph line was introduced the following year—both it and the Autavia featured movements manufactured by Valjoux.

Changes in Heuer’s ownership structure consumed much of the rest of the 1960s, but the company also produced a number of new models, including the Regatta in 1965, the Bundeswehr in 1967 (a brand picked up when Heuer acquired Leonides in 1964), the Camaro in 1968, and the square faced Monaco, which Steve McQueen made famous when he wore it in the 1971 racing film, Le Mans.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

OnTheDash

OnTheDash

Jeffrey Stein's great reference site on Heuer chronographs and dashboard timepieces. This site offers everything yo… [read review or visit site]

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

This virtual museum, created by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, lets you stroll through tim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Lejour Poor Men's Heuer Pasadena Valjoux 7750 Vintage Military - Orfina PorscheUncommon Heuer Zodiac Chronograph Steel Watch Valjoux 72 Movement Keeps A+ Time Rare Mint Vintage Heuer Professional Divers Watch - Tag Heuer Outstandingvintage Tag Heuer Super Professional Deep Diver Watch 1000m 3330'Tag Heuer Monza Caliber 36 Cr5110 Cosc Chronometer Guilloche Black Arabic DialGents Rare 1970s Heuer Cortina Manual WristwatchMens Vintage Tag Heuer 1000 Stainless Steel 200m Quartz Watch 980.013 As Is 3503Tag Heuer Avant Garde Grand Carrera Calibre 17 Swiss Chronograph Watch Nr1046 Re- Edition Tag Heuer Carrera 1964 Cs 3111 Steel Tritium Dial ChronographTag Heuer Mercedes Benz Slr Calibre 17 Car Automatic Watch Cag2010**tag Heuer Formula One Chronograph Mens Watch Cac1110.ba0850 Rare Collectable**Watch Tag Heuer Monaco Re-edition Chronograph Automatic Black Dial - Cs2111 Vintage, Heuer Chronograp Watch. Valjoux 53, S/stl Case. Genuine Tag Heuer Link Cjf2110 Automatic Chronograph Stainless Steel Watch20mm Nsa Watch Bracelet For Vintage Heuer, Omega, Zenith, Jeager EtcRare Leather Strap Tag Heuer Sel Mens Quartz 200m Chronograph Watch Cg1110-0Awesome Estate Tag Heuer Link Chronometer Sapphire Crystal Wristwatch NrTag Heuer Monaco Cw2113-0 Dx9308Tag Heuer Carrera 8gmt Stainless Steel Auto Chronometer Men's Watch (#war5010)Tag Heuer 2000 Midsize Stainless Steel Men's Watch Model Wk1112-0Tag Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 16 Automatic Chronograph Caz2010 Black Dial StainlesLimited Edition Men's Tiger Woods Tag Heuer Professional Titanium Golf Watch -nrTag Heuer Aquaracer Grande Date Mens Watch Can1010Cav511a Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Caliber 17rs Automatic Chronograph 43mmTag Heuer 962.213f-2 Circa 2000 Stainless Steel Men's WatchHeuer Autavia Vintage 73363 Siffert DialTag Heuer Kirium Men's Fullsize Ss Watch In Its Tag Box!Tag Heuer Aquaracer Grande Date Chronograph Black Dial Watch Ref. Caf101e Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 *broke Does Not Work*Mens Tag Heuer Autavia Jo Siffert Stainless Steel Chronograph Needs ServiceTag Heuer 300 Slr 1887 Limited Edition Chrono Car2112.fc6267 41mm.Ladies Size Tag Heuer 2000 S/s Case Black Dial & Black Bezel Near MintTag Heuer Aquaracer 300m Steel Automatic Deep Blue Dial Wab2011 No ReserveTag Heuer Formula 1 Mens Wristwatch Wah1110 With Original Box (unused)Mens Tag Heuer Chronograph Stainless Steel Ca1211-ro 200 Meters 38mmMint Tag Heuer Chronograph Countdown Timer Americas Cup Aqua Racer Cak211b WatchTag Heuer Monaco Automaticchronograph Wrist Watch For MenNo Reserve - Mens Tag Heuer Carrera Twin-time Automatic Calibre 7 Wv2115Vintage Aquastar-heuer Regate Yacht Timer With Felsa 4000n MovementGenuine Tag Heuer Men Formula One F1 Quartz WatchTag Heuer Ct1111-0 Link 200 Meters Chronograph Quartz Black Dial Mens Watch NrTag Heuer Quartz Two Tone Diver Ladies WatchVintage Ladies Tag Heuer Professional 200m Bi-metal Watch, Box & Papers Iwo 1987Tag Heuer Aquaracer Chronograph Black Dial Stainless Steel Men's Watch Cap2110Mens Tag Heuer 2000 Series 18kgp & St.steel White Dial AutomaticTag Heuer Link Automatic Wjf211a Calibre 6 Mens Ladies Watch No Reserve $.01Tag Heuer Aquaracer MensTag Heuer Carerra Gts Auto Chrono Gents Automatic Watch,fits Very Large Wrist.**tag Heuer Formula One Chronograph Mens Watch Cah1113.ba0850 Rare Collectable**Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Calibre 17 Cav511a Ss Automatic Chronograph Men's WatchVintage Heuer Small Chronograph (valjoux ) Circa 1940s Diameter-28mmTag Heuer Wah1111.ba0850 Formula 1 F1 White Dial Swiss Quartz Mens Sports WatchTag Heuer Stainless Steel Mens Professional Watch Wk1112-0Tag Heuer Formula 1 Professional Cac1110-0 Chronograph Men's WatchTag Heuer Men's Man Kirium Sport Diving Watch 200 Meter Silver W/strap Wl1114Tag Heuer Men's Man 4000 Sport Diving Watch 200 Meter Anthracite W/ StrapPre-owned Tag Heuer Sel - Ref. Wg1212 - Ko Diver's Watch - No ReserveTag Heuer Kirium Professional WatchTag Heuer Link Date Chronograph Steel Blue Dial Eta Automatic Vintage $0.99 NrTag Heuer 1500 Exclusive Professional 2-tone Mens Watch 955.713g-2