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    

Vintage Heuer Autavia Ref. 113.603, 11063v A Very Rare Pvd CoatedTag Heuer Monaco Cw2113-0 Blue Steve Mcqueen Cal.17 Chronograph Watch + BraceletTag Heuer 1000 Professional 200m Swiss Made Stainless St Men's 1980s Watch F158Vintage All Orig 70s Heuer Carrera Cal15 1553 Steel Chronograph Automatic WatchVintage Heuer 844/2 Automatic 42mm Diver Watch - Super Rare ModelZk004 Authentic Tag Heuer Carrera Automatic Chronograph Date Black Cv2010 Yr3398Tag Heuer 1000 Professional Men's Quartz Combi Black Dial Date WatchTag Heuer Aquaracer 500m Calibre Ref 16 Caj2110 Automatic Chronograph WristwatchTag Heuer Carrera Ref:car2110-0 Automatic Chronograph Men's WatchTag Heuer Carrera Calibre 1889 Chronograph Steel Watch Car2110 Rky0292Tag Heuer Aquaracer Automatic Wrist Watch For MenTag Heuer Monaco Caw2114.fc6177 Black Dial Chronograph No Reserve!Super Rare! Vintage Heuer Chronograph Valjoux Ww2 Stainless Steel Circa 1940'sLarge Mens Tag Heuer F1 (formula One) Wristwatch Stunning Blue Dial Wac-1112 Tag Heuer Kirium Wt511a Automatic Chronometer Watch. Blue DialTag Heuer 1500 Mens Professional 200m Divers Watch Wd1214-do/wy6 109, Blue 37mm1990s Gents Tag Heuer 2000.professional 200m Quartz Watch Ref.962.206Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Calibre 8rs Grand Date / Gmt Ref #wav5111 WristwatchHeuer 981.006 Pvd Vintage Olive Green Diver - A Very Rare Watch 42mm CaseHeuer 42mm Vintage Rare Men's Black Dial Quartz Professional Diver Watch 980.006Gents Tag Heuer Formula 1 Sports Bracelet WatchTag Heuer 980.023n Vintage 1000m Deep Diver 41mm CaseVintage Tag Heuer 1000 Professional 200m Watch Rare #980.613b Blue SwissHeuer Calculator Automatic Chronograph 1974 S Magnific ConditionTag Heuer Carrera Wv2212 Automatic Unisex Mop Diamond Dial Box Papers No ReserveTag Heuer Monaco Black Opalin Dial Automatic Men's Chronograph Watch Cal2113Tag Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 16 Mint Tag Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 7 Gmt Automatic Watch Waz211.bao875Genuine Tag Heuer 2 Tone Professional Ladies Diver Watch Box Papers Tag Heuer Carrera Heritage Automatic Was2111.fc6293 Wrist Watch For MenLadies Tag Heuer Aquaracer Waf1418 Pink Mop Stainless Quartz Watch 03335Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300m Wab1112 Bao801 Boxes Rare Blue Yellow!!Original Vintage Heuer 980.006 Dive Watch (spares Or Repair)Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Cv2a1r Men's WatchVintage Rare Tag Heuer 1000 Diver's Professional 200m Watch 980.613b Scuba RunsVintage Heuer Chronograph Watch Pre Carrera Gold Capped!!Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic Men's Blue Dial Day-date Watch War201eTag Heuer 2000 Series 18kgp/stainless Steel Quartz Fullsize Mens WatchTag Heuer AquaracerTag Heuer Formula 1 Professional Stainless Steel Swiss Men's Chronograph Cah1110Men's Tag Heuer Wv211a-2 Carrera Automatic Stainless Steel 39mm Wrist Watch Vintage Heuer 844 Monnin 980.006 20mm Bracelet For 42mm Case Tag Heuer Carrera War1311 White Mother Of Pearl Ladies Quartz Watch $1595.00Pre-owned Tag Heuer, Aquaracer, Automatic Chronograph, Caf 2111.Tag Heuer Professional 200m Men's Quartz Watch S90.806 Polished, No Reserve!!!!Tag Heuer Ladies Carrera Watch With Diamond Dial & Bezel Wv1413 Tag Heuer WatchTag Heuer Carrera Calibre 8 Gmt Relógio Automático 100 M - 41 Mm War5010.ba0723Used Exc Complete 44mm Tag Heuer Aquaracer Chronotimer Caf1010 Men's WatchMens Large Tag Heuer Champagne Diver Kirium Chronograph Cl111-0 Steel WatchTag Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 Car2111.ba0720A Rare Nos 21mm Heuer Autavia Wristwatch Strap & Buckle Circa 1970s Tag Heuer Carrera Cv2a11.fc6235 Wrist Watch For MenTag Heuer F1 Chronograph WristwatchTag Heuer Mens Watch Cw2113 Hf7209 - WorksTag Heuer Formula1 43mm Steel WatchNo Reserve Tag Heuer 2000 Vintage Steel 100% Swiss Made Good Condition Unic RareTag Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Meters 1000 Feet Divers Watch Wab1111 MintTag Heuer Professional Men's Wristwatch Swiss Wm1111 Ky6948 For Parts Or Repair Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 Way2012.ba0927Tag Heuer Waf111c Men's Diamond Dial Aquaracer