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    

Rare Heuer Autavia Gmt 3 Register Chronograph Stainless Running Men's WristwatchTag Heuer Carrera Mens Swiss Automatic Chronograph Watch Cv2010.fc6233Tag Heuer Carrera Automatic Chronograph Watch Ref. Cv2014-2 Box/papers NmntVintage Heuer Autavia Tachymeter WristwatchTag Heuer Monaco Cs2111 Chronograph Automatic 38mm Men's WatchTag Heuer Wan2111 Blue 41mm Aquaracer 300m Calibre 5 Automatic - Near Mint!Tag Heuer F1 Formula 1 Chronograph Vintage Watch Red Ca1215 *free PostVintage Rare 1940's Heuer Chronograph Winding Good Condition Men WatchTag Heuer Monaco Caw2110 Automatic Chronograph Watch LeatherTag Heuer Wan2110 Black 41mm Aquaracer 300m Calibre 5 Automatic - Mint!Tag Heuer Carrera Twin Time Stainless Steel Leather Band Men's Watch Wv2115-0Heuer Autavia Automatic Chronograph WatchPre-owned Tag Heuer Aquaracer Caf2010 Automatic Chronograph Day Date WatchTag Heuer 2000 Series Vintage Midsize Watch Wk1212-0 *free PostTag Heuer Midsize Men's "formula 1" F1 Wa1211 Quartz Watch Professional 200mTag Heuer Aquaracer 500m Automatic Chronograph Men's Stainless Watch Caj2110Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph Automatic Cv2010-4 Juan Manuel Fangio Ed.Genuine Mens Tag Heuer Aquaracer Ss Chronograph Date Caf101e Watch Box PapersTag Heuer Men's Was2111.fc6293 Carrera White Dial Dress WatchMint Tag Heuer Waj2110.ba0870 Aquaracer Automatic 500 M Calibre 5 Watch Mint Authentic Men's Tag Heuer Digital Micro Timer Cs111c.ft6003 Diamond WatchTag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 AutomaticOriginal Tag Heuer Chrono Mens Designer Swiss Watch Caf2012.ba0815 Box DateTag Heuer F1 Formula 1 Black Chrono Quartz Date Ref. Ca1211-1 Men’s WatchTag Heuer 1000 Blue Professional Submariner 980.613n Wrist Watch VintageHeuer Early 2000 Quartz Chronograph 200m Steelwristwatch Ref.262.006 Cal.555.112Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300m Chronograph Caf2012 Ss Automatic Mens Diver WatchTag Heuer Link Stainless Steel Automatic Mens Watch Wjf211b $2600Genuine Tag Heuer Link Ladies Blue Mop Diamond Dial Ss Watch Wjf131c Box PapersTag Heuer Formula 1 Grande Date Chronograph Steel Men's Watch Cah1012Tag Heuer Aquaracer/waj2119 Stainless Steel Automatic Men's WatchGenuine Tag Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 Racing Swiss WatchGenuine Tag Heuer Wk1320 Ladies Two Tone Stainless Steel Date Wrist WatchHeuer Early 2000 Quartz Chronograph 200m Ss/gp Wristwatch Ref.244.006 C.555.112Tag Heuer Gents Automatic Wristwatch Watch TimepieceRare Original Vintage Heuer Autavia Gmt 2446c Cal 72 724 DialTag Heuer Carrera Cv2010-3 Wristwatch Tag Heuer Formula 1 Mens Black Swiss Quartz Chronograph Watch Cah1110 No ReserveTag Heuer 1000 Series Stainless Steel Quartz Mens WatchTag Heuer 1990's Mid Size S/el Quartz 200m Steel & Gp Wristwatch Ref. Wg1227 NosTag Heuer 1990's Mid Size S/el Quartz 200m Ss/gp Wristwatch Ref. Wg1225 NosTag Heuer Aquaracer Ladies Luxury Watch Pink Mop (discontinued) Waf1418Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 - Monaco Grand Prix - Limited EditionTag Heuer Carrera Cv2113-0 Chronograph In Mint ConditionTag Heuer F1 Men's Midsize Ss Watch In Its Tag Box/papers!Men`s Size Tag Heuer 1000 S/s Case Black Dial And Black Bezel Nice Condition100% Authentic Tag Heuer Men Formula 1 Black Watch Diving Dress Wah1110 ClassicTag Heuer Aquaracer Automatic Model Wab2010Tag Heuer F!Tag Heuer Mens Kirium 200 Meter Water Resistant Quartz Watch Wl1116 $1695 RetailTag Heuer Classic 2000 Stainless Steel Quartz Fullsize Mens WatchTag Heuer Mens Formula 1 Watch Wac 1110Ladies Tag Heuer Formula 1 Diamonds. Ceramic. Black. Wah1212. Bracelet All LinksTag Heuer 1000 Professional Black Dial Tow Tone Ladies Women's Watch 925.208hTag Heuer Aquaracer Automatic 500m Calibre 16 Mens Chronograph Caj2110.ba0872 Men's Tag Heuer Wab1110 Aquaracer Quatz Profesional WatchTag Heuer Professional Wn1110-0 Stainless Steel Watch - 6.75"Tag Heuer Sel Vintage Gents Watch Wg1122-ko 1997 *boxed & Papers *free PostTag Heuer Aquaracer Men's Automatic Watch--stainless Bracelet--blue FaceVintage Tag Heuer Diver's Formula 1 Quartz Wristwatch W / Date - No Reserve !