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”)



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 Stainless Steel Man's Chronograph Watch For Parts / RepairVintage Heuer Camaro Valjoux 72 Chronograph Case Movement Parts. Hands And Dial.Good Mens Tag Heuer Carrera S Steel Chronograph Automatic Wrist Watch Cv2111-0Heuer Autavia Gmt Ref. 2446c With Valjoux 72 - Rare, Manual-winding ChronographTag Heuer Mens Carrera Calibre 7 Automatic Twin Time Gmt Watch Wv2116Tag Heuer Ss Carrera Twin Time Automatic Calibre 7 Men's Watch70s Heuer Autavia Two Registers Automatic Chronograph W/ Org. Fliplock BraceletVintage 1983 Heuer 2000 ChronographVintage- Heuer Autavia Gmt-cal 14Vintage Heuer Chronograph Valjoux 77 To Repair As Is #56Vintage Tag Heuer 1000 Quartz Ref. 980.029n Black Pvd 200m Diver Watch L8Tag Heuer Monaco Mens Caliber 12 Steve Mcqueen Auto Chronograph Watch Caw2111-0Very Rare Heuer Camaro 12 Reference 7220s Chronograph Valjoux 72 Wristwatch !!Heuer Autavia, Jo Siffert Ref. 1163 Case,middle Part,very Good,70's!!!Tag Heuer Carrera Mens Swiss Automatic Chronograph Watch Cv2013.fc6234 Near MintTag Heuer Wan2111 Aquaracer Blue Dial Date 300m Divers Automatic WatchTag Heuer 2000 Chronograph (cn2111) Watch - Automatic, Warranty Card, Great Val Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre Chronograph Cv2a10.ba0796 Wrist Watch For MenTag Heuer Aquagraph (cn211a) Watch - Near Mint, Warranty Card, 500m/cal 60 Mvmt!Vintage 1998 Tag Heuer 200m Proffesional Mid Size Gents Watch With Papers.Tag Heuer Carrera Was2112 Calibre 6 Heritage Automatic Mens WatchTag Heuer Carrera Fangio (limited Edition) Cv201c.ba0786Tag Heuer Monaco Steve Mcqueen Cw2113-0 With Original Box And PaperworkTag Heuer 6000 Series Automatic Chronometer 200m Steel Watch Wh5113Tag Heuer Carrera Cal. 1887 Chronograph WatchAuthentic Tag Heuer Aquaracer Waf1416 Swiss Quartz Diamond Women's Watch NrVintage Heuer Chronograph 2 Register 23 Valjoux Watch (project) No ReserveTag Heuer Kirium Chronometer Wl5113 Ba0701 Nr!Tag Heuer Carrera 1887 Chrono Automatic Mens Watch Car2a80.wrh1823 Retails $5850Tag Heuer Link Gentlemans Watch Cj1112 Full Set 12 Months WarrantyTag Heuer 1500 Series Quartz Wd1210 With Bracelet And Strap Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph Day-date 43mm Men's WatchTag Heuer Formula One F1 Wah1111.ba0850 Black Rubber Strap Sport Watch WarrantyTag Heuer 6000 Automatic Chronograph Chronometer Ch5150 18k Ss Caliber 17 W BoxTag Heuer Professional 964.008.2 2-tone Ss Quartz Ladies Diving Watch W/ DateTag Heuer Aquaracer Automatic Chronogragh Calibre 16 Mens Watch Caf2011Authentic Tag Heuer Link Wat1110 Quartz Date Stainless Steel Men Watch NrVintage Tag Heuer Professional 1000 Black Coral Quartz Mens Watch 980.029 Tag Heuer 964.008-2 Two Tone Ss High Fashion Quartz Ladies Diving WatchTag Heuer Carrera Cv2010 Calibre 18 Automatic Stainless Steel Chrono WristwatchTag Heuer 2000 Stainless Steel Men's Watch!Tag Heuer Professional Wd1213-g-20 Men's Diver Quartz Wrist Watch White DialTag Heuer Professional Date Stainless Steel/rose Tone Ladies Watch W/ White Dial**rare Vintage Haste/leonidas/heuer "baby" Chronograph Watch Art Deco Dial 1930sTag Heuer Pilot 1/10Vintage Swiss Watch Heuer Leonidas Monte Carlo Stopwatch Dashboard Rally TimerTag Heuer Men's Wk111a-0 Multifunction Steel Date 200m Quartz Mens WatchTag Heuer Men's Waf1110.ba0800 Aquaracer Quartz Watch Waf1110Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 16Tag Heuer Professional 200m Divers Watch Sapphire CrystalOriginal Vintage 1970s Heuer Box For Heuer Autavia Chronograph Men's Watch RareGood Condition Tag Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph Mens Watch Stainless Quartz 42mmMen’s Tag Heuer Professional Quartz Blue Dial Watch With BoxTag Heuer Professional Classic 2000 Men's Watch Wk1113 No ReserveTag Heuer CarreraTag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre S Regatta Chronograph Watch Caf7110.ba0803Tag Heuer Aquaracer Automatic Cap211Heuer Carrera Chronograph Dial, Valjoux 7736,nos ,60's!!!Auth Tag Heuer Cg1110-0 200m Date Black Dial Mens Quartz Wrist WatchTag Heuer 200m S/el Quartz 'mini' Ladies Watch S04.708m