Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Heuer ref 351 C/B

This is a very old Heuer one pusher chronograph. I have identified it as a Ref. 351 C/B.

I found this chronograph included in an offer to the Romanian Military Aviation Authority made by Mr. Josef Schneider, the Romania Heuer agent in the 1930s.
Mr. Schneider made an offer for several different Heuer chronograph to the Romanian Military. Among them was this ref.number, the 351 C/B. Check out the exellent site: http://www.ceasuripentruromania.ro/

This is the original letter from Mr. Schneider to the Romanian Military dated 18th. December 1936.

Heuer 1936 catalogue with the ref. 351 sendt from Mr. Schneider to the Romanian Military.

This old Heuer has an porcelain dial and a hinged caseback just like a pocket watch. The movement is a early version of Valjoux 22, the Valjoux GH. The movement is rather big and the watch size is 40mm.

The size is quite nice, almost as big as an automatic 1970s Autavia.

The old Valjoux GH movement is still ticking. It was missing one of the big wheels, but I managed to find the missing part on Ebay. The movement is now complete and running.

The early narrow Heuer logo is just still visible on the old porcelain dial. Most of the Heuers from this periode had no logo on the dial.

I think this big old chronograph looks very nice on a old stock open-end pigskin strap.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Argentine war veteran

This is my Autavia ref. 11630 MH issued to the Airforce of Argentine. There’s a few things that are different from a regular 11630 MH.

The Argentine Autavia has a deep glossy black dial. The hour and minute hands are brigth red. On a regular 11630 MH the dial is matt black and the hands are white og brushed steel.

I really like the ”harder” look of the glossy dial and red hands.

The movement is Heuer caliber 12 automatic chronograph. No suprises there.

There’s a very cool military marking stamped on the caseback. The back is marked with the crest of the Argentine Airforce and a issued number.

The Argentine Airforce issued several different Heuer Autavias over the years. Both early manual wind oned with Valjoux 72 and later automatic ones like mine. I have also seen GMT Autavias issued to the Airforce of Argentine.

It’s now 30 years since the war raged between Argentine and England over the Falkland Islands. The war started 1982 and was over in 74 days.

The fighter pilots from England did not wear Heuers. The Royal Airforce had a contract with CWC. Iit’s most likely the British Tornado and Sea Harrier pilots was equipped with the manual wind CWC military chronograph. This very clean looking chronograph is driven by a Valjoux 7733 manual wind movement.

I can not know for sure if my Argentine Autavia was in action during the Falkland war, but it’s most likely that the Argentine figther pilots whore their Autavias and the 11630 is the latest ref number I have seen thas was issued to the Airforce of Argentine.

It’s far from mint, but I really don’t care as it’s a issued military pilots chronograph that most likely has seen a lot of action. The wear and tear is part of the history of the watch. A watch that has been to war should not be restored to look like new.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

NOS bezel, great improvement 980.007

I have had several orange dialed big size vintage Heuer diver watches. I like them a lot. I recently saw a sad looking ref. 980.007 listed on Ebay with a very worn bezel. The seller listed it as in need for repair. This seemed like a perfect project for me.
I placed a rather low bid, and was the lucky winner......

Sellers picture. Bad bezel and the hands needed some lume.

I started the hunt for a new bezel. They are almost impossible to find. Again I was lucky and found a NOS Olma diver case complete with bezel. This Olma watch used the exact same case and bezel as Heuer. A deal was done, and I had a NOS bezel for my sad looking 980.007.

After some TLC, new bezel insert, relumed hands and a Heuer signed oyster bracelet.

I am very happy with the result. I love to give tired Heuers a new life.