Monday, 21 August 2017

New discovery? 38mm automatic diver.

Looks normal untill you see the automatic on the dial.
As far as I know Heuer never made a automatic diver in the 38mm standard mens size diver.
We all know the famous ref. 844 jumbo 42mm automatic diver.  The one that was introduced in 1979 together with a tiny automatic ladies watch, the ref. 756.

This was the beginning of Heuers dive watch sucsess. Most watches sold was driven by a quartz movement.
AUTOMATIC printed on the dial looks genuine.
The most popular watches was the regular mens watch size at 38mm. The all steel ref. 980.013 and the two tone ref. 980.020 was very popular. All these watches was quartz only.

Untill today.....

I got three pictures from a Heuer-collector friend asking what I was thinking about a special 38mm Heuer diver.
Back still has sticker on and is stamped 180.020
The dial said AUTOMATIC, and the case back was stamped with ref. 180.020. Inside was a ETA automatic movement stamped Heuer.85 on the rotor.

The 980.020 is a two-tone quartz diver. This 180.020 was a automatic two-tone diver. Coluld this be a genuine automatic 38mm Heuer diver?
I think so....

We have seen this kind of ref.number system before.
The 1000m quartz diver has ref. 980.023.
The ref. 180.123 is the automatic Tag Heuer with all lume dial
The ref. 180.023 is the automatic Tag Heuer Spirotechnique.
All three share the same case. 980=Quartz / 180=Automatic.

These three watches was produced around 1985/86 when TagHeuer was the new name of the company. The 980.023 was introduced as Heuer, and later changed to Tag Heuer.

ETA movement stamped Heuer / 85 on rotor.
The movement on the new 38mm autodiver is stamped 85. This seems correct and places it in the same period of time as the other ref. 180.023 and 180.123.

The regular 980.020 Two-tone.
I think we has a genuine automatic version of the ref. 980.020 quartz. The ref. 180.020 Automatic.

The big question is why have we not seen more of this medium sized Heuer diver?
Was it ever put in production?
Any one with another 180.020 Automatic two-tone diver out there?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Very early Heuer 844 Monnin

This is one of the earliest Heuer 844 Quartz I have seen. The serial number is in the low 3000. Mine own Heuer 844 Quartz is in the 7000s.

Early Heuer 844 Quartz from 1978. Bought in Los Angeles that year by Barry.
 The watch belongs to Classic Heuer reader Barry from the USA. He wrote to me after reading about the restoration prosess of my Heuer 844 Quartz.


- I purchased the watch new in the 1970s in Los Angels. I still wear it, it's a beautiful watch. It may be one of the first one Heuer diver ever sold. The dial is not even marked "France". The case back is marked 844, even though it is a quartz, Barry says.


- She's alive and running, that's amazing after all these years. I think I bougth this watch in 1978, probably in December, as I was in Los Angeles at that time.


- It was oh so cool to have a quartz watch at that time, he remembers.

Barry was learning to navigate with sextant at that time, and he tells that the Heuer 844 was more than accurate enougth to use for navigation.

The watch has some interesting features like a dial with the usual red 1-24 markings and cathedral hands. The wrinting is in french as normal, but the dial is not mrked "Made in France" at the bottom as usual.
The case back is marked "844" and the word "Quartz". Mine 844 Quartz is not marked quartz, but has "Made in France" at the bottom of the dial. Barrys watch has serial number in the 3500s, mine is in the 7800s.

Thanks to Barry Kurland for the information of his cool vintage Heuer. Still in use after all these years.


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

From a wreck to a new life

Some watches just look awful, but they can hide a real gem under all the scratches and dirt. This is a watch like that.
This Heuer 980.006 came to me as a basket case, with a very scratched crystal, a stuck bezel and a non running movement.
As it looked on arrival.

The watch had a lot of scars after several years with professional use.
This watch was no safequeen. It has been used by a proffesional diver for many years and it does really show. This was a tool watch that had seen it all.

The crystal was the worst I ever have seen on a vintage Heuer diver.
The owner got this watch from his diving instructor father and wanted me to give it some TLC. I love to give these old Heuer diver watches a second chance in life and accepted the challenge.

A full strip down revealed a lot of dirt under the bezel. No wonder it was stuck.
The bezel was not possible to turn. I was very stuck. I had to remove it and underneath it was a lot of dirt. No wonder it would not turn. A good clean of all parts and the bezel did turn and click as new again.
A lot of goo and grit under the bezel.
Fortunately was the dial and hands in perfect condition under the scratched crystal. No need for any work there.
Perfect condition.
The movement is a correct ESA 536.121 and did not run. It did run for a little when I installed a new battery, but stopped after a short while. The reason was most likely dry oil. And a little fresh oil did do the trick. The movement was soon ticking again.


A new bezel insert was installed. It really transformed the watch.
The installation of a new bezel insert was a real pain. I had to make several small adjustments to make it fit. In the end I managed to get it in place.
A new crystal and gasket was no problem and a easy fit. The watch was ready for service for it's new owner.
Voila, what a transformance.
I'm very happy with the result. This watch was really not good looking upon arrival. Thanks to Anders M. H. Versland who let me work on his fathers old diver.