Auction Watch -- November 2016

Phillips, The Geneva Watch Auction FOUR, November 12 and 13, 2016

On November 12 and 13, 2016, Phillips held an auction of 196 watches, divided into two sessions.  The first session, on November 12, included these four Heuer chronographs.



Final prices shown below include the hammer price plus a 25% buyer’s premium; exchange rate at the time of the auction was CHF 1.00 equals $1.012.

You can review the following versions of the catalog for the auction — e-catalog  / online catalog / PDF of catalog.

Lot 18 – Heuer Carrera 45 Dato, Reference 3147N, First Execution; SN 94887


Catalog listing HERE

Catalog Essay

The Heuer Carerra reference 3147 also called “Dato” (because of the date feature) was launched in 1966, with a totally original and unusual positioning of the date at 12 o’clock. The first execution featured the date at 12 o’clock, but the fact that the chronograph seconds hand covered the date, most probably lead Heuer to soon move the date from the 12 o’clock to the 9 o’clock position. Interestingly, even though associated with the world of motor sports – the name Carrera is a tribute to the Carrera Panamericana, an automobile race on open roads in Mexico that ran from 1950 to 1954 and considered the most dangerous and deadly of car races at the time – the minutes counter records up to 45 minutes rather than the habitual 30 minutes and is more in line with the timing of halves of a football match than that of fuel injected automobiles racing at ground-breaking speed on asphalt. The present lot will appeal to the chronograph enthusiast in general and the Heuer aficionado in particular due to its particularly fierce look with bold bevelled lugs, its stealthy, all black dial highlighted by the white chapter ring and the striking contrast of the red date.

Final price for Lot 18 was CHF 15,000 ($15,180)

Lot 19 – Heuer Carrera, Reference 2447 SN (White dial with black registers); SN 102987


Catalog Listing HERE

Catalog Essay

One of Heuer’s most iconic designs, the Carrera reference 2447 SN is a superb example of the sleek and sporty chronograph watches produced by the brand during the 1960s. With powerful faceted lugs, a thick case and round pushers, the reference 2447 was manufactured from 1963 until approximately 1970.

Similar to the Autavia, Heuer bestowed the model with the motorsport-inspired name “Carrera” – a tribute to the great Carrera Panamericana car race through Mexico. Like the Mille Miglia, the prestigious event was a border to border car race, which ran from 1950 to 1954, but was cancelled the following year due to safety concerns.

The Carrera was made in two versions: the earlier models with dials that had long applied markers for all 12 hours and the second series with markers for all hours except at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions, which featured luminous dots. Furthermore, the hour indexes as well as the hands were fitted with black inserts.

The present lot from the second series has the “SN” designation in the reference number. This denotes that the dial was silvered with black registers, with the S for Standard (or silver) dial and N (noir, black in French) for the subdials. The present lot is in superb condition and shows very little signs of wear over the course of its 50 plus years. Fitted with its original and rare stainless steel bracelet made by Gay Frères, it’s a superb example of this iconic steel chronograph.

Final price for Lot 19 was CHF 40,000 ($40,480)

Lot 41 – Orvis Solunagraph, Reference 2446 SF, First Execution; SN 197795


Catalog listing HERE

Catalog Essay

Over the span of 20 years, Heuer produced a number of chronograph watches, which included a subsidiary tidal register used by sailors, fishermen and hunters. In order to understand how the manufacturer came to produce this collectible and rare timepiece, one must look at the firm’s relationship with the retailer Abercrombie & Fitch. This New York City-based retailer opened in 1892, catering to adventurers and outdoorsmen. They offered high quality equipment for camping, hiking, fishing and other pursuits – a 1919 advertisement proclaimed them as “The Greatest Sporting Goods Store in the World”.

In a continuing effort to bring exciting novelties to their clientele, Abercrombie & Fitch formed a relationship with the Swiss brand Heuer to make rugged and waterproof chronograph watches. Some models were three register chronographs, while others were more specialized timepieces like the Solunagraph with a moon-time dial. The original iteration of Heuer’s tidal watches was made for Abercrombie & Fitch under the name “Solunar”. The theory behind the model was based on fishermen’s need to know low and high tides, or hunters who wanted to know the favorable time of the day to hunt (major and minor feeding periods). The “Solunar” was not a commercial success, however Heuer decided to incorporate the lunar phase into a chronograph, which became known as the “Seafarer”.

Over time, numerous models of the “Seafarer” were manufactured and by the 1970’s the outdoor retailer Orvis commissioned their own model named the Solunagraph. While Heuer sold the model through both Abercrombie & Fitch and Orvis, the brand also retailed it under their own brand with the model name Mareographe. The Solunagraph’s valjoux caliber 72 movement is housed in a case with a compressor-type snap on back and sports a black bezel calibrated to 60 minutes for divers. The present lot, from the first series with polished steel hands, is in wonderful overall condition with two round chronograph pushers in the band, with a third push button on the left-side of the case, used to set the moon-time dial. Fitted in an oversized case measuring 40 mm in diameter, it is a wonderful addition to any collection of rare chronographs.

Final price for Lot 41 was CHF 50,000 ($50,600)

Lot 67 – Heuer Bundeswehr Chronograph, Sternzeit Reguliert, Reference 1550 SZ


Catalog Listing HERE

Catalog Essay

Heuer’s Bundeswehr flyback chronograph watch was made for the German military from the 1960s until the early 1970s. The brand manufactured the watches to meet the specifications required by each branch of the force, and therefore there are several variations of the model available. The present example is the rare “Sternzeit Reguliert” model, which rarely appears at auction. The designation “Sternzeit Reguliert” printed at the bottom of the dial is German for “sidereal time”. This is the method to tell time based on the earth’s rotation in relationship to a distant star and not the sun. A sidereal day lasts 23 hours and 56 minutes.

German artillery forces used sidereal time along with theodolite positions to determine horizontal and vertical planes, which were instrumental in rocket launching. The case back is engraved with the 13-digit NATO stock number “Bundeswehr 6645-12-148-2298” and is typical of these military timepieces. The present lot is not only an extremely rare example, but is in superb condition with strong bevelled lugs, an untouched dial, and original cuff bracelet. Furthermore, the lot is accompanied by the original full portfolio of astronomical calculations and a sky chart. Collectors affectionately refer to these German military watches as the “Bund”, and this rugged and well preserved example will delight connoisseurs of military timepieces.

Final price for Lot 67 was CHF 18,750 ($18,975)

Jeff Stein
November 12, 2016

Heuer Logo (White on Black)