OnTheDash Guide to Christie's Auction of 34 Heuers, June 21, 2017

On June 21, 2017, Christie’s will conduct a sale of “Rare Watches and American Icons”, in New York City.  There are 250 lots in the sale.  You can find the online catalog HERE or the eCatalog flipbook HERE.

There are 34 lots of Heuer chronographs and stopwatches in the sale, and this posting will serve as your quick guide to those watches.  You can click on any of the images shown below to see a high resolution photo of the watch; alternatively, visit the gallery at the bottom of this posting, to click through each of the Heuers.  After the sale, we will update this posting to show the results.

Here are two postings published by Christie’s relating to the Heuer chronographs included in the sale:

By way of full disclosure, I am the owner / seller of one of the watches included in the sale (Lot 139 — Autavia “Chronomatic”, Reference 1163MH)

Jeff Stein
June 15, 2017

The Watches

Lot 10 – Carrera 45 Dato, Reference 3147S, Serial 107782

Lot 11 – Carrera 45 Dato, Reference 3147N, Serial 127883

Lot 12 – Carrera 45, Reference 3647S, Serial 61844

From the Catalog:

To the best of our knowledge, the present watch is the finest and most complete example of an early Heuer Carrera in the world.

Not only is the watch preserved in mint condition with minimal wear to the unpolished case, but it includes a stunning box with CARRERA printed on the inside, something never previously seen to the market, and it is accompanied by its original receipt and a booklet specifically on how to use the reference 3647S.

According to the receipt, the watch was purchased new in February 1965 from the Würzburg Area US Military Base Exchange by a Captain in the US Army 3rd Infantry. It is clear he wore it only a small number of times and that it was primarily preserved in its box. The purchase price was $37.50

Furthermore, the watch includes a large serial number engraved between lugs at 6 o’clock. Only the earliest Carreras have these large serial numbers and they are coveted by Carrera collectors.

Between the condition of the watch, the possibly unique Carrera box, purchase receipt and US Army provenance, it is truly a museum-worthy Carrera the likes of which may never be seen again.

Lot 13 – Circa 1941 Chronograph, Case Serial 41452

From the catalog:

The present watch is a rare 1940s military chronograph which is furthermore offered in excellent overall condition. The spiral tachymeter on the dial makes it extremely appealing visually. Furthermore, it appears to have a Portuguese hallmark on the top left lug. To the best of our knowledge, a watch with this exact style of dial has not appeared to the market.

Lot 14 – Orvis Solunagraph, Reference 2446 SF, Serial 324289

Lot 15 – Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer, Reference 346 Case, Movement serial 752690, Case serial 80253

From the catalog:

Heuer introduced the Seafarer in the early 1950s and the present example is one of the first of many versions that were produced. The earliest models can be distinguished by their oversized registers. The syringe-style hands are unique to the early model, as well. The register at 9 o’clock displays a colorful tide disc inside an 180 degree aperture. The chronograph minute recorder at 9 o’clock has two blue segments. The hands are very different too, with pin like ends that are not seen on later models. In addition the caliber was a modified version of Valjoux 71.

Lot 16 – Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer, Reference 2446C Case, Serial 324504

Lot 17 – Skipper, Reference 7764, Serial 134542

Lot 18 – Monza, Reference 150.501, Serial 353266

Lot 19 — Boxing Chronograph, Reference 510.547 (together with a Ring-Master Stopwatch)

From the catalog:

Perhaps to the surprise of many, even the most astute, collectors, one of the rarest Heuer chronographs in the world is the Heuer “Boxing” reference 510.547. Only two are known to the market. Shown in a 1986 TAG Heuer catalog from the very earliest days after the purchase of Heuer by “Technique d’Avant Garde” or “TAG” for short, the reference 510.547 was designed to time a boxing match.

The watch features an outer track graduated for 15 rounds. Each round in a boxing match lasts three minutes and is represented with a black background while the one minute pause between each round is in green. It furthermore features a PVD finish to the case, giving an overall striking look to the watch. Inside the watch is the well-regarded and reliable Lemania 5100 automatic chronograph movement. The watch is preserved in spectacular original condition.

Furthermore, the watch includes a rare Ring-Master stopwatch set. The Ring-Master includes a series of rings for placing on the stopwatch in order to time different activities, including boxing.

The Heuer Boxing is absolutely one of the rarest Heuer chronographs in the world and an important part of the company’s history.

Lot 20 — Monaco, Reference 74033 N (Black PVD)

From the catalog:

Near the top of the list for the most valuable vintage Heuer chronographs models is the legendary Heuer “Dark Lord” Monaco reference 74033N. While the Monaco is now one of the more well-known Heuer designs, at its inception in 1969, its sales lagged its Carrera and Autavia peers despite being worn by Steve McQueen in the movie “Le Mans”.

According to Jack Heuer, the CEO and an owner of Heuer at that time, Jack saw King Juan Carlos I of Spain wearing an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak that had been treated with PVD and found the look so striking that after the meeting he seemingly had the idea of doing something similar with the Monaco. This vision became realized in the reference 74033N, made in only a small number of examples and never appearing in a catalog.

The small engraving done by hand on the case back starting with “C” reflects that the watch was originally sold in Switzerland through the distributor Cuanillon.

Lot 21 — Bundeswehr Chronograph, Reference 1550 SG

Lot 22 — A.M.I. (Italian Air Force) Chronograph, Reference 510.543 (issuance number 00016)

Lot 133 — Autavia, Reference 11630, Issued by Kenya Air Force

Lot 134 — Autavia, Reference 73663, Serial 200872, Issued by Kenya Air Force

Lot 135 — Autavia “Chronomatic”, Reference 1163T, Serial 141373

From the catalog:

The unusual white, black, and blue color scheme of this Autavia earned this watch and its automatic successors the nickname the “Jo Siffert Autavia” with the manual versions featuring this color scheme now being called “Jo Siffert Colors Autavias”.

The present watch is one of only a small number known to the market. It is owned by a collector who purchased it from the original owner who was a motorsports enthusiast. The original owner was wearing it on his motorcycle and took a hard fall. The watch then caught against the pavement breaking the man’s arm and scratching the bezel and bezel insert. The watch was worn for many years and has been lightly polished in the past.

Lot 136 — Autavia, Reference 1163T, Serial 142837

Lot 137 — Autavia, Reference 1163T

Lot 138 — Autavia, Reference 73663, Serial 202098

Lot 139 – Autavia “Chronomatic”, Reference 1163MH, Serial 141206

From the catalog:

In fact, to the best of our knowledge this is the first time a major auction house is offering a Chronomatic 1163MH and, based on our knowledge, it is one of only approximately five known to the market.

Preserved in spectacular condition with the original finish to the unpolished case as well as all original parts and coming from one of the finest private collections of Heuer watches, one can only be in awe when holding this piece of Heuer and horological history. Heuer collectors should know that this may be the last opportunity to purchase a Chronomatic 1163MH in a long time.

Lot 140 — Autavia, Reference 1163MH, Serial 141241

From the catalog:

For even the most advanced experts on Heuer chronographs, this watch may be a surprising discovery. One of the earliest automatic Autavias by serial number, it is a missing link bridging the divide between the Chronomatic Autavias and the standard production “Mark 2” Autavias that followed. We could therefore perhaps call it a “Mark 1.5” Autavia. The present watch features large and distinctive red plots at the hour markers in addition to a white central second hand. To the best of our knowledge, only one other Autavia in this “missing link” Mark 1.5 format with large red plots has ever come to the market. Furthermore, it matches three early advertisements for the automatic Autavias showing the same watch.

Furthermore, the serial places it contemporaneous with many Chronomatic Sifferts identified to the market. Its early serial shows that there was a change in dials from the “Chronomatic” dials to those with “Automatic Chronograph” early on for the reference 1163MH. This perhaps explain why there are so few Chronomatic Autavia reference 1163MH (black dial) examples, such as the preceding lot, because of this early change in dials. Jack Heuer has explained that American customers were confused by the word “Chronomatic”, so that was changed to “Automatic Chronograph” so there could be no possible failure of understanding the selling point of the watch.

According to the consignor who is the original owner: “In the summer of 1969, my parents took three of my siblings and me on a three-week tour of Europe. While in Geneva, Switzerland, my parents took us to a fine jewelry shop where my father said to my brother and me that we may pick out any watch under the equivalent of $300.00. I was 14 at the time. While my brother picked out a steel Rolex, the salesman excitedly told me that Heuer had just come out with the first automatic chronograph and proceeded to sell me that watch. This was in the last week of June or first few days of July as we were at the American Embassy in Geneva for the Fourth of July. In 1972, the watch stopped working and my father took it into Levinson’s Jewelers in Chicago, Illinois where they replaced the Caliber 11 movement with the improved and upgraded Caliber 12. The new Caliber 12 movement and watch has not been serviced or cleaned since then. This watch was rarely worn and I kept it in a safety deposit box, which explains its exceptional condition.”

Lot 141 — Autavia, Reference 1163 “Orange Boy”, Serial 241589

Lot 142 — Autavia, Reference 11630 GMT, Serial 243953

Lot 143 — Autavia, Reference 11630, Serial 345091, Issued by Argentinian Air Force

Lot 144 — Autavia, Reference 741.603 GMT, Serial 297858

Lot 145 — Autavia, Reference 11063 GMT, Serial 396439

Lot 146 — Autavia, Reference 111.603

Lot 147 — Autavia, Reference 11630, Serial 259589

Lot 148 — Autavia, Reference 1563 “Exotic”, Serial 269312

From the catalog:

One of the most visually-arresting watches from the Heuer oeuvre is certainly the “Exotic Autavia” with caliber 15 movement from the mid-1970s. Only a small number are known and this is the first to ever be offered by Christie’s.

It seems clear that this watch was designed to be used for automotive racing. It retains the tachymeter bezel found on earlier automatic Autavias, has bright orange accents on the dial and orange central hands, and adds a black-and-white outer 1/5 second track for easier precision timing similar to those seconds tracks seen on the dials of rare racing OMEGA Speedmasters and the Speedmaster Mark II Exotic from that period of time.

Lot 149 — Autavia, Reference 11630P (Silver dial), Serial 376496

Lot 150 — Autavia, Reference 3646, Tachymeter scale on dial; Bezel numbered 13 to 24, Serial 96456

From the catalog:

Arguably the most elegant Heuer Autavia chronographs ever made are those with the tachymeter scale on the outer edge, as seen on this extremely rare version of the Autavia reference 3646. The dial features applied steel markers including simple and striking Arabic 12 and 6 numerals. Furthermore, the dial features triangular lume plots like those found on Heuer watches from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Only a small number of these dials are known.

Notably, the watch features as bezel that has 13-24 demarcated on it for easy telling of the international time in the afternoon. Only a very few of these bezels are known to the market.

Lot 151 — Autavia, Reference 2446C SN (Silver dial, with black registers), Serial 197035

From the catalog:

The present watch is one of only a small number of silver Autavia dials known to the Heuer collecting community. In fact, less than 10 of these Autavia SN dials are known, including one that remains preserved in the collection of TAG Heuer.

Hunted with extreme interest by collectors and considered by some to be the most beautiful Heuer dials ever made, the exact story of the origin of these silver Autavia dials is unknown and has generated significant interest from experts and collectors. In fact, the silver Autavia dial owned by TAG Heuer generated tremendous excitement when revealed to a group of devoted Heuer collectors in 2013.

It is understood that on most, if not all, of the Autavia SN models known to the market, the dials were added after the watches left Heuer headquarters. That is the case with this watch. The dial was placed inside a beautiful crisp, unpolished original example of a 2446C. The 2446C is a large “compressor” case reference and combined with the striking silver dial, it conveys remarkable beauty and aesthetic power. It is also powered by the legendary Valjoux 72 movement.

Lot 239 — Autavia, Reference 3636, special dial with Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo, Serial 88847

From the catalog:

Only a small number of Heuer chronographs are known to feature logos on the dial, and those fortunate to have the Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo are arguably the most desired by collectors. And of the Indy models, the Autavia with all-silver dial, is certainly the most prized. In fact, only two were known to the market prior to this one: one at the TAG Heuer Museum and one in the collection of an important American collector of Heuer chronographs. Additionally, a dial like that one found on the present was sold on eBay approximately two years ago and is in a private collection.

The present watch has a serial number close to the one owned by an important American collector. That watch was purchased from the original owner who received it as a gift from Tony Hulman, the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at that time. It seems possible that Tony ordered a few of these Autavias and Carreras with the Indy logo as gifts for business associates and friends.

These Indy Autavias have an interesting quirk in that the tip of the central minute hand does not reach the outer minute and track, but that was a quirk in the dial design and perhaps was not caught at the time of production. The “albino” all-silver dial is a striking and eye-catching design unusual compared to the contrasting dials found on the other 1960s Autavias. The effect is not dissimilar to the unusual feeling from seeing a steel Rolex Daytona reference 6263 with albino all-silver dial, of which only four are known.

Lot 240 — Pair of Stopwatches with Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo, in rubber case with “Champion” logo

From the catalog:

The present stopwatch set is among the most interesting and important to ever come to market. To the best of our knowledge, these are the only two Heuer stopwatches to feature the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo on the dial. One can only speculate, particularly given the sticker on the back allowing for the calculation of speed, that these may have been in fact used at the track back in the 1960s.


Heuer Logo (White on Black)

Gallery of Watches