Ultimate Guide to the TAG Heuer 1000m/ Spirotechnique

Posted by: David Chalmers   |   22 July 2009   |   50 Comments  

If you think about the 1960s and 70s as being Heuer’s motorsport era, then the 1980s and 90s were without doubt the era of the Heuer (and TAG Heuer) Diving watch. Models like the 1000 and 2000 (today’s Aquaracer) series drew their design inspiration from the dive watch template established by Rolex.

While much of the range during this period had some link to diving watches, the watches that stand out the most for me are the hard-core, “Professional Diver” watches- real tool watches for when you need to dive deeper than the swimming pool. Heuer and TAG Heuer have released three watches that fit into this category- the Super Professional from the 80s and 90s, the Aquagraph from the 2000s and this watch from the 1980s- the Heuer and TAG Heuer 1000m diver.

Despite being one of the brand’s pioneering dive watches, the series doesn’t really have a model name, but for the sake of this article, let’s call them the TAG Heuer Deep Dive series.

The Deep Dive was part of the Heuer and TAG Heuer range for around 10 years (1982-1992), and along with the Super Professional is the most collectible TH watch from this era. While the majority of the Deep Dive watches are quartz-powered, there are two Automatic versions that sit at the top of the range in terms of rarity, the most special of which is the TAG Heuer Spirotechnique.

But the Deep Dive did not die out when it was discontinued by TAG Heuer around 1992/3- it had a second life as the Auricoste Spirotechnique, which was available directly from Auricoste until around 2008. Little is known about the connection between TAG Heuer, Spirotechnique and Auricoste, but having spoken with Auricoste, we can now shed some light on how these three companies came together.

And just when you thought that the Deep Dive had finally been retired comes the news that there is a Spirotechnique re-edition on the way- the first TAG Heuer re-edition not made by TAG Heuer…

The Early Days- Heuer 1000m

The Heuer 1000m Diver (Ref. 980.023N/L) was launched in 1982- the same year as the 2000-Series. While the watch shared its dial and hands with the regular 1000 Series family, the 1000m Diver is distinguished by a thicker, heavy-duty 41.5mm stainless steel case and a recessed crown that sits at 4 o’clock.

While the regular 1000 series was rated to depths of 200m, the Professional diver was rated to 1000m.

It’s common to talk about the Heuer 1000m as being an “over-sized” diving watch, which is true if you compare it to a 1000 Series from the same era. However when placed alongside the current Aquaracer 500m Chronograph, you can see how much watch sizes have changed over time.

The design of the Heuer 1000m was similar to the template established by Squale in the 1970s, as seen on this Squale Spirotechnique watch (don’t worry- we’ll get to Spirotechnique later)- you can see from the position of the crown and bezel design where Heuer’s designers got their inspiration.

While the Squale cases were made by Von Buren and featured a domed crystal, the Heuer case was made by M.R.P SA (who made many of Heuer’s and TAG Heuer’s cases during this period) and featured a flat mineral crystal.

M.R.P SA also made cases for other brands, such as Dodane and Sinn. Both of these brands shared an identical dive watch with a very similar case and bezel design to the Heuer, but with a different dial. Both of these watches used Automatic movements and a slimmer case than the original Heuer, meaning they were only rated to a depth of 200m.

While these cases are not interchangeable with the TAG Heuer versions, they are very close in terms of design.

While some of the Heuer 980.023 casebacks have an engraved Heuer logo, the early watches had no logo at all, and are simply marked with the Reference number and depth rating.

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