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Heuer for American Express

A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to look around the TAG Heuer museum in La Chaux de Fonds and caught sight of this unusual gold Heuer from the early 1980s. The watch is a special edition that Heuer made for American Express card holders in 1980, featuring the then-new ETA Flatline II quartz movement.

While this is not exactly one of Heuer’s most beautiful creations, I was keen to find out more about this intriguing model. Heuer has always been about sports watches and Chronographs rather than dress watches, but by the time 1980s came around, Swiss watch companies were happy to sell any watch so long as it generated some income- those were tough times.

Not only is there one of the watches in the museum, but it also has the original sales brochure to tell the story of the watch, which was never sold to the public.

American Express Catalogue

Below is a copy of the catalogue sent to US American Express cardholders in 1980. As well as highlighting the ultra-thin 68mm gold-plated case and the advanced ETA movement, the catalogue also states the price of USD 295- about the price of a 1000 diver from around the same era.


While the museum didn’t know any more details about the origins of the watch, it would seem to be a close relative of the Longines Feuille d’Or (Goldleaf) that was introduced in 1979 (thanks to Jim from Watchuseek for pointing out the connection). While the designs are similar (and the dial identical except for the date window), the first Longines Feuille d’Or was an amazing 1.98mm thick

The Longines watch was developed in conjunction with Eterna (ETA) and Concord, who produced their own version in 1980 called the Delerium, which like the second generation Longines was only 0.98mm thick- half of the original. These watches are so thin that there is no crown- the time is changed via a dial on the back.

Given that the Heuer quartz is considerably larger than these ultra, ultra-thin 1mm watches, my guess is that Longines was involved in making the watch, but to reduce costs used a more conventional and thicker gold-plated case (the Longines and Concord were 18ct Gold). We know that Heuer made some watches for Longines during this time (such as the Longines version of the Pasadena below), so it’s not unreasonable to think that a design went back the other way.

It’s amazing to think that we are still discovering new vintage Heuers and in fact its one of the great aspects of collecting vintage watches- every so often something totally new comes out of the woodwork.

So while this is not one of my favourite designs from the era, it is one of the rarest and a watch that goes to show that its best to always keep an open mind when it comes to the authenticity of Heuer watches from the 1970s-80s.



1) Ricardo.ch

2) gjlelec

3) Jarl/ Classic Heuers

  • wynonie

    fascinating stuff…although I hope we don't see a re-edition at Basel 2012! Love the Longines Pasadena – never seen that before.

  • Wow – and I thought Piaget was the thin case/movement company but I guess not!

  • Yande2536

    You say that it not one of the nicer watches from Heuer in that era. I beg to differ. I'd love to have one gracing my wrist as I type this! But then perhaps your are right. Thanks for a great and illuminating article David

  • Justin Chang

    Interesting reading DC. Wish they'd do one for AMEX cardholders now; I'd put my hand up for one.

    Reminds me of the thin-o-matic phase watches; especially the Hamilton's.

  • Enrico

    Very interesting, DC ! Thanks

  • DC

    Hah, yes, I think it will be a while before we get a re-edition of the AMEX special!

    Hi Jerome- 0.98mm is amazing…basically like not wearing a watch at all.

    You're probably right Mark- to me, Heuer is all about Chronographs….feels odd to me to see Heuer on a gold dress watch.

    Hi Justin- have just sent you an e-mail

    Thanks Enrico


  • carl


    I have one of these watches and wear it every day.

    Still keeps perfect time and looks great.

    I've never had the Heuer box to go with it,any idea's where i could get one.


  • DC

    Hi Carl,

    Where did you get yours? Have you had it from new? I don't know which box it would have come it- probably a blue box.

    These are hard to find (but not impossible)- probably $500-750 for a box.


  • pamela pierce

    Hello, I have a watch just like this one with a replacement band from my husband's collection. I need to sell it. My jeweler said to list it for $2250.00 because of the rarity. I ran it on eBay and received one low ball offer which I did not accept. Am I way off base on the price? I did not mean to spam this blog… I just need some help. Thanks in advance for any advice.

    • Hi Pamela. Very hard to know the value of these..I think that yours is the first that I have seen on sale in a decade…but just because it’s rare, doesn’t mean that its more valuable than other more-common Heuers. I don’t know how “low” the low-ball was, but I would run it again and see what happens. Keep your BIN price around the $2k mark and see what offers you get.

      It’s a very interesting piece for a collector, but there is a narrow range of people who would seek these out.

      Good luck