Vintage Heuer Watches- Under the Radar

Posted by: David Chalmers   |   18 September 2009   |   18 Comments  

Every year it seems that a different Vintage Heuer model enjoys its moment in the sun- collectors suddenly realise that there are some under-appreciated models out there (with under-appreciated prices to match), a few examples are bought and photos posted…and all of a sudden the Heuer collecting world has a new favourite.

Of course, there are always the “blue-chip” models- 1133B Monaco, Siffert Autavia, Carrera 12 that will continue to appreciate (although my view is that the Siffert and 1133B values will slow in their appreciation), but the real fun comes in finding models that are off the radar of most collectors and so can still be bought at reasonable prices.

I have tried to limit my list to models that are reasonably easy to find- some models have such a low “Samples Per Year” count (see here) that some collectors will pay whatever the asking price when one is available…because it will be a long time before the next one comes long.

Here are five models that are less well-known, but still highly collectible:

Heuer 510.500/ 501/502/503

These Lemania 5100 powered watches were released in the final days of Heuer and survived through to about 1986 as TAG Heuer models. Through their production run they were offered with a date window and later a day/ date window as pictured left.

It’s still possible to pick these up for just over USD1200, although there is a premium for the drab olive and PVD examples- mainly because so few good examples survive. Personally, I would steer clear of the PVD examples, as they look fantastic in NOS condition, but the coating wears off very easily. If you like to wear and not store your watches, then the stainless steel version is the one to go for.

These are the last of the “real” Heuer watches and combined with its good looks and a movement that collectors seek out, I think that these are set to appreciate over the next few years. Note that some of these watches will have TAG Heuer on the dial, but Heuer on the bracelet (or vice-versa)- this was normal for the time and is not the sign of a watch with non-original parts.

Heuer Montreal

The Heuer Montreal is one of my favourites of the 1970s models- a huge stainless steel case with the “starburst” finish. Its the Calibre 12 Montreal range that I think is the pick of the range…to me the later Valjoux models start to look too much like the 510.500 series, but not as attractive.

There are two types of Calibre 12 Montreals: with or without contrasting sub-dials. There are four models with contrasting sub-dials- white, black- and strangely two shades of blue..maybe Heuer couldn’t choose between the two blue options. The non-contrast models came in black (PVD case and Stainless Steel) and gold plate.

Beware that there seem to be quite a few blue Cal. 12 Montreals that lack the contrasting white sub-dials..I’m not convinced about their originality.

Also look out for the finish of the case- all except the PVD model should have the “starbust” finish pattern- you’ll see many polished examples out there, which are not worth buying as the sharp edges of the original case is one of the main features of the Montreal.

Prices of Montreals are still reasonable- around USD2000, although with a premium for the white dial, which seems to be the hardest to find. So, a classic 70s model and with F1 cache (the recent discovery that Stefan Bellof wore a Cal. 12 Montreal) and a colourful range of dials- one to look out for.

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