Up Close- Heuer Camaro 7220S
A while back, the Heuer Camaro was identified both as one my twelve “most wanted” as well as one of the models that I thought was under-appreciated by Heuer collectors (see “Crystal Ball- The big price movers for 2010”). Happily, I have been able to track one down.
This is the Camaro 7220S, powered by the manual Valjoux 72 movement (famous as being the movement in the Rolex Daytona) and without the tachy rings that many watches had. The Camaro came on both a corfam strap and the Gay Freres “Grains of Rice” bracelet. To my eyes, the 7220S is the simplest, least complicated and most classic of the Camaro range.
So why does the Camaro fall under the radar of many collectors? Perhaps partly because being launched in 1968 meant it was one of the last watches introduced before the “Calibre 11” era- one of the most exciting and diverse periods in the company’s history.
After the introduction of the Calibre 11 and its later sister movements, Heuer hugely expanded its model range- Monaco, Montreal, Verona, Monza, Calculator and many others, as well as introducing Calibre 11 versions of the Carrera and Autavia. The “Calibre 11” era watches have a range of bright and colourful dials and large, bold cases- think the Monaco. The Camaro 7220S is the antitheses of this era- a small-ish, simple case with a classic silver dial. While most collectors love the Calibre 11 era, the Camaro provides a nice contrast. The Camaro got swept up in all of these changes and was never fitted with the Calibre 11 movement, and was out of production by 1972.
One of the other implications of being from this era is that it falls outside the period covered by OnTheDash Master Reference guide, THE reference guide for checking whether the watch that you’re looking at buying is genuine or not. In fact, OTD’s Camaro section is missing a couple of the key Camaro models, such as the Camaro 7220NT variant with the two orange sub-dial hands and the orange tachy scale. If I was offered a Camaro that had two orange sub-dial hands and one white sub-dial hand, my first thought would be that something was a miss with the hands. Of course, OTD can’t catalogue every variant of every Heuer ever made, but the fact that the Camaro section is “lighter” than others, may be a reason that the model is less popular- because it is harder to be sure of the provenance of a given watch.
Whatever the reason, the Camaro 7220S remains a hidden gem and a wonderful contrast to the colour and dash of the Calibre 11 era.