Ultimate Guide to the TAG Heuer 2000
While the iconic TAG Heuer models of today are the Monaco and Carrera, things were very different ten years ago when the re-editions were merely a novelty, rather than mainstream models. The 1000 and 2000 Series were the models that came to symbolise TAG Heuer, but while the 1000 was the first TAG Heuer diving watch, it was a relatively simple range that changed little over the years. The 2000 Series was available in a dizzying array of models- in both automatic and quartz movements and in dive watches, chronographs and even a USD50,000 Chronometer version. While the 2000 is known by most watch collectors today, the series never got the credit that it deserved for the quality of the movements fitted in the first Heuer series- a Chronograph module that would later be used by Audemars Piguet in its Royal Oak Offshore and a quartz chronograph with the same design principle as today’s TAG Heuer Calibre S. The series started as the Heuer 2000 in the dark days of 1982 when Heuer’s banks seized control of the company and finally bowed out in 2005 as the TAG Heuer 2000. Along the way, there were many variants- some good, some not-so-good and a one in particular that is a modern classic.
Generation 1: Heuer 2000 Series
The success of the 1000 in the late 1970s and early 1980s posed something of a dilemma for Heuer- after all, the company prided itself as being a maker of precision chronographs, yet the 1000 was a quartz diving watch. The new model was an attempt to build on the popularity of the 1000 Diver, but to extend the range into quartz and automatic chronographs.
Designed by Eddie Schopfer, the design had a flatter, more elegant case than the 1000 Series, an upgraded bracelet (replacing the cheap-feeling “jubilee” bracelet of the 1000), a unique dial and a new bezel design that “borrowed” less from the Rolex Submariner template. The watch was a “softer” and more modern design that the 1000 series, but still used several key elements of the 1000 design, include the crown guard and the “Mercedes-Benz” style hand (on the non-chrono. versions). The watch was also the first TAG Heuer model to boast the “Six Features” that would prove the guiding philosophy of the brands design through to the late 1990s.
The Heuer 2000 diver watch was available in two versions. The first (top photo, below) featured a black aluminium bezel insert and a dial with small triangular hour markers, except for the baguette-style markers at 9 and 6 o’clock and an over sized triangle at 12 o’clock. The second version of the diver watch (bottom photo, above) had a stainless steel bezel with six “grip points”. This dial had baguette-style hour markers, except for the circle at 9 and 6 o’clock and a diamond-shape marker at 12 o’clock. It was this style that endured through to 2005 as the classic look of the series. While later models would offer the 2000 as an automatic, the Heuer 2000 watch was only available with a quartz movement.
Like the 2000 watch, the 2000 Chronograph was also available with either a coloured aluminium insert bezel, or the stainless steel bezel design seen on the models below. As you can also see from the photo below, the 2000 series was launched during the two-tone colour era, which is making something of a comeback today. As I write this, I am wearing a PVD Titanium Grand Carrera Calibre 17- with a Rose Gold bezel- looking very much like it took its design from the 266.006 you see below.
The movements used in the Heuer 2000 Series are actually quite remarkable. Many think of the 2000 as being an entry-level quartz watch, but actually the movement has far more to it than that. Both the quartz and automatic chronographs use the Dubois Depraz 2000 chronograph module. The Automatic movement (LWO 283) mates the DD2000 module to the ETA 2892 base, while the quartz movement (Calibre 185) uses a ESA 555.XXX (also known as the ETA 955.XXX) tractor.
The Dubois Depraz 2000 module was the result of a partnership between Lemania and Dubois Depraz that began in the late 1970s. Because Heuer contributed to the funding of the project, the LWO 283 was initially exclusive to Heuer, but when Lemania sold its shares in Heuer in 1984 to TAG, the use of the movement became more widespread. Lemania sold the movement as the Lemania 283 to several high-end clients such as Audemars Piguet in their Royal Oak Offshore, Girard Perregaux (7000 Chronograph) and Baume et Mercier.
The quartz chronograph was effectively a forerunner of the Calibre S movement, combing a quartz base with a mechanical chronograph module.
Other Early 2000 Models
There were no shortage of model variants of the early Heuer 2000 series. In addition to the models outlined above, there was also a fixed bezel model (below, top right) and yet another bezel variation (top left) with the words “Heuer 2000” printed on the bezel. These two models shared another variation of the Heuer 2000 dial- the hour lume markers being unique to these two models. Finally, there are two special PVD versions of the Quartz 2000 Chrono featured in the 1983 Heuer catalogue. While these models are supposedly part of the series, in reality they have little to do with the rest of the range. The square case is more reminiscent of the Lemania Heuer Carrera and Cortina models and the jubilee bracelet is something featured on no other 2000 watch. I suspect that these designs are a hang-over from the early 1980s Lemania era and somehow were thrown in with the 2000 range at the last minute- they’re cool looking watch, but they’re not a 2000 in my mind.