Ultimate Guide to the Heuer Chronosplit

It must have been an interesting day in 1975 when the new Heuer catalogue arrived at the retailer. Take a look at the 1974 catalogue- all the classics are there with a range of Calibre 12/ 14 and 15 movements: Monaco, Autavia, Carrera, Calculator, Silverstone and Montreal. Most of us would be happy to just collect the watches that appear in this single catalogue, as each of these models is coveted by collectors today.

Imagine the shock in 1975 when Heuer introduced the Chronosplit range- a combination LCD/ LED solid-state quartz watch that looked like nothing else the company had produced before. As the name implies, the watch had two displays, each powered by its own movement.

The Chronosplit is a pretty powerful reflection on the manner in which quartz movements were initially positioned by the Swiss houses- not as a cheap alternative to a mechanical movement, but as heralding a revolution in watch design. Heuer could have packaged the quartz movement in the Autavia case to show the world that quartz watches could look exactly like their mechanical cousins, but with the advantage of less servicing and greater accuracy. Instead, they chose the bold route- to showcase the new technology in a space-age design watch that looked like nothing else.

According to an interview with Watchtime in 2007, Jack Heuer had been inspired to enter the electronic watch market by a trip to Silicon Valley in 1972, where among others he met with Bob Noyce of Intel.

By 1977 the Chronosplit had lost the LED display, replaced instead by a LCD screen- apparently to improve the reliability of the watch, although significant problems continued. The ChronosplitĀ  range extended to include the Manhattan (also dual display- digital and analogue- with the movement being supplied by Citizen) and single screen LCD watches, such as the Kentucky- although Heuer did make a limited number of the Chronosplit Kentucky.

These watches have a fantastic F1 heritage, not just due to the incredibly rare Ferrari branded version pictured above (significantly cooler than the Tiffany branded version!), but also with the support of Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni.

Despite this heritage, the fact is that most Heuer collectors would never think of investing in a Chronosplit. Why? Not just because it’s a quartz- because these are unique enough to rise above that “problem”- but mainly because of the dire reliability of these watches.

  • Fabrizio

    Great post David, and I can understand why some get attracted by such watch, there are glamorous pics of Lauda, my childhood hero, wearing it!

    Still I don't think I could ever be fascintated by a quartz (or anyway electronic) watch again, I've definitely turned round to mechanical chronos and that's the way it's going to stay.

    So, for the lucky ones who already have coffers full of Cal.11,12 and 15 I'd say: well done, now move to Lemania 5100, Val. 72 and 7750!



  • admin

    Fabrizio- here are a couple more photos from Archer to help tempt you into the world of the solid-state movements! (although like you, I aso have a strong preference for the mechanical movements)

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2497/4006992203_a5cc8515d8.jpg&quot; alt="LED/ LCD Chronosplit" />

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2453/4006992201_a65b98afdd_o.jpg&quot; alt="Restored Chronosplit" />

  • jan

    Hi David!

    Just bought a chronosplit LCD/LCD. I will let you know how it is working in daily life.

    Greetings Jan

    [IMG ]http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y96/mimse/chronosplit002.jpg[/IMG]

    • admin

      Jan- good to hear from you. Watch looks great and in perfect working order. Did you get it check out before you bought it? The more I see of these, the more I want one! Please do let me know how you find the watch handles daily use- am sure that it will be fine.

      Hope all is well


  • Berno

    Hi Folks!

    Must see this: http://www.led-forever.com
    This is the largest Chronosplit collection I've ever seen. Go to the led-watch archives and enter Heuer section… It's amazing – you won't believe your eyes!

    Greetings Berno from Spain

  • Admin

    Hi Berno,

    Yes that site is amazing- first rate photos and a great collection of watches. This seller also offers quite a few of his pieces on eBay. If I was looking for a LED/ LCD Heuer, I'd feel very safe buying from LED-forever


  • Berno

    Hi David,
    did you notice the repair recommendations at the led-forever website?
    They strictly say that the modules can't be repaired by normal people without special electronics skills. Also they say they can repair some of the modules as they have a stock of spares which aren't available elsewhere today. The problem seems to be that many Chronosplits don't work any more because people disassembled the module like shown in the above pictures. Some faults can be repaired but once the module has been disassembled it seems to be damaged irrevocably. Electrostatic discharge is the keyword. I had a Chronosplit LED repaired at http://www.led-forever.com
    and they even managed to replace those connectors which Archer says are unavailable. They seem to have them! My CS runs great like at the 1st day. However I paid about 700 Euros but they did a professional job.

  • Admin

    Berno- good to hear that you've had a good repair experience with led-forever and thanks for letting me know…very tempting watch is you can get it repaired!

  • ariel

    Can you tell me who did that nice restoration on the chronosplit?

    I have a Manhattan GMT in fully working condition that I would like to get detailed.

    Thanks. A

  • DC

    Hi Ariel. Two options for you:

    1) This restoration was done by Archer MacLean- contact him through his details at this post

    2) Another great option is Uli at LED-forever https://www.calibre11.com/chronosplit-website/


  • I have a Heuer Watch that was given to my Father-in-law by the Swiss Military while He was serving as a Nato Air force advisor, It needs a battery, I live in the Baton Rouge Louisiana area how can I find someone who knows how to replace these? Thanks Ron

  • Assuming you do find one in reasonable order, what sort of prices are these going for now?


    Great article and funny (and perhaps sad) enough is that this watch is my all-time favorite Heuer! I know its not a reliable watch by any means but I would LOVE to own one of these. They just strike me as retro meets adventurous meets historic.

  • DC

    Paul, they start around USD1500 for one in working condition. I reckon there is a premium for LCD/ LED versus LCD/ LCD. The Ferrari version is very rare. There is one on eBay at the moment for almost USd10k…way too optimistic in my view.

    Thanks Bamonroe. Agree with you that they're cool. If I got one it would be LCD/ LED for sure.


  • ape


    Please bare in mind only 12 Ferrari LCD/LED were made whilst about 100-200 single horse Ferari for the LCD/LCD version.

  • DC

    Hi Alex,

    Yes, good point. There is a Ferrari branded LCD/ LCD version on eBay at the moment…big asking price.


  • mrdanhewson

    Love these watches and hard to find in good working order – amazing to see how much Heuers have risen in price since this article came out. Found a really nice version at Ashton-Blakey here. https://www.ashton-blakey-antiques.com/products/heuer-chronosplit-led-0507-new, I’ve seen a few a bit cheaper on eBay but they were in rough or semi working condition, and have been burned a few times on eBay vs. a regular dealer. I cant seem to decide on one of these vs. a Carrera. Im usually not a huge fan of Quartz, but I love the unique look of the LED!

    • Agreed- they’re something quite unique!