One of the reasons that I have spent time looking into the history of the Heuer and Lemania relationship recently (see here and here) was to find out more about the heritage of a watch that I’ve recently bought- a Heuer 510.500. The 510 series Heuers use the same case as the Heuer Pasadena, but with a Lemania 5100 movement in place of the Valjoux 7750. The watches were launched in 1982/ 3 off the back of the change in Heuer’s ownership. The new owners of Heuer included Nouvelle Lemania, which was seeking to ensure there were plenty of chronographs on the market using its 5100 movement.
This watch is a series two 510.500, distinguished from the first series by the Day/ Date feature (the first series 510.500 was date only) and often coming with the TAG Heuer logo on the bracelet, even though the dial is “Heuer”.
The 510.5XX watches were the only Lemania-powered Heuer to survive into the TAG Heuer era, with the TAG Heuer version having the reference number 510.500-12. This different model number signals more than just the addition of the TAG Heuer logo to the dial- it also signifies that most of these watches use the slower-beating 5012 Lemania movement and not the 5100.
This particular watch has recently been back to TAG Heuer in Switzerland for a service and some new parts. While the majority of the Lemania Heuer watches use an arrow-shaped 60 min red chrono hand, it seems as though these were often replaced with the flatter “T-shaped” hands when the watches came in for service.
This is the second 510.500 that I’ve owned- the first one was the TAG Heuer version that was only in average condition and so was sold in the hope that a better one would come along.
The 510.5XX watches were one of the predicted big price movers for 2010, but from watching recent sales it’s too early to tell if there has been any real appreciation. There have been a few of the “pewter” and PVD versions sold in the last 6 months, but only one-two of these stainless steel versions.
But no matter- irrespective of how the market values them, the 510.500 is a fantastic watch and one that’s more rugged and practical than some of the older Chronomatic Heuer watches that fill most vintage Heuer collections.