The Calibre 12 Heuer Silverstone (Ref. 110.313 and available in Blue, Red and Fume) is one of the most famous and distinctive Heuer models from the 1970’s. Introduced in 1974, the watch was part of the Heuer range until 1977 when it was dropped. Heuer never played around with too many variations of the Silverstone- three dial colours in the same case and each with the same movement (The Calibre 12- although there have been examples of Calibre 11 watches turning up).
The 1983 Heuer Silverstone (Ref. 510.403) uses the Lemania 5100 movement and features a high-gloss case design that TAG Heuer later appropriated for the TAG Heuer Monza re-edition (the design of the TAG Heuer Monza being a combination of design cues from the Heuer Camaro and the Heuer Silverstone Lemania).
Is it any wonder that Heuer/ TAG Heuer spent so long in the wilderness in the 1980’s with decisions like that? Its sad to read through the catalogs of the early-1980’s and compare them to those of the 1970’s- evocative racing drivers, famous tracks and Grand Prix heritage, all replaced by an image that could be any other brand. Still, this needs to be seen in the context of the Quartz-crisis, which had decimated the entire Swiss watch-making industry.
There has been some intense debate over the last few days about the Heuer Silverstone Lemania, and in particular the authenticity of one example. As was the case with many Heuer models in the early 1980s, there are some inconsistencies between different examples of the watch, which has led to questions over what characteristics a 100% genuine Silverstone Lemania should have.
These are great watches, so if you find one for sale, do take your time to do some research.
The “Poor- Man’s” Variants
The term “Poor-Man’s” version is a somewhat derogatory way of referring to a model that looks the same as a more expensive brand, but has a house brand or a lower cost brand on the dial. Generally the Rich-Man and Poor-Man models are assembled in exactly the same factory from exactly the same parts, so the Poor-Man watches are a great value option if you’re not too worried about the logo on your dial.
As with many of the Heuer 1000 range, there were a number of Poor-Man’s versions of the Lemania Silverstone- although they came with a blue herringbone pattern-dial, rather than the plain black of the Heuer. Below are three such versions of the “Silverstone Lemania- from Lemania itself, Sinn (Model 7080) and a brand called Gabriel, which I don’t know a lot about.
The herringbone pattern on these watches is similar to that used on the Lemania-powered Heuer Cortina- like the Silverstone, a model name resurrected in the early 1980’s, but a model that bares no relation to its 1970’s predecessor.
As with many of the 1000 model range, its not clear why there were so many Poor-Man’s versions available. Did Heuer develop these watches and then seek to on-sell the designs to other watch houses- or was it the opposite? A range of watches developed by Lemania that the company then on-sold to clients, including Heuer.
The Heuer Silverstone Herringbone?
Last year on E-bay there was a Blue herringbone pattern Heuer Silverstone for sale, a watch which the crew over at onthedash.com quickly identified as being a re-dial due to the lack of serif script on the word “Silverstone”.
This week there has been a discussion on the Italian Heuer forum Vetroplastica about the suspicious number of NOS Silverstone’s that are appearing on the market (See discussion here )
There is no doubt that there are a number of parts-bin specials that someone in Italy is putting together- typically, the case is 100% correct as are the sub-dial hands, but the hour and minute hands are never the same as the original Heuer items. Some of these examples also have a Heuer shield on the crown (which the original never did) and other details missing that point to these being assembled from spare parts.
However, before dismissing these as fakes, this example below is intriguing. Once again, the hands are not correct, but the dial looks to be either original, or a very high-quality re-dial. Unlike the example on E-bay last year, the Silverstone script is perfect.
So perhaps there are a couple of genuine Herringbone Lemania Silverstone’s out there- but buyer beware: there are also a great number of watches that are being made in a backyard somewhere.
3) Sinn- http://www.pbase.com/junglejim/image/25741812
4) Lemania- Heuerboy.com
5) Gabriel- Abel Court