When it comes to classic 1970s design, few watches are better examples of that periods’ look than the Heuer Silverstone. Launched in 1974, the Silverstone was available with a choice of three dial colours- Red, “Fume” and Blue.
The Silverstone was launched as the replacement for the Heuer Monaco, which today may be an icon of the TAG Heuer range, but by the mid-1970s, had proved to be a clear commercial failure. Heuer didn’t want to lose the trademark square case of the Monaco, and so softened the design, looked up the name of another famous Formula 1 racing track (Ah, Northampton….the Monaco of the North) and the Silverstone was born.
Unlike most Heuer models of the 1970s, the Silverstone line-up was very straight forward- three models with identical cases, hands and Calibre 12 movements- all that differed was the colour of the dial. Compare this to the Autavia line that had military and GMT variants, at least three different case designs and a mixture of automatic (Calibre 11, 12, 14 and 15) and manual-wind movements.
But what I love about the Silverstone dials is that Heuer didn’t just make them different colours- but instead gave each watch a different dial-finish to make them even more distinctive. Perhaps that’s a good excuse to own all three….or is it four?
The forgotten Silverstone
And then there is the other Silverstone- the one launched by Heuer in the early 1980s when a series of Lemania 5100-powered watches were released. The watch doesn’t really share any of the design elements of the original Calibre 12 Silverstone, but I think it’s unique enough to wear the Silverstone name.
Of the three colours, it is the Blue that is the hardest to find in good, original condition. It also seems to be the colour in the most demand, so you can expect to pay a premium if that is the colour you want. Each of the dials have their own distinct character…and while I love the Calibre 12 trio, the Lemania Silverstone is perhaps the most underrated.
In terms of today’s TAG Heuer Silverstone, your options are limited to blue and brown, although it will be interesting to see how far bidding goes on the special one-off “Jack Heuer” Red Silverstone to be auctioned in two weeks in London- a fitting way to end the celebrations for TAG Heuer’s 150th anniversary.
TAG Heuer Silverstone Re-edition
TAG Heuer relaunched the Silverstone in 2010 to help mark the 150th anniversary of Heuer/ TAG Heuer. The re-edition (above right) is almost identical to the original- you can see the comparison here.