Despite being a late entrant to the diver watch market, Heuer/ TAG Heuer have released some cracking dive watches over the last 30 years. These have tended to fall into two categories- watches that have the style of a dive watch (such as the 1000, 2000 and Aquaracer series) and the more heavy-duty dive watches that are designed for professional use, such as the 1000m diver, the Aquagraph and this watch- the Super Professional.
The Super Professional was one of the last watches designed and made by Heuer before the 1984/5 sale to TAG, which explains why you will see some watches with the Heuer logo, but most with the TAG Heuer logo. The early Heuer- branded watches will often have some TAG Heuer branded parts, most commonly the clasp on the bracelet.
When people talk about collectible TAG Heuer watches from the 1980s and 90s, this is one of the first that comes to mind- in fact, each of the three great diver series- 1000m; Super Professional and Aquagraph- are wonderful watches, especially for the money- with luck, you could get great versions of all three for less than a total of $5000.
The Heuer Super Professional
The Super Professional first appeared in the 1984 Heuer Catalog as a replacement for the 1000m diver, even though that watch continued in the Catalog for a few more years. The Super Professional was available in two models- the stainless steel bead-blasted case and a questionable gold-bezel version- quite why you’d want a gold bezel on a professional-grade diver watch is something of a mystery. Both versions featured the same automatic ETA 2892 movement and are rated to depths of 1000 meters.
The watch was also available with a dive kit, which included two spare straps, a strap-changing tool and a decompression table. These dive kits came either in the blue pouch you see above, or in the more common black pouch. Having this Dive kit significantly improves the value of the watch, especially if not used. Not all watches were sold with the Dive kit, such as the magnificent example below belonging to Neil Zammit.
One of the interesting features of the Super Professional is that the watch featured a solid, one-piece case without a removable case-back, to ensure that the watch operated reliably at depths. To access the movement, first the bezel has to be removed and then the inner ring, crystal and dial to get at the movement
The watch featured above is the TAG Heuer version of the first generation Super Professional- the rounded case easily noticeable without the bezel. Also note here what looks to be orange lume on the bezel. This is something that is very common with older Super Professionals, because as the lume ages it tended to turn an orange colour. You can also see this in the Heuer Super Professional photos above, especially on the hands.
TAG Heuer Super Professional
The Super Professional stayed in the TAG Heuer catalog until the early 2000s, during which time TAG changed the case design, making it slightly larger (43mm) and more square, as well as changing the reference number to fit within the standard TAG Heuer numbering system (WS2110). The second version of the Super Professional seen above is from the 1992 TAG Heuer Catalogue.
The PVD Super Professional
The rarest of the Super Professional watches is the PVD Super Professional- essentially a “Full Black” version of the watch.
There are actually two versions of the PVD Super Pro- the production version above (Ref. 843.006) and the earlier prototype version created in 1989 as a limited run of 500 in partnership with the American company Security Defense Systems. While the first prototypes carry the reference number 840.006, documentation shows that TAG Heuer intended for the production model to have the reference code 850.006.
TAG Heuer abandoned the collaboration with SDS, apparently due to disagreements about the sales and distribution of the watch. Michael, from the on-line watch store Modern Vintage Classics, sold a couple of these PVD Super Professionals a few years ago and even came across a 14-page internal SDS paper than sets out the development, testing and specifications of the watch- the first page of which is below.
It appears as though TAG Heuer liked the idea for the watch, bringing out the 843.006 production version a couple of years later. Either version is rare today, especially the original prototype series. While quite a few of the examples show the normal PVD issues, the watch does benefit from a more advanced PVD-compound that the one used on the early Heuer PVD watches of the 1970s.
Super Professional Legacy
The Super Professional was only phased out when TAG Heuer released the Aquagraph, again a proper Divers watch rather than one just to wear in the swimming pool. As you may recall from the earlier post on some of the under-rated Heuer and TAG Heuer watches, The Super Professional is a sleeper in my book- It has the heritage (being a genuine Heuer watch), the looks and authenticity (a proper tool watch) that would normally make a watch a classic, but is perhaps too common to be properly appreciated, having been in production for 15 years. The watch is also rugged enough to be worn daily and without worrying too much about knocking it on the desk/ pool/ submarine.
Of course, the solution this ubiquity is to pick the rare versions- either to find an original Heuer model, or if you’re lucky, to track down one of the PVD Super Professionals- either would be the perfect addition to a Heuer collection.