Heuer Pre-Carrera Valjoux 23 Chronograph 18ct C1955

£3,450

100% Genuine & All Original

All Functions Working Perfectly

Fully Restored, Serviced and Guaranteed

Beautiful Large 35.5mm, 18ct Heuer Swiss Made Case

Superb Champagne Dial, Restored to the Highest Standards

High-Grade Valjoux 23 Chronograph Movement in Tip-Top Condition

A Rare Watch in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Beautiful Condition

High Quality Tan Crocodile Strap with Gold Plated Buckle

Vintage Presentation Box Included

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Next Day Delivery

VGW Reference: H385
Sold 14th April '20
Price £3,450 Sold

£3,450

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Heuer

Heuer pioneered the first dashboard chronograph used in cars and aircraft in 1914 and introduced its first wrist chronograph later the same year. Adapted from traditional pocket chronographs, this featured the winding crown at 12 o’clock. In 1916, the company introduced the first watch accurate to one-hundredth of a second. Soon after, the “Semikrograph” was released. This stopwatch offered timing to a fiftieth of a second, along with a split-second function. These early breakthroughs established Heuer’s unparalleled reputation for precision timekeeping.

During the 1950s, Heuer produced watches for the American company Abercrombie and Fitch, with the two models; the “Seafarer” and the “Auto-Graph” produced specifically to be sold by the retailer. These watches were two of the most advanced of their time, suited to navigators, drivers and elite sportsmen as much as they were to style lovers of the time. The “Auto-Graph” watch was designed for use by rally drivers as it had a tachymeter scale within the dial which meant it could be used as a pace-keeper.  The Seafarer was well suited to navigators and – amongst other features – incorporated a mechanism showing high and low tides.

By the 1960s, Heuer had built a unique following among professional sportsmen, watch aficionados and lovers of state-of-the-art technology alike. 1962 was a memorable year for the company when a Tag Heuer model was taken by John Glenn into space for the first time on the Mercury-Atlas 6 spacecraft. During the 1960s, the company turned its attention to making an automatic chronograph to compete with other watch giants such as Zenith and Seiko. The manufacturer of this new design – conducted alongside Breitling and Hamilton – was a top-secret, as none of the watch companies wanted other competitors to know how much research and design had been achieved. During 1969, Tag Heuer released their new chronograph models at press conferences in New York and Geneva. The models released were Carrera, Autavia and The Monaco. These watches proved immensely popular, becoming some of Tag Heuer’s most famous ever models. Indeed, the Carrera and Monaco are still being produced to this day. Following the immense resurgence of interest in the brand’s earlier watches during the past 5 years, the Autavia was re-launched in 2017.

Here we have a large mid-1950s two register ‘big eye’ chronograph which was a forerunner to the Carrera and Autavia chronographs. The watch carries the Valjoux 23 movement which is very highly regarded for its accuracy and reliability.

The Dial

Simply delightful. The champagne, twin register chronograph dial with gilt stud hour indices is complemented by the original restored Leaf hands which are in excellent condition. The dial is very clean and simple for a chronograph with none of the more technical tachymeter or pulse scales seen on the later watches. However, the outer register is subdivided into fifths of a second, giving the dial a slightly more technical look. As with most chronographs, the left-hand dial is used to continuously read seconds, whether or not the centre seconds hand/chronograph function is operating. The right-hand register records elapsed minutes while the chronograph is running. This and the centre seconds hand are started as soon as the top pusher is pressed. These are then stopped by a further press of the top pusher, to record the elapsed time in seconds and minutes. Both hands are then reset to zero by a single press of the bottom pusher.

This is the original dial which has been restored to the highest standards by our dial restorers, considered to be the best in the UK. The lens has been replaced with a new original replacement part.

The Case

This watch has evidently been well cared for and lightly used as the beautiful 18ct solid yellow gold case with swept-back lugs is in excellent condition. At 35.5mm in diameter, excluding the correct, unsigned crown, this is a large-sized wristwatch for the 1950s. Upon opening the case-back, all is as expected: signed Heuer and with Swiss 18ct hallmarks with 18K and 0.750. The case-back also carries the case serial number 75308.

The case is of a three-piece construction with the bezel and case-back clicking into place with a solid and satisfactorily loud click.  The case-back is of full thickness and has never been engraved.

The case has been carefully inspected, professionally cleaned and lightly hand-polished, which has been all that has been required to bring it back to the condition you see here. There are no dings, scratches or marks visible to the naked eye.

As ever our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.

The Movement

Heuer, along with almost all other watch manufacturers, did not manufacture all of its own chronograph movements in house, but often used third party specialists such as Valjoux, Lemania, Universal and others. This is due to the enormous complexity and consequent R&D and investment required to produce a state of the art movement. A quick look inside a case-back of any chronograph is enough to confirm this. The movement you see here is the famous high-grade Valjoux 23 chronograph movement which was one of the world’s leading mid-century wristwatch chronograph movements.

This particular watch movement is in superb condition having been fully overhauled and serviced by our watchmaker. This involves the complete dismantling of the movement to each of its component parts, ultrasonic cleaning, microscope inspection and replacement of parts as required, only with new Heuer originals, then careful assembly and oiling ready for final testing and careful calibration.

Each of the chronograph functions operate perfectly and the centre seconds hand resets itself instantly and perfectly on pressing the bottom pusher.

The normal timekeeping function is also running perfectly, having been calibrated and timed at +7 seconds per day, which is truly outstanding for any watch of this age and the watch has a power reserve of 48 hours in its fully wound state.  The movement is particularly strong and running well within expected parameters. It is now ready for many more decades of faithful service and we are therefore more than happy to offer this watch with our 12 months’ warranty* and to assist with servicing again in the future.

The movement is correctly signed Heuer, with the serial number 408034.

With care and with regular servicing, say every 3 to 4 years, we would fully expect this watch to run quite happily for many decades to come. Our watchmaker commented that he found the movement to be especially clean and in excellent condition.

*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.

The Strap & Buckle

A new high-quality tan crocodile strap is fitted with a gold plated buckle. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin. We can also obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of 20mm straps if you wish.

The Box and Papers

Although there are no original papers with this watch, the numbers and markings on the watch are all correct. These and the style of the watch and dial indicate the date of the watch to be c1955. Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt and 12 months’ warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.

As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no quibble sale or return policy.

The watch is supplied in the vintage presentation box as shown in the photographs.

In Conclusion

This really is a magnificent vintage chronograph watch from Heuer which was, of course, the name associated with sporting chronographs of the mid-20th Century. Large for the period and wonderful to find in 18ct gold. Later Carerra and Autavia models have rocketed in price during the past 5 years and we think these have been overlooked and they represent amazingly good value for money right now.

A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.

We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by UK bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.

If you have any questions please call on our Landline 0207 727 7095 or Mobile 07515 949250 or if calling from overseas on Landline +44 207 727 7095 or Mobile +44 7515 949250.

Please note, we also welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss.

We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.

Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.

Thank you.