Heuer ‘Big Eye’ Chronograph 18ct Pink Gold 36mm 1941

£3,850

100% Genuine & All Original

All Functions Working Perfectly

Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed

Beautiful Large 36mm, 18ct Heuer Swiss Made Case

Superb, Original Unrestored ‘Big Eye’ Twin Register Salmon Dial

High-Grade Valjoux 22 Chronograph Movement in Tip-Top Condition

A Rare Watch in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Beautiful Condition

High Quality Brown Crocodile Strap with Gold Plated Buckle

High-Quality Hardwood Presentation Box Included

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Next Day Delivery

VGW Reference: H302
Sold 14th April '20
Price £3,850 Sold

£3,850

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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 and 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 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 rare, pink gold, salmon dial early 1940s twin-register ‘Big Eye’ chronograph which was an early forerunner to the Heuer Carrera and Autavia chronographs. The watch carries the Valjoux 22 movement which is very highly regarded for its accuracy and reliability.

The Dial

Even though this is a very early watch, it has an original, twin register salmon dial which has never been restored or retouched. Original unrestored dials of watches over 50 years old are subject to damage from a combination of sunlight, heat, condensation and pollutants which cause fading, staining and oxidisation in the form of spotting or pitting. Other accidental damage often occurs when servicing a watch in the form of scratches and other marks.

Here, the dial is in remarkably good condition considering it is almost 80 years old. Please note, our photographs are some of the most revealing available on any vintage watch site because we use very large photographs taken with a high definition camera with a high magnification macro lens. However, this can be very unkind to an unrestored vintage watch dial. This is because to the naked eye, almost all the flaws you see in the dial here cannot be seen unless one has 20:20 vision and holds the watch 6 inches from one eye with the other closed!

On the wrist, the dial actually looks in remarkably good condition with hardly spotting or pitting visible. The dial is therefore in exceptional condition for its age and so for reasons of originality, character and charm, we have left it completely alone and untouched rather than restore it. This is also because some collectors of type of watch prefer original unrestored dials. If however, upon purchase, your preference is to have the dial restored to its original condition, we will be happy to arrange this for you at our cost price.

The twin register chronograph dial here with pink Arabic (standard) numerals is complemented by the original restored blued steel ‘Index’ hands which are in excellent condition. A central, time-only chapter ring uses Arabic (standard) numerals in black. The next ring in black shows minutes and seconds, with seconds subdivided into fifths. Next, we have a red telemeter scale and an outer blue tachymeter register. All of this provides the dial with a highly technical look and the style and combination of colours is completely charming and very much of its time.

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. Each of the pushers works perfectly with a lovely smooth action.

The lens has been replaced with a new original replacement part.

The Case

Gold Heuer vintage chronographs are rare and pink gold examples, particularly so. This watch has been extremely well cared for and lightly used as evidenced by the excellent condition of the case and swept-back lugs.

Upon opening the case-back, all is as expected, signed with the Heuer brand and ‘Ed Heuer & Co.’ ‘Swiss’. The case also carries Geneva Swiss 18ct hallmarks.

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 also of full-thickness and has never been engraved. After careful inspection and professional cleaning, a light hand-polish was all that was required to bring it back to the condition you see here with 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 in producing a state of the art chronograph movement. A quick look inside the case-back of any chronograph is enough to confirm this. The movement you see here is the famous high-grade Valjoux 22 chronograph movement which was one of the world’s greatest mid-century wristwatch chronograph movements produced over 60 years from 1914 to 1974.

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 +9 seconds per day, which is truly outstanding for any watch of this age and the watch has a power reserve of 40 hours in its fully wound state.

The movement is correctly signed: ‘Heuer’ and carries the serial number 400827 which dates this watch to approximately 1941.

With care and with regular servicing, say every 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. we are therefore more than happy to offer this watch with our 12 months’ warranty* and to assist with servicing again in the future.

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

The Strap & Buckle

A new high-quality brown 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 c1941.

Our detailed ‘Particulars’ document will be included, with our detailed receipt and our 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 with a high-quality hardwood 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 immediately associated with sporting chronographs of the mid-20th Century. Large for the period and wonderful to find in 18ct pink gold, this watch contains one of the greatest chronograph movements of all time. Later Carerra and Autavia models have rocketed in price during the past 5 years, but we think these earlier chronographs have been overlooked and 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.