Heuer Carrera 1153N

The Chrono-matic story continues.

I saw this watch on a watch trading forum which has its software rooted in the 1990s and despite having supposed rules about what is and isn’t allowed, is not officially policed – so scammers and thieves abound.

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After a good deal of due diligence, I bought it because I’d intended to switch the bracelet from the dark-faced (“N”) to the silver (“S”) 1153 Carrera, as discussed previously. The bracelet is a “Gay Frères BoR”, aka Beads-of-Rice, and is valuable in its own right – in good condition and with the end-links, it’s worth north of £1000.

IMG_8537Gay Frères made bracelets for all sorts – Heuer, Zenith, Patek Philippe etc, before being acquired by Rolex in 1998, in a move to hoover up former suppliers so they could do everything in-house.

The bracelet dates to February 1969, so fits with the expected age of the watch and is supposedly original to it.

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But after I got the watch, I couldn’t separate it from the bracelet – and quickly decided that I preferred the dark dial. It supposedly started life as a charcoal/black colour (hence the “N” for “Noir” in the reference number):

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… but in some light, it is definitely a beautiful blue, and the white subdials and bezel have taken on a creamy colour. The hands look to have been re-lumed in the past, and don’t quite match (they’re a bit too green).

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As expected with an early watch, it’s got the first-execution Cal11 movement.

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The serial number is in the range 1477nn, so it’s only a couple of hundred later than the 1153N which sold for nearly £30K at the “Heuer Parade” auction in November 2017. That one is in spectacular condition and is probably unique, though…(Heuer put Chronomatic on the dial for a few months, before selling the name to Breitling – and they had a long association with Abercrombie and Fitch, so this is thought to be the only one with both marks on the dial…)

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Seiko World Time #3 – three’s a crowd

Following on from the previous World Time diaries, another joined the fold a few weeks prior to the silver-faced ‘64 with the original bracelet.

20190405_110912 (2)This one, an early model from April 1964, also came on the period bracelet – in fact I bought it thinking I might transplant the bracelet onto the first (1967) World Time I had, then flog this watch on. I’m not not sure I could bring myself to separate the watch & the bracelet it’s had for 55 years…

It’s a rare black/grey-dialled World Time; sources reckon only 20% of the watches produced were of this variant, and since they only made the 6217-7000 for 9 months in ‘64 and for 2-3 months in ‘67, they’re pretty unusual anyway.

This particular one is in “honest” rather than amazing condition, but it’s recently been serviced and smartened up by a top-notch watchmaker in Australia, where it came to me from.

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As you can see, the outer bezel that shows the names of major cities and other random places around the world (Midway? Rangoon?) has faded quite a bit in places. In artificial light, the hand that points to the time on the 24hr scale looks a bit yellowy and maybe even discoloured, but in daylight, it’s got a bronzey metallic sheen to it.

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When compared with the silver-faced World Time, with polished silvery hands and a black hour hand, it’s actually much easier to read the time on this grey one as in most light, the contrast between hour & minute hands and dial is easier to pick out, and the hour hand isn’t as distracting – sometimes with the Silver faced one, you need to stare at it for a few seconds to work out what the actual time is.

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Still, who wears a watch to tell the time anyway?

Seiko World Time #2 – the bracelets’ tale

Every since I got my first World Time, I’ve been hankering after getting a correct bracelet for it. For whatever reason, I tend to prefer watches with steel bracelets vs straps, and if the bracelet is the “correct” or even original one that came with the watch, so much the better. Sadly. a lot the Seikos from the mid/late 1960s have lost their bracelets over time.

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The “snake skin” / “mini coffin link” / “diamond back” bracelet I put on this one a couple of years ago suits it pretty well, as it’s got that late 60s/early 70s vibe going on. I’ve always been a bit annoyed about how the end links fit, though – a straight bar when the bracelet meets a curved case does jar a bit, even though that’s how most leather straps look…

I ended up buying a new Seiko bracelet (a B1375S) which fits the watch really well and looks the part reasonably, though it’s got a kind of satin finish which doesn’t quite match the shiny case.

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Fortunately, I managed to find a much better solution when raking through a box of junk at a watch fair; the vendor had a Seiko 7005-8062 watch case & bracelet with no movement or dial inside. That particular reference is often cannibalised for parts so it’s no great surprise to find someone was getting shot of the case and band.

How much? He wanted £30, I offered £15 and got a shake of the head. Later on, I went back and gave him £20 for it…

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The bracelet was a little beaten up (similar to this one) but a bit of surgery and a good clean has it turned up looking very nice.

But not as nice as what arrived in the post a few days later…

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Another World Time 6217-7000, this one from 1964, as generally found (since they were there to celebrate the Tokyo Olympics of that year – I wonder what Seiko will do for 2020?)

The original bracelet it comes on is very rare these days; in years of looking for one, I’ve never seen a bracelet on its own for sale, and I’ve only seen a handful of watches wearing that bracelet hit the market. They tend to go for comparatively big money, especially on the Japanese auction sites.

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Comparing the two case backs of the anomalous June ‘67 watch (the lower of the two in the photo above) and the September ‘64, one shows another notable difference – the earlier watches had a different stamped style case back rather than an engraved design as was on the ‘67.

There is a further differentiation in that the really early World Times (they were initially produced from March 64 to December 64) had an etched case back that is now rare to find in decent condition as it had a tendency to rub off more easily…

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Stamped case back from Sept 64 above, etched from April 64 below. More on the lower of these two watches to follow…

There’s more on the World Time history here.