Heuer “Calibre 11” Carrera 1153S

As mentioned in the Watch out for Franken Watches post, the first Heuers I appreciated were smaller cased, manual-wind Carreras. At the time, I thought the larger automatics from 1969 through to the late 1970s were a bit gauche, but over the course of a few years, tastes can change and I started looking out for them instead of the early ones.

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The first generation of automatic Carreras used the same “Calibre 11” movement that featured in the Monaco and Autavia watches from Heuer, themselves a major part of the “Chrono-matic” group that was in the race to build the first automatic chronograph. The case style was different from the earlier models in that the mid 1960s style was basically a round case with lugs protruding, but the late 60s/early 70s featured a “cushion” or “C-case” design where the curves of the case extend to the end of the lugs.

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This Carrera is a 1153S, and is quite early in the life of the model so probably originated from 1970. It has 12 / 3 / 6 / 9 on the subdial at 9 o’clock (later ones had 12 / 1 / 2 / 3 etc so that subdial looked a lot busier). The tachymeter scale is also from the first generation (known in Heuer circles as “1st execution”) as the word TACHY appears at 3 o’clock, and the scale starts at 200. Later models had TACHY at 1 o’clock and scale starting at 500, like most chronographs do.

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The hands on this 1153S are actually 2nd execution; it means that at some point either the original hands were replaced, or quite probably, the watch is a mixture – a 2nd execution watch with a 1st execution dial. There are numerous variants like this – Heuer just used whatever parts it had to hand, it seems.

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In common with all of the Chrono-matic watches, the crown is on the left side, and in this case features a Heuer “shield” logo and the two pushers on the right are round but with fluted cut-outs. The case finish was vertically brushed – this particular watch has lost some of the brushing through wear, but I don’t think it’s ever been polished.

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The Calibre 11 movement came in several revisions; this one is a first generation Cal 11, further underlining that it’s likely a 1970 watch, as the Cal 11i would have been used from late 1970.

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I bought this (from eBay; the usual story, badly-described, poor photos but intact) and had it serviced to keep it running well. It went onto a replica “Corfam” rally strap that suited it well, but I had a hankering to find a suitable bracelet… to be continued…

Heuer Carrera Re-edition #2

An addition to an earlier post is this smart-looking white-dialled version of the “Carrera” reissue, which TAG Heuer brought out in 1996, reference CS3110 .

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Here it is, next to its black-faced brother, the CS3111.

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I put both of them on perforated racing straps with a Heuer deployant clasp, which I think makes the watch feel (and look) so much better.

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The clasp is numbered FC5012 and retails for a hefty £250 or so (though they can be had for less if you shop around) and the strap (FC6167) is a good £150 though equivalent-sized straps are available elsewhere; one of these is the original TAG Heuer strap, and the other was an equivalent that was a fraction of the price and maybe even better quality.

Heuer Carrera Re-edition

Like lots of other brands, watch companies periodically raid their past for future inspiration, releasing new editions of classic watches or simply lifting design ideas from their back catalogue. Omega did it with their 60th Anniversary models, looking to recapture the design of the 1957 original Seamaster, Railmaster & Speedmaster lines. Buying an original-condition CK2915 Speedmaster would set you back a lot of money, so maybe the brands are looking for ways to put vintage style on the wrist of new buyers at a fraction of the price, but still at a healthy profit to the manufacturer (instead of an auction house).

Anyway, in the 1985, Heuer was acquired by TAG to form the now well-known TAG Heuer brand, and in the late 1990s decided to issue some new watches under the Heuer name again – dubbing them as “Heuer Classics”, starting with the “1964 Carrera Re-edition”.

Heuer Carrera CS3111 Re-edition

The re-edition was surprisingly faithful to the original 1964 Carrera, except that it didn’t have the name on the dial. Apart from that, it’s the same size (36mm, small by today’s standards), and has the same profile. See the original here.

Heuer Carrera WS2113 and CS3111 re-editions

There were other re-editions, in different colours too – above is the CS3111 side by side with a later, “Carrera GMT” (a watch that never existed back in the day but was part of the reissue set).

The movement in the original Heuer Carrera 2447 was a Valjoux 72, essentially the same movement fitted to the early Rolex Daytona, pristine examples of which can cost you more than $1m. For the re-edition, TAG Heuer took the off-the-shelf Lemania 1873 movement, as also used by Omega in the Speedmaster (post 1968, in what Omega cals cal.861). From Chronomaddox, here’s a picture of the movement inside the TAG Heuer CS3111: