Tissot PR516 Chronograph

Here’s another semi-random acquisition – I’d never even heard of this watch until I bought it, but as is the way of these things, if you start researching, sometimes you get hooked…

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It’s a 1970-era Tissot chronograph, using a Tissot-branded version of the same watch movement that was then in the Omega Speedmaster – the Lemania 873.

Tissot was a lower-cost sister brand of Omega – like Tudor is to Rolex, or Skoda is to Audi… and though on the face of it, the beating heart of the watch is the same, a 1970-era Omega caliber 861 would have been much better finished than the Tissot version, with fancier coloured components.

Tissot – Lemania 873:20180727_134645

vs Omega Caliber 861, from a 1974 Speedmaster:

It was a bit of a struggle getting to see inside this watch – the case back is a screw-down affair but without tabs on the back that would take a case opener – so needs pressure to open it, and I couldn’t get it off. I gave it to a watchmaker who also couldn’t get it open, so in the end I resorted to drastic measures:

  • run a bead of superglue around the end of a 17mm socket (as you might use to take a car wheel nut off)
  • press glued socket onto the middle of the case back
  • popped the watch & socket into the freezer for 10 minutes just to make sure it was a solid bond
  • Apply gentle force using socket wrench and … bingo. It’s unscrewing.
  • Once the back is off, snap off the socket by pressing it at 90 degrees, then apply nail varnish remover to the back of the case to remove all the superglue residue – it totally works and there are no marks on it!

As you may notice from the Tissot movement picture above, the case back gasket had disintegrated, effectively gluing the back on. Now that it’s free, I’ve had to carefully remove all the gunk and replaced with a new gasket. The watch will go for a service sometime soon…

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It came fitted with an unnamed bracelet which feels really quite good but it has straight end-links that don’t meet the case very neatly.

As it happens, I found another Tissot PR516, a 3-hand automatic – in more-or-less the same case but more like a dive watch than a chronograph, and it was bought because of the bracelet it had. Here it is, wearing the bracelet the chrono came with…

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… and here is the Tissot bracelet from the Automatic, fitted to the chrono… (and pictured at the very top of this post).

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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: