This is where it all started for The Chrono Duo. By coincidence, both founders bought 1960s Heuer Carreras as their first vintage purchases. So, yes, we have a soft spot for these iconic chronographs.
This particular example has been sat in a client’s sock drawer for too long, so he decided to sell it. The first thing on our agenda was to give it to a leading watchmaker for a full and careful service and general check-up. We also replaced the tatty old strap for a new replica of the well known “vintage” perforated leather racing strap with a close look and feel to the original straps and we put the original Heuer buckle on too. It’s clean and running beautifully.
So what stands out about this watch when there are still many examples of 1960s chronographs out there (many at much lower prices)? The steel Heuer Carrera 2447T ‘red tachymeter’ from the 1960s is a beautiful example of a now-iconic racing chronograph. Like many of Heuer’s chronographs, the origins of the Carrera can be traced back to 1960s motorsport. Inspired by one of history’s most dangerous events, the “Carrera Panamericana”, a legendary race of the 1950’s, on the open, rough roads of Mexico. Taking inspiration from this, Heuer chronograph wristwatches throughout the 1960s and 70s were often the tool of choice for professional race-car drivers, owing much to Jack Heuer’s appreciation for motorsport, and hands-on approach with its teams and drivers.
It has its original, uniform silver dial with matching patina on the tritium hour markers and hands. Original, unsigned crown and corresponding original pump-pushers are still there. The hour markers are applied, together with aged tritium index markings. This Carrera also features a clear, outer-track, with coordinating 1/5 second demarcations on the tension-ring. Jack Heuer insisted to his design teams that dials should be clear and legible and this functionality is so evident here.
The Carrera was produced with a range of different dials, and the “red tachymeter” three-register arrangement is relatively rare, in comparison to the more standard silver and black dials, without contrasting outer-scales. This particular case dates to circa 1966; making it an early example of a first execution 2447. For a 53-year-old, its has signs of a life well-lived with scratches in the obvious areas, but not excessively. There are any number of Carreras on the market in frankly shabby condition. This one is anything but with its well-preserved condition, with no major blemishes or signs of over-polishing. The thick case, the gentle ageing and patina of the lume and dial and the overall condition of the case with its long straight lugs, still with sharp bevels, make this a very good example. The watch has the manual-winding, Valjoux Calibre 72 (signed “Heuer-Leonidas”) beating at 18,000 A/h, with a power reserve of approximately 46 hours. These three-register Carreras were called the “Carrera 12” since they have a register that can count up to 12 hours. This triple register movement was the same as the Rolex Daytonas of that era…
Heuer chronographs are still one of the best looking chronographs out there (alongside its 1960s peers, the Speedmaster and the Daytona). Hodinkee put it very well when they wrote:
“It is difficult to overstate the role the Carrera played in Heuer’s history and the history of the modern chronograph in general. We don’t use the word “icon” easily, but the Carrera is nothing short of just that.”
This is a lovely example of that iconic watch which will give many years of pleasure on the wrist.