The Heuer brand dates its history back to the 1860’s and throughout the majority of its history, the brand has had a strong affiliation with various sporting forms. Whether branded with the Heuer name or produced for a private label you can find their watches associated with sailing, aviation, diving, and auto racing. THe most important of these to the history of the brand was undoubtedly auto racing though. The connection between Heuer and auto racing began early in the company’s history with the advent of their line of dashboard mounted race timers. If you have been to a car show you will have undoubtedly seen one or multiple Heuer clocks mounted to the dashboard of vintage race and rally cars. With such a strong connection already formed in the automotive racing world, it was an easy jump for the brand to continue to push the automotive connection with their wrist worn chronographs. The best examples of this connection are the Carrera, named after the Mexian road race, the Carrera Panamericana, and, the Monaco. The Monaco is best known for being the watch Steve McQueen wore for his famous role in the movie Le Mans and that exact watch just sold this weekend at auction for over $2.2 million dollars.
By the mid 1970s Heuer was struggling as a business due to the quartz crisis and was looking for new watches to spark sales. In 1979, having been approached by a diving equipment company at a trade show, Jack Heuer had the idea to make a proper diving watch. The company had made diving watches in the past but they were really just Autavia chronographs with a diving bezel. This new watch was to be a true diving tool watch like nothing they had produced before. These ‘Jumbo” divers as they would come to be known were made in two distinct runs. The first was the reference 844 for which the production was outsourced to Monnin and features an automatic movement. After the initial success of the watch, Heuer decided to bring production in house and renamed the watch to the reference 980.006 and was fitted with an ETA quartz movement. The later version is what is featured here. These watches stand out among all vintage Heuer watches and hold a special place in the brands history as being pivotal to the brands ability to survive the quartz crisis up until their eventual purchase by TAG.
The 42mm stainless steel case is in excellent condition. It shows signs of wear commensurate with its age but the case edges are still very crisp. The watch wears the correct unsigned crown and caseback. The bezel insert, having ghosted to a greyish blue is thought to be original and adds to the character of the watch significantly. The crystal does have several scratches which should be noted.
The Dial and Hands
Condition of the dial and hands is excellent with no major flaws to note. The hands are correct for the reference. Different luminous material was used on the dial and hands which accounts for the difference in patina between the lume plots and the lume on the hands.
This watch is powered by a Heuer ETA 536.121 quartz movement. The watch is running and the service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Model||'Jumbo' Professional Diver|
|Movement||Quartz, Heuer ETA 536.121|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|