Heuer made literally dozens, if not hundreds of different stopwatches in the 1970s alone (we know, we have the catalog!), including this rather unique and colorful one here, a 1972 Heuer 503.512 Regatta Yacht mechanical timer, which features a five minute countdown to ensure your boat race (or happy hour) starts on time.
Heuer – since its first days – has demonstrated a clear passion for sports, and a regatta yacht timer for sailing races was a sure bet for Heuer. From the late 1950’s, Heuer built handheld and wrist stopwatches for special purposes - racing, running, regatta-sailing, skiing, golfing, and more. These – including the one for sale here – were the predecessors of the famous Heuer Skipper. First utilized on a cord in the skipper's pocket, then as a big yacht timer on the wrist. The Heuer regatta timer on offer here was used throughout the world by skippers, including the crew of the INTREPID, winner of the famous American Cup. Heuer started making yacht timers in the late 1950’s, and continues to this day under the TAG Heuer brand.
Yacht racing requires a countdown period before the start of a race to help the boats position as fairly as possible. Before the start of a sailboat race, there are two guns, the first gun signals the race will start in five or 10 minutes (depending on the type of race). At the gun, sailors start their countdown functions and as the countdown on the Heuer timer counts down to zero, they maneuver their sailboats as close to the start line as possible.
The Heuer’s countdown numbers are large; enabling the skipper to instantly view how much time has elapsed. When the chronograph is activated with the pusher at 2 o’clock, the minute timer begins and the minute and second sweep hands are set into action. The minute hand moves in a highly visible fashion into each of five parts. This will continue for five minutes until the hands have completed its revolution to zero, signaling the start of the race.
This Heuer regatte timer comes with a stainless-steel heavy mesh bracelet, a nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1972 Heuer Ref. 503.512 Manual Regatta Yacht Timer
DIAL: Original dial, with large highly-visible color-coded central five minute register. Original red hands.
CASE: A hefty 52.5mm (w/o crown) x 62mm unpolished stainless steel case, with little wear. Matching original caseback. Case has inscription on either side, on one side is a name, and on the other is the name of a yacht club - this timer was used as intended!
CRYSTAL: Original crystal, no scratches.
BAND: 22mm stainless-steel heavy mesh bracelet; this regatta timer also comes with a dark blue and red nylon NATO strap, which nicely compliments the blue and red accents of the regatta dial.
MOVEMENT: Original manual Swiss-manufactured 7-jewel ref. 503.512 Heuer stopwatch movement.
CROWN: Original unsigned stainless steel crown.
STOPWATCH PUSHER: Pusher depresses with satisfying click. Five minute timer hands – both second and minute – resets to regatta start position as designed.