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Heuer has a deep history rooted in motorsports racing, despite facing difficulty selling wristwatch chronographs – like this full-serviced and Valjoux 7765-powered 1978 Heuer Ref. 1611 chronograph here – during the 1970’s era. In fact, Heuer’s stopwatches, the leader in track timing at the time, vastly outsold its wristwatches used for motorsports timing at the time.

From this difficult time came a unique partnership – Heuer was struggling to sell watches, Viceroy its cigarettes.  Heuer and Viceroy approached the famous Parnelli Jones racing team with a proposal to promote both the sportsman’s cigarette and Autavia chronograph, respectively (you can find one of these original vintage ads in the shop now).  And the rest was history – Heuer had solidified its placement in racing in the minds of the general public.


Separate this unique partnership - and also separate from the famous struggle to invent and produce the world’s first automatic chronograph (sorry Swiss fans, Seiko won - for more on the fascinating history, check out this write-up on Hodinkee - the Hamilton Fountainbleu in the article was sourced by DCVW) came another when Heuer developed a strong relationship with French watch designer Gerald Monnin, resulting most famously in Heuer's first dive watch, the ref. 844.  Monnin would go on to design several other watches under the Heuer name – to include the Ref. 1611 here.


The Heuer Ref. 1611 dates to the late 1970s, when the Swiss company was struggling financially against the Quartz Crisis onslaught brought on by Seiko (again, with a world-first watch, technology-wise) – it was produced in small numbers in France, along with its sister reference Ref. 1589B (identical, but with black tachy ring) and Ref. 1614 (with cushion case design and fume dial).


The sporty chronograph Ref. 1611, as a Monnin creation, features a "Made in France" text at the 6 o'clock (where "Swiss" would normally be observed for Heuer's in-house designs). The Ref. 1611 chronograph utilizes a Valjoux calibre 7765 chronograph movement joined with a Monnin-designed case featuring a handsome design with an array of sweeping polished surfaces and brushed sides.


There’s no denying vintage Heuers have seen a tremendous increase in popularity, with the reissuance of numerous references from their back catalog - always sans "TAG" nomenclature - to include the Autavia, Monza, Carrera, and Monoco, and, infamously (in our opinion), the Formula 1 Kith/Heuer collab.

This Heuer Ref. 1611 comes on a vintage generic stainless-steel bracelet, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case and spring bar tool.

1978 Heuer Ref. 1611 Valjoux 7765 "Monnin" Chronograph

  • DIAL: White Heuer-signed dial with two subdials – small seconds and 30 minute counters – and a date feature disguised as subdial to provide symmetry; matching correct hands (to include a particularly vibrant orange chronograph seconds hand), with date at 3 o’clock position functioning as designed - no dial blemishes.  Crisp writing throughout dial and tachymeter chapter ring.


    CASE: Atypical stainless-steel tonneau-shaped brushed Heuer case measures 41mm (w/crown, 38mm w/o) x 44mm, and 12.5mm thick; matching caseback features crisp engravings.


    CRYSTAL: Saphire crystal, no scratches or cracks.


    BAND: Generic vintage stainless-steel bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. 8.25 inch wrist; this Ref. 1611 also comes with a black nylon strap and grey suede leather strap.


    MOVEMENT: Heuer 17-jewel Valjoux Calibre 7765 manual-wind movement, which beats at 28,800 bph – the cam-switching chronograph movement features a quick-set date. We have fully serviced this Ref. 1611 mechanical movement.


    CROWN: Correct stainless-steel crown.


    CHRONOGRAPH: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click, no stick. All chronograph hands – to include the orange large chronograph seconds hand – snap back and reset to zero with no issue.

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