Shortly before TAG's takeover of Heuer in the mid-1980s, it produced a line of legendary divers, first in Monin, France, with automatic movements, and subsequently in Switzerland with Swiss quartz movements - the example here is one of those latter divers, a full serviced near new-old stock 1982 Heuer 980.025 matte black PVD womens dive watch, on its original Heuer-signed bracelet.
This quintessential no-nonsense Heuer tool watch was produced between circa 1981-4, but in some important way it continued to be made throughout the 1990s (more on this below).
For a brief history of these amazing Heuer divers, as noted in a fascinating Hodinkee article, “A Personal Note: Marking Time With A Humble Heuer” - “In 1980, Heuer decided it was time to build a proper dive watch. Sure, years earlier, it had fitted its "Automotive-Aviation" Autavia chronograph with a diving bezel, but the brand was largely focused on motorsports watches, which is where it had built its reputation."
But in the late 1970s, as Jack Heuer tells it in his autobiography, “The Times Of My Life,” Heuer was at a sporting goods trade show in Europe and was approached by a diving equipment company having trouble finding quality dive watches.
Before that fateful show, Heuer was not doing well as a company and its situation had begun deteriorating as early as late 1974 (along with most of the Swiss watchmaking industry, badly hit by the quartz crisis caused by Seiko). Quartz watches were more technically advanced than mechanical watches, and at a lower price point too, making them fierce competitors for the traditional Swiss companies.
It is in this grim context Heuer saw an opportunity at that 1979 trade show. Heuer got the idea to address a recurrent complaint voiced regarding the difficulty in finding reliable private label watches for underwater sports – Heuer’s expertise at this time was racing chronographs, but it took the challenge regardless, and teamed up with French supplier G. Monnin.
Per Heuer, “To our great surprise our new diving watches were very well received by the market,” he said. So much so, in fact, that the following year Heuer began offering the Diver Professional in four different sizes and a multitude of dial configurations.
After a year of outsourcing to Monnin, Heuer took over the manufacturing of the Ref. 844, re-named the 980.XXX, and sold in a myriad of versions, with different case sizes in gold or steel (even two-tone), a PVD version (both black and camo green), and orange, black, and full-lume dials, all with bracelet or rubber strap. Most came in four different sizes (28mm, 32mm, 38mm, and 42mm, with different finishes – and yes, even a full lume dial variant.
This near NOS Heuer 980.025 diver comes with its original PVD bracelet, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.
Near NOS Full Lume 1982 Heuer 980.025 PVD Diver
DIAL: Full lume Heuer-signed dial. Date display at the 3 o’clock position works as designed. Matching black “Mercedes” hour, minute, and second hands.
CASE: Black PVD-coated stainless-steel case measures 28mm (32mm w/crown) x 35mm, with matching Heuer caseback and absolutely zero wear. Bezel insert also evinces no wear and is in remarkably good condition, despite age.
CRYSTAL: Crystal is blemish and scratch-free.
BAND: Original matte black PVD Heuer bracelet, which will fit an approx. 7.25 inch wrist (or 8.5 inch if the diver's expansion clasp is expanded). A rare find, none of the PVD has worn off of high-contact areas of the bracelet.
MOVEMENT: Heuer ESA 536.121 quartz movement. We have performed a full service on this watch.
CROWN: Unsigned matte black PVD screw-down crown.