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Heuer has now become a household name - albeit under different ownership than founded it, namely TAG Heuer, which took over in the mid-1980s.  The black PVD-cased TAG Heuer GMT Ref. 896.513 here is a great example of a design TAG didn’t mess with after it assumed control of the company, before it began making some...questionable design choices. 


But that's a story for another time...


The Ref. 896 diver here represents old-school Heuer design, in a mid-sized package.  Mid-1980's TAG Heuer divers, in particular divers like this one, are not common in any condition (in particular this two-tone GMT one here), and for good reason - they represent a bygone era for Heuer.


Given the parlous state of the Swiss watchmaking industry in the early 1980s, it likely made sense to TAG Heuer to eek out as many model variants as possible using as few unique parts as possible – however while the 1000 and 2000 series were popular, lasting several decades.

TAG Heuer managed to scale down all the elements of its highly popular 980 dive watch series - produced beginning in 1979 through 1982 - to make a stunning dive watch, never an easy feat.  The attention to detail and quality is remarkable, and seems more of an achievement with these smaller Heuer cases.  Heuer built these divers to high standards, and rendered these waterproof to 200m – just like their elder siblings.

Birthed under the Heuer brand, the 1000 and 2000 series carried over when TAG purchased the company and were left largely unchanged, apart from the obvious TAG Heuer logo.  Complementing the angular case was a large 12-sided bezel that sat inside the width of the watch.  While not as wide as the case itself, the bezel is thick, and features small ball-shaped grips at each corner to make it easier to turn.


The Ref. 896.513 GMT model was sold at the same time as the TAG Heuer 1000 and 2000 series in the 1980s, and is similar in terms of water resistance of 200m and screw-down crown.  Of interest, the 896 features a truly independent GMT function - when the gold pusher at the 10 o'clock position is depressed, the black GMT hand moves, allowing the wearer to tell time in two time zone.  Rendering the Ref. 896 even more unique, the gold dial is quite atypical, with its combination of two tones of champagne gold dial, dot index, black print, and GMT hands.

This Heuer comes with its original two-tone gold and black PVD TAG Heuer-sized bracelet, nylon strap, spring bar tool, and hard case travel case.

1985 TAG Heuer Airline Ref. 896.513 GMT, w/Original Two-Tone Bracelet

  • DIAL: Gold TAG Heuer-signed dial and "Mercedes" hands; date at 3 o’clock position functions as designed.  Gold insert in six o'clock indice is missing.  Dial lume - including bezel pip - glows.


    BEZEL: Unidirectional bezel, with bezel insert in quite excellent condition, ratchets w/a satisfying click.  Inlaid “pip” remains, and in great condition.  Of note - and atypically - all of the black ball grips on the bezel remain.


    CASE: TAG Heuer mid-size unisex black PVD case measures 36.5mm (w/o crown, 39mm with) x 40mm; matching original signed caseback.  Black PVD coating is uniform throughout the case, a great bonus.


    CRYSTAL: Heuer-correct crystal, no cracks or scratches.


    BAND: Stainless-steel black PVD and gold two-tone TAG Heuer-signed bracelet, links remain tight and will fit up to a 8.5 inch wrist.  Unusually, black PVD coating is uniform thoughout the bracelet.


    MOVEMENT: TAG Heuer-signed ESA quartz movement.


    CROWN: Signed screw-down locking Heuer-signed gold crown.

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