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 Heuer 980.006 diver watch, nicknamed "jumbo" due to its large size for the time.
This quintessential no-nonsense Heuer tool watch was produced between circa 1981-4. 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 '70s, as Jack Heuer tells it in his autobiography, Heuer was at a sporting goods trade show in Europe and was approached by a diving equipment company that was having trouble finding quality dive watches that could be co-branded, G. Monnin.
The Heuer diver would go on to become one of the company’s bestselling models ever, even lasting into the early '90s under the new TAG Heuer banner. 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. Dive watches were immensely popular and coupled with the co-branding opportunities, Heuer sold thousands of what would become the 980 model, with both automatic and quartz movements.
This 980.006 jumbo comes with a quality "seatbelt" NATO, velcro ZULU strap, brown leather strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
Early 1980's Heuer 980.006 Jumbo-Case Diver
DIAL: Beautifully patina’ed original black dial. Date display at the 3 o’clock position works as designed. Original “church” hour, minute, and second hands.
CASE: Original 42mm (45mm w/crown x 46.5) jumbo stainless steel case, with original Heuer caseback. Bezel insert, although it has clearly seen some use, is original.
CRYSTAL: Crystal is blemish and scratch-free.
BAND: New high quality black 20mm nylon "seatbelt" NATO strap, as well as a second black 20mm velcro ZULU strap, akin to those worn by NASA astronauts wear with their spacesuits (albeit shorter). Finally, this watch also includes a brown leather strap - all have stainless steel hardware. Separately, we can put add an aftermarket signed Heuer buckle on any or all three of the straps for $50 a piece, if desired.
MOVEMENT: Heuer ETA 536.121 quartz movement.
CROWN: Original unsigned stainless steel screw-down crown.