Bonhams, London, June 21 2017
Sold for £7,500
“Roll up, roll up. Get your vintage Heuers now – before it’s too late” could almost be the cry as demand continues to increase for models from the 1960s and ‘70s, with many buyers getting in on the act in advance of the Phillips Heuer-themed sale that took place in Geneva on November 11 2017.
The event saw 49 exceptional examples of the marque cross the block and new highs for the most sought-after models which, until relatively recently, were usually driver-type chronographs.
Now, however, some of Heuer’s once less popular creations have come to the fore, notably the ‘marine’ watches such as the Mareographe, the Seafarer and the Skipper. Launched (of course) in the late 1960s, the Skipper was designed for regatta racing and featured a now familiar countdown subdial which was designed to provide an easy-to-read indication of the pre-start period while a boat was bobbing up and down on the water.
Early Skippers had Carrera-style cases, after which Autavia cases were used. Earlier models (such as the 1972 version pictured here) contained manual-wind Valjoux movements, while later ones were automatic, initially using the left-crown Calibre 11 or 12 mechanisms commonly seen on first generation Monacos, Autavias and so on. The challenge, however, is to find a Skipper in truly excellent condition. Most were used for the purpose for which they were intended, so ended up having a harsh life at sea.