If you’ve been paying close attention the vintage watch market over the past six months, you’ll surely be aware of the craze for rare Heuer chronographs that’s currently being experienced.

In their heyday, the now iconic watchmaker truly produced some of the finest utilitarian, sporting chronographs that money could buy, which is why you could say this surge of well-deserved interest is rather overdue. With outstanding examples of the brand’s most celebrated chronographs commanding handsome sums at auction — well into the six figure range — collectors are undoubtedly making up for lost time, but this doesn’t mean relative deals can’t still be had. Case in point, this old thing.

Prior to the introduction of the now legendary Carrera, Heuer had already developed a notable reputation as a manufacturer of timing instruments for both personal and professional applications. Their timepieces had already made their way onto the wrists of enlisted men, pilots, and motoring enthusiasts alike, and with good reason. Heuer’s chronographs were legible, reliable, and tastefully designed — and this Landeron 13-powered example is no exception.

With all of this said, you’re probably wondering what makes this example special, and rightfully so. Because who wants to wear the same watch as the next guy walking down the street? Not you, I’m sure. In addition to the thick and unpolished stainless steel case, this “Pre-Carrera,” if you will, features a wonderfully clean two-tone dial, that has aged honestly to a slightly more creamy tone. All of the radium luminous compound also remains intact and evenly coloured, which is seldom seen on pieces of this vintage.

Furthermore, this example also boasts what collectors refer to as “big eye” sub-registers, given their oversized appearance. Outside of Heuer, big eye registers can also be found on some of the rarer offerings of Universal Geneve, Rolex, and even Longines. On the surface, such registers are merely another aesthetically pleasing trait of the watch, but what they really bring to the table is increased legibility when timing important occurrences, like a race, or more likely, what’s cooking on the barbecue.

For those that haven’t encountered a two-tone dial-equipped timepiece in person, let it be known that they are truly a sight to be seen. With every turn of your wrist, such dials catch the light in a way that few other dials can. Certain aspects are illuminated, while others remain dormant and matte, creating a stunning aesthetic that oozes subtle elegance. It’ll have you staring down at your wrist far too much throughout the day, without a doubt.

All in all, this watch represents a pivotal period in the history of chronograph production, along with the history of one of the greatest chronograph manufacturers of all time. What’s more, is that it’s being offered in outstanding condition, which cannot be said too often when dealing with chronographs of this era. With the Heuer market moving as rapidly as it is, it’ll be interesting to see what a piece like the one in question commands in a year’s time.

Heuer “Big Eyes” Chronograph