Heuer pioneered the first dashboard chronograph used in cars and aircraft in 1914 and introduced its first wrist chronograph later the same year. Adapted from traditional pocket chronographs, this featured the winding crown at 12 o’clock. In 1916, the company introduced the first watch accurate to one-hundredth of a second and soon after, the “Semikrograph” was released. This stopwatch offered timing to a fiftieth of a second, along with a split-second function. These early breakthroughs established Heuer’s unparalleled reputation for precision timekeeping.
During the 1950s, Heuer produced watches for the American company Abercrombie and Fitch, with the two models; the “Seafarer” and the “Auto-Graph” produced specifically to be sold by the retailer. These watches were two of the most advanced of their time, suited to navigators, drivers and elite sportsmen as much as they were to style lovers of the time. The “Auto-Graph” watch was designed for use by rally drivers as it had a tachymeter scale within the dial which meant it could be used as a pace-keeper. The Seafarer was well suited to navigators and – amongst other features – incorporated a mechanism showing high and low tides.
By the 1960s, Heuer had built a unique following among professional sportsmen, watch aficionados and lovers of state-of-the-art technology alike. 1962 was a memorable year for the company when a Heuer 2915A stopwatch was taken by John Glenn into space for the first time on the Mercury-Atlas 6 spacecraft.
During the 1960s, the company turned its attention to making an automatic chronograph to compete with other watch giants such as Zenith and Seiko. The manufacturer of this new design – conducted alongside Breitling, Buren and Hamilton – was top-secret, as none of the watch companies wanted other competitors to know how much research and design had been achieved. During 1969, Heuer released their new chronograph models at press conferences in New York and Geneva. The models released were Carrera, Autavia and The Monaco. These watches proved immensely popular, becoming some of Heuer’s most famous ever models. Indeed, the Carrera and Monaco are still being produced to this day. Following the immense resurgence of interest in the brand’s earlier watches during the past 5 years, the Autavia was re-launched in 2017.