Heuer Carrera Chronographs:   
A Brief Overview: Then, Now and the Future:
A collaboration between
Matthias Liebe-Kleymann & Chuck Maddox USA!
Based on a thread from 19 June 2002,
Last Revised: 18 May 2003, 11:12 GMT.
Certain Rights Reserved.
Top, In The Beginning,
The 1960s, The 1970s,
The 1980s, The 1990s,
Now and the future...
Addendum, Author's Notes,
Certain Rights Reserved

Top Up Down Bottom   In the Beginning:

Le Carrera Panamericana Rally Mexico

In 1950, Mexico was about to compete its section of the great Pan-American highway. To celebrate that event, it was decided to create a motor race on the 3,500 km distance of the highway from the border of Guatemala and the United States. From 1950 through 1954, "Le Carrera Panamericana Rally Mexico" was held five times. And five times the worlds greatest drivers traversed the vast expanse over terrain that varied from deserts, prairies, mountains and tropical jungles. A legend was born.

Introduced in 1963, Carrera was the first Heuer line of watches with it's own brand name.

Photo courtesy of Eric So

Although the Carrera was a evolution in terms of design for Heuer, its look was completely distinctive when compared to the commonly seen and sold chronographs of the 1940's and 1950's. Jack Heuer (pictured at left), the CEO of the company, wanted a watch with an excellent readability. So he printed the 1/5 sec scale on the "rehaut" (the inner bezel) of the watch. Tachymeter or pulsometer scales were not placed in the centre of the dial (a typical design feature of 1940's and 1950's chronographs), but formed an outer ring around the five minutes markers. The dial immediately looked bigger and cleaner.

It's fair to say that Heuer was already moving in this direction prior to the first formal naming of a Carrera model. The line was in continuous production until the late 1970's/early 1980's in one form, model, style or another. Design changed with the taste of the times from classical-elegant, round case, small lugs (until mid 1960's) to, well 1970's style - large and fancy cushion cases. The last vintage Carreras in the 1980's showed more modern designs like the contemporary Lemania, Omega or Porsche Design watches.

This article is an attempt to show the origins, the growth, the seeming death and rebirth of this classic "tool-watch" chronograph. The Heuer Carrera chronograph is sometimes overshadowed by it's contemporaries, but it deserves recognition and respect from the watch community.

Click here to go to Part 2: The 1960's

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