Heuer/TAG-Heuer Pilot's Model Chronographs
A thread that originally started out as:
"This is the DeFacto TH Forum> Oh, one of these? ^^ >"
Posted By: Chicagoland Chuck Maddox <cmaddox3@sbcglobal.net Date: 10/26/01 - 20:44:33
In Response To: Omega board, I know, but....Tag question (Killer B (Portland, OR))
Last updated on 5 May 2003, 19:55 GMT
Omega board, I know, but....Tag question
Hey 'B! Until TZ sees the light and gives us TAG-Heuer and Heuer fans a place of our own we have taken residence here in the Omega Forum... Although with TAG putting Zenith movements there might be a migration to the Zenith forum where we'll infest there!
Does anyone know anything about the Tag Heuer Pilot model, the automatic one (not that funky quartz doo-hickey thing)? I bought one, used, about 6 years ago, didn't keep it, regret it now, and might want 'find' another if I knew more about it.
Oh... You mean one of these?
Yes, these are pretty desirable and one of the best kept secrets from the TAG-Heuer and Heuer lines... One of the reasons why collectors knowledgeable about Heuer/TAG-Heuer snicker when people bash the brand.
I want to say it was from the '80s, given the condition, back in 1994, or so, but I have no other info on it. At the time, it really struck me, I bought it, there was a 'miscommunication' on price, and I couldn't swing 3x more than I thought it was...
I bought my Quartz Heuer Pilot's model in 1983 as I detailed on "My Watch Likes Page", I didn't know that there was an Automatic model at the time, not that it would have necessarily made a difference in my purchase decision... I believe list price was $495 back then.
Heuer and TAG-Heuer made these in both Automatic and Quartz versions in both Silver and Black Dials, both prior to the acquisition by TAG and afterwards. Indeed I know that TAG-Heuer still had the Black Dial version in their product line and I priced one while in New Jersey on Business in April of 1995 (the same week as the Oklahoma City Bombing) and was quoted a price of $1,095... But I believe that was list price at the time.
As for the movement, it is a particularly interesting and unique one. It is officially called a LWC 283 movement which consists of a Lemania made Chronograph module piggybacked on top of a ETA 2892-2 movement as evidenced by this close up here:
As far as I can tell there are eight different versions of the 1st Generation Pilot's models... Black and Silver dial, Automatic and Quartz, and with Heuer and TAG-Heuer dials... 2x2x2 = 8 variations. I own both TAG-Heuer Quartz variants (Black/Silver), a Silver Heuer Dialed Automatic, a Black TAG-Heuer dialed Automatic, and lastly my Silver Heuer Quartz model was the first swiss watch I owned... So I'm looking for a Black Dial Heuer in both Quartz and Automatic, and a Silver Dial TAG-Heuer automatic to complete my set. I have a spare Black TAG-Heuer Quartz if someone is interested in a Trade for one I need!
If there isn't any info to be had, no biggie, it's just y'all seem rather clued in about the entire genre of high-end watches, so I thought "this is the place to ask". Web surfing has turned up zip about automatic TH Pilots, but I know at least one existed.
Well, I don't know that much about them myself. They were made from roughly 1983 through 1995 or so, used a 31 Jewel ETA based movement, were 100meter WR rated, offered timekeeping, chronograph functions, quick-change date, pilot/navigator's slide rule. The quartz version is kind of unique in that it measures time in half second intervals instead of one second intervals like most quartz watches, so the chrono second hand "jumps" 120 times a second. The date window is also kinda unique in that it has a "Cyclops" magnifier, but rather than stick it on the crystal like Rolex does, Heuer put in in the dial between the date wheel and the space between the dial and hands... Pretty cool, although it actually hinders viewing in low light conditions...
Even if it were *really* cool, I'm pretty sure it couldn't touch a triple-date, all silver Speedy.
You can keep your DDM All Silver Speedy, I'll take one of these every time. Even the quartz models are very cool watches. The Wizz Wheel is very handy for a number of functions, they are very comfortable to wear, are great timekeepers, offer much of the functionality of similar Breitlings but without the glitz and with much better readability.
I feel that they were largely egnored when they were on the market and as they were likely never a large volume model, are especially scarce now that they are gone. I'd sure like to see TAG-Heuer reintroduce the automatic model. I wouldn't trade any of mine for any Triple-Date Speedy...
They are that cool...
-- Chuck

Posted By: Jeff Huber (Virginia):

Kind of interesting... ...that these watches are rated at a hundred meters, as they have the same kind of wiz wheel bezel as the Navitimer, which is generally considered no more water proof than the Speedy Pro.

You hit the nail on the head Cmdr. ... That is exactly the difference.

I wonder how much this has to do with how the bezel integrates with the case; that is, on the Navitimer, all of the information is under the crystal.

Since Heuer/TAG-Heuer uses a method closer to a Diver's bezel with the outer ring being both external and Bi-directionally rotatable, with the inner ring under the crystal, it is able to bump the watch's Water Resistance (WR) to 100 meters. While the Breitling, because of it's undercrystal design, rotates the crystal with the outer ring, a design which is more difficult to keep water resistant... Although Ventura uses a similar design (from the looks of it) for it's Loga However I believe it has a 100m or 200m WR rating.


Posted By: Killer B (Portland, OR):

Thanks a bunch, Chuck!!

That is *exactly* the one I had (for about 3 days...

I thought it was a TAG-Heuer... No matter...

at the time, the price went from 600 to 1600, which wasn't 'working' for me...and given the pricing info here, that was a good move, at the time (not buying it)). Of course, now they are hard to find, so it suits me right that I'm having a hard time finding one, or even info on one (though your post rocked...pics and all).

The Quartz models show up fairly frequently. Silver more than Black on a reasonably regular basis... Perhaps once or twice every month or two, on eBay... The Quartz models show up much more regularly than Automatics. Of the four automatics I've seen eBay, I've bought 2 (both Silver), was the high bidder on a third (Black) but I was about $500-600 apart on reserve price and the seller would not budge an inch, so I passed. The last one was another silver which I already had two examples of and decided to pass on... You also see the current models (especially the White/Blue dial) very frequently on eBay (at least twice to four times a month...). But I prefer the "classic" model to the current. Even though the current model is one of the few current model TAG-Heuers I would strongly consider purchasing (along with certain Classic and Kirium line models)...

Let's see, if memory hasn't totally failed me, I remember that auto I bought had a black dial, but I like the silver better, honestly. Nice that they were both available. I can see why you'd want one of each.

I like the black dial, but after wearing the Silver dial for so many years in the form of my old Silver Quartz it's a little hard to get used to. I believe the Silver dial aids night-time readability as well...

Oh, man, I can see this becoming a 'dangerous hobby'. Definition of 'dangerous hobby' is: You have multiple items, only one of which can be used at a time, and they tend to be both special and expensive. My last 'dangerous hobby', motorcycles, just about killed me and my wife earlier this year, literally, so at least this one would be 'safe'. Heh, heh.

Leave now if you don't want to be consumed by it... I remember when I though I would be satisfied with about 20 watches... That wasn't all that long ago... Notice there are no "Smilies" in this paragraph... I'm serious. It will consume you if you let it... Be forewarned!


I'm pleased you enjoyed the post. I do wish there was more to report on these. They are great watches, that deserved and deserve more attention.

8 February 2003 Addendum:
Since I first posted this in the Omega Forum of TimeZone in 2001 much has happend. One of the things I posted in 2002 was an open invitation to scan, enhance, host and present old watch catalogs and manuals if people would lend them to me or send me photocopies (color if possible. One person who answered that offer was David Alstott of North Carolina. One of the catalogs that David lent me was a 1985 Heuer catalog that is probably one of the last of Heuer catalogs and the first one to mention the change at the helm of Heuer and introduce the then new TAG-Heuer logo.
One of the entries in this catalog was of the Pilot's model. I present that page and the associated Price List information here:

Note: The date of this price sheet is April 1st 1987...

Note the area in the gray box Highlight above. It is this section with the pricing of the Pilot's models which is duplicated in more readable form below.
So as of April 1, 1987 we have the pricing for the Pilots as shown above.
I've also since seen TAG-Heuer Catalogs for sale on eBay purporting to be from 1992 that have the more recent pattern TAG-Heuer Pilot's model (the white dial with blue sub-dials, and black dial with silver sub-dials. So this would further refine the window of manufacture from ¿1983? ~ ¿1992?. Both of those time points are still pretty fuzzy, but it seems that many stores, and probably TAG-Heuer US had stock of the old models well into 1995 as I mentioned above.
I will continue to research this topic in the future as best as I can.

13 September 2005 Addendum:

A couple of weeks back fellow watch collector Brian Cantor recently picked up a vintage Heuer Pilot's model chronograph (automatic) which came with it's original manual. Over the years, I had lost my original manual, and Brian was kind enough to mail me his for scanning and presentation via my site...

TAG-Heuer Chrono Pilot Instructions:

These instructions should prove to be valuable to any one who owns a watch equipped with a "whiz-Wheel or Circular Slide Rule...

Thanks again to Brian for graciously providing the manual for me to scan and host!


Good Hunting!

-- Chuck