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Test Dial or Made in the Basement

It seems to me that Nick Biebuyck (Heritage Director at TAG Heuer) has told you what you need to know -- that this dial / watch was likely produced as a test dial (perhaps by a company that supplied dials to Heuer) or by a watchmaker, but that the watch was not serially produced by Heuer and was not a prototype made or authorized by Heuer. In any event, it's a good looking watch!!

Over the years, we have seen many watches in this "in between" category.



: Thank you for your last reply, Fabrizio.

: And as an update:

: I managed to contact Mr Nicholas Biebuyck the Heritage Director at
: Tag Heuer for his opinion on this "oddball".

: Mr Biebuyck wrote back stating:

: "... I have taken a closer look at the watch and should advise
: that it is similar to a number of piece that have surfaced in
: the market over the years.

: The first point that it is worth noting is Heuer did not start
: using Lemania movements until after Jack had been pushed out of
: the business in 1982. The reason for this is that the new owners
: were Piaget group who also owned Lemania and part of their
: motivation for acquiring the brand was that they saw an
: opportunity to use their own movements.

: As you may know, Heuer had used the Calibre 11 and 12 automatic
: chronograph movement from 1969, but in the late 1970s they had
: also started to use the Valjoux 7750, which Piaget replaced with
: the 5100 after the take over, hence why Jack had no comment when
: I saw him for dinner last week.

: The other point to note at this time was the chaotic nature of the
: Swiss watch industry and the supply chain. During and following
: the quartz crisis suppliers would often be changed quickly, and
: under Piaget many elements of product creation and assembly was
: outsourced to save costs, so many things were produced with the
: Heuer name on they, but probably outside the strict control of
: the brand.

: With these elements in mind, for me I would consider the watch to
: be a composite of components that were assembled some time
: around 1982 to 1985, perhaps by a supplier or a watchmaker.
: While it is an interest watch with interesting parts as you
: mentioned, I would not consider it to be a serially produced
: watch or a prototype commissioned by the brand.

: …. For the dial, the design seems to use elements from other
: brands, my guess it is Singer or someone similar (there is
: probably a stamp on the back which would explain more) and the
: Heuer stamp has been added (quite a few original stamps will
: have been with dial suppliers)."

: I am so grateful for Mr Biebuyck"s thoughtful response and
: taking time out of his busy schedule to reply. Many thanks to
: Marco Gabello of Watchonista who has been a fantastic resource
: in helping me try and pin something down on this.

: I guess for me this confirms that it was not serially produced
: (which I had assumed) but raises the question was it produced by
: someone wanting a bespoke central chrono minutes hand or by
: someone in the early 1980s trying to create a Franken? If Singer
: did produce the dial what does the mean, if, as I believe, they
: are a quality dial maker (used by Rolex and Omega). Surely a
: faker wouldn’t go that far and why try and fake a Heuer in the
: early 1980s?

: Anyway, if anyone has any further thoughts on this please let me
: know as my curiosity is definitely piqued. What do I have when I
: have a correct Lemania case and movement 1041 with what appears
: to be a genuine Heuer stamped dial but no confirmation it was
: commissioned by Heuer? Can it be a Franken if the dial stamp is
: indistinguishable from other genuine Heuer stamped dials - ?

: Many thanks

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