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Re: A Question (or two)
In Response To: A Question (or two) ()

A Question (or two)


Seeing Jim Nichols and the "high brow" crowd chasing the Pateks, and seeing your magnificent looking Omega, leaves me trying to get the vintage Heuers into some perspective, and even the modern TAG-Heuers. (Is this a collector's mid-life or mid-collection crisis? Some vertigo or confusion?)

Well, there are plenty of interesting watches out there that happen to be made by Brand R, Brand B, Brand I, Brand O, Brand PP, Brand T, the other Brand T, the Third Brand T, etc...

I know that I have probably more than my share of many of of those nameless brands, and there is more than Heuer, TAG-Heuer and even Brand O.

How would you compare the mechanical quality / fit and finish on this Omega (or Omegas in general) with the quality / fit and finish of our beloved Heuers?

Ok, I guess I've had a run of saying things in the TZ Omega Forum that might make Omega fans mad, I suppose I might as well say some things that might make my Heuer fans a little mad at me.

Before I go too far, it's really hard to compare a new modern Omega Speedmaster with a vintage Heuer in many respects. Consider comparing a New BMW 3xx M+ to a vintage Porsche 911. Not withstanding the different approach to the function envisioned for each contestant, comparing two dissimilar contestants that are separated by so much time doesn't necessarily tell us anything. Even though our individual preferences might be for the vintage piece or a particular element that sends you one direction or another.

The mechanical quality of this Moonwatch is excellent, even outstanding, I can't find anything wrong, and only one thing I would do differently... I would have painted the subdial hands white. On the other hand, while I have vintage Heuer's by the dozens, and I have few complaints with the mechanical quality or fit and finish on them, by the time they get to me, they are at the very least used and typically vintage. Again comparing something new off the line to a 30 year old vintage piece is tough.

A more fair comparision is a 65 Seamaster Chrono with a 64-67 Carrera, or a '67 Speedmaster with a '67 Autavia v.72...

While I personally prefer the Omega (Lemania) c.321 or even a c.861 over the Valjoux 72, in actual day to day usage and if you aren't going to try to break them, they are very comparable movements. The pushers, crown, crystal, bezel's, etc. are all comparable, and in the same league. As long as you do like and like and not used vintage and new out of the box modern.

Are we in the ballpark or a step behind the Omegas -- vintage or modern?

Vintage and vintage is comparable, new and new... It's kinda hard to say because TAG doesn't really sell something that goes head to head with the Moonwatch these days.

Seriously, I think the biggest difference between Vintage Heuer's and Vintage Omegas is that Heuer's were sports watches, through and through. If one looked elegant and dressy (like the Carrera's) it was a happy bonus. Omega's were trying to be both sporty and a bit dressy too. Sort of like a Porsche and BMW comparision... You really don't think of a Porsche 911 as a Sedan, but BMW's are sporting saloon cars.

Are Omega and Heuer natural rivals, or is it only the Heuer crowd that wants to compare the two brands? How do you think about the quality of the two brands, putting aside popularity and prestige.

I think the biggest problem that TAG-Heuer has is "TAG"... There are a lot of people who look down at TAG-Heuer's. You say "what about the Pre-TAG Heuer's" and they say, "Oh! Those are good, even cool!". TAG is/was the main motivation behind a "dressier" look for Heuer, and I think that as much as it's helped the brand become sucessful and a viable and profitable company, it's exactly what has hurt the TAG-Heuer brand among the watch fanatics. Most watch people, for example I think the regulars here, would say "I like many of the Classics line, a couple of the more modern lines (like maybe the 2000 Chronograph) and the rest of the line they could kill and I wouldn't miss them one bit... But TAG does make a lot of sales and money on watch lines that the "old guard" distain.

This is why I think if TAG-Heuer is serious about increasing their market share and improving their image, especially with watch fans, they need to get serious about their heritage and how they honor it. This means if they can't get Valjoux 72's or the closest vintage equivelent (the Lemania 1873) that they should work with the LVMH stablemates, Zenith, and produce a suitable watch that is comparable to the Classics they seek to honor. Not some ETA-Dubois-Depraz compromise that they can get their hands on.

I'm still liking the overall design / usual look of the vintage Heuers better than the Omegas (and Pateks, for that matter), but the photo of your new Omega did leave me admiring how the "other half" lives. Of course, the Heuer price-points are also a bit more favorable than the Pateks.

You should take the opportunity to see how the other guys live. The two brands were such great and natural competitiors for so many years they had to perform competivly and comparably. I think Heuer had a better "lock" on the sportier side of the spectrum, and Omega has a better lock on the Dressy side of it. A prime example of this is in Alternating colored subs, common place on Heuers', not commonly seen on Omega's... Heuer's neatural tendency is is to move towards a sportier look, Omega's is to move towards a more dressy look. Although I think the black sub's on white combination is both very sporty and still dressy.

I mean, let's take the Siffert as an example...

After the Carrera 12 was discontinued this was about as dressy as Heuer got, and it's a very sporty watch. compare with this 1968 Seamaster Cushion case:
Less sporty, more dressy, I would choose one for the track, another for a Wedding even though they are pretty comparable timepieces with the same basic case shape. TAG is the main motivation behind a "dressier" look for Heuer, and I think that as much as it's helped the brand become sucessful and a viable and profitable company, it's exactly what has hurt the TAG-Heuer brand among the watch fanatics.

Thanks for your thoughts.

I think a nice mid-1960's Speedmaster to compare with your 1960's v.72 Autavia's or a mid-1960's Seamaster to compare with a Carrera 12 v.72 or something similar might be an interesting exploration for you to consider. It's not like you can't sell it if it doesn't win a place in your collection. I think you might enjoy it!


Hope this is helpful/useful...

-- Chuck

Chuck Maddox

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