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My Apology -- Too Many Thoughts; Too Little Time

My apology to Rene, who posted this fantastic piece of research, and all others who are interested in the bit of Heuer history that he is studying . . . specifically, the use of "Thin Lume" hands on the early (Big Sub) Autavias.

I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, but too little time this week, so I am not sure when I will be able to post a message.

In the meanwhile, let me leave you with this image, showing the three styles of hands that we are discussing.



: First draft of the ‘Early Autavia Investigation’
: First sent out for review on Feb. 2nd 2016

: As I recently acquired a ‘1st exec’ Autavia 3646 with some
: question marks I started doing an investigation on the very
: early ‘Big eye’ Autavia’s that were released in 1962 and
: 1963

: As these watches are , as we all know, quite rare and good
: information is sketchy I tried to piece together the puzzle with
: whatever info I could find . This is by no means a definitive
: investigation and I welcome any and all remarks .

: As I have done these investigations for some rare Breitling
: references as well , and the conclusions on those investigations
: still stand today after many years , I applied the same logic
: and thinking to the early Autavia’s . You may not agree with
: all assumptions that I make but please bear with me , and if you
: have any info that will disprove my assumptions please share
: that info as I will gladly change and/or broaden the
: investigation . If all this info is readily available somewhere
: and I am not saying or posting anything new, I just wasted a lot
: of time writing this down, but please remember why I started
: this “ I recently acquired a ‘1st exec’ Autavia 3646 with
: some question marks”

: What I will try to answer in this Hypothesis are a few things:

: –: serial number ranges (production runs = number of watches
: made)
: –: Executions , for me an execution means a change from a
: previous version
: –: Hands and Dials use sequence

: Assumption: What I have found in other investigations for a similar
: brand (Breitling) is that Manufacturers (Mfg’s) ordered a set
: amount of cases (batch) for a production run. As setting up
: tooling (drilling, lapping, polishing, stamping etc) machines is
: a lengthy are therefor expensive process Mfg’s ordered a set
: number of cases. Too low and the cost per case would be too
: expensive , too high and you were not sure whether or not
: you’d use them all. In the case of Breitling I found that they
: typically ordered batches of 1000 pieces. These cases came in
: per-serialized as well as serialization was done by the external
: company . I also found that FIFO (first in / first out) was not
: used . I am going to assume that Heuer used the same assembly
: process.

: Q: Were hands and dials then also ordered in the same amount ?
: A: I have found they were not, as cases were very labour intensive
: to produce and therefor you needed large(r) amounts to offset
: the initial cost , hands and dials are fairly easily (= cheaper)
: produced. Dials are printed and lumed , hands are stamped and
: lumed. So these were ordered in (much ?) lower Qty’s than the
: cases .

: Now, what did I do exactly ?
: First gather as many reference and serial numbers I can find ,
: mainly from here
: but I have been scrounging serials from everywhere on the
: interweb , incl approaching ppl that showed early autavia’s on
: IG etc and also taking into account the recent eBay offerings
: (#49374 & #52826)


: The next step was to see if I could order them by serial number , I
: could , but I had to take 2 serial numbers out . These were
: already labeled as ‘strange outliers’ on the OTD website so
: I assume there’s something weird with these (maybe assembled
: from different parts ? ) . Anyway , when I took the outliers out
: and sorted them the serial numbers came out like this , in 4
: distinct batches


: I even found a Pre-Carrera with a serial number 50600 that
: indicates that cases were indeed build in batches and watches
: were assembled in batches as it (The pre-carerra) fits right
: between the 1st and 2nd production runs . There are 453 serials
: between the lowest and highest 3646 serial and 337 between the
: lowest and highest 2446 serial

: If we are going to take my assumption as correct , and Heuer
: ordered batches of cases , it looks like Heuer ordered 500 of
: each case in the 1st production run (this can be expanded to
: 1000 ea if more serials turn up)

: for the 2nd production run there are 440 serials between the lowest
: and highest 3646 serial and 664 pieces for the 2446 . As 664 is
: more than 500 I am going to assume that Heuer ordered 1000 pcs
: ea. For the 2nd production of the 3646 and 2446

: (btw , does anyone notice how the 3646 actually was ordered first ?
: , or at least made first , in both instances ?)

: so now we established that :
: 1st production 3646 runs from approx 48650 to 49150 (note 1)
: 1st production 2446 runs from approx 49151 to 49651 (note 1)

: and
: 2nd production 3646 runs from approx 51700 to 52700 (note 2)
: 2nd production 2446 runs from approx 52700 to 53700 (note 2)

: note 1) Highest 3646 serial known is 49108 , but the lowest 2446
: serial is 49169 . Given the fact that there are no overlapping
: serial numbers in Mfg the highest possible serial for a 1st
: production 3646 is 49168 as the next is a known 2446 49169 and
: since these 2 are only 60 pieces apart I took a random middle
: number 49150 as end for the 3646 and 49151 as start for the 2446
: . Assuming 500 pieces of each 3646 case 49150 – 500 pcs =
: 48650 and for the 2446 49151 + 500 = 49651

: note 2) Same logic applied to the 2nd production run as applied in
: note 1

: production numbers for the 1st production run can be expanded to
: 1000 pcs and still not overlap the pre-carrera 50600 serial .

: Now that we established how many there were made, what did they
: actually look like ?
: We all seem to think that the 1st production run of the 3646 and
: the 2446 were released with the ‘full lume’ hands. And I
: concur as the evidence , earliest known advertisement from
: November 1962, points to that .


: Now given the fact that it takes time to take pics of watches,
: design a catalog, send them to the printer , make print
: examples, review them for mistakes etc (2 to 3 months ? ) I
: think its fair to say these pictures were taken July/August of
: 1962 ? And I believe I heard somewhere that the Autavia was
: released in summer of 1962 ? (anyone has an exact date ?) I
: think these pics are the earliest known versions . So concluding
: , the ‘full lume’ hands are indeed the 1st ones and I would
: call them the ‘1st execution’

: The next catalog we have is the 1963 catalog with pricelist , this
: catalog however was printed also in 1962 , as is normal for a
: 1963 catalog because if you would print them in 1963 they’d
: arrive (very ?) late in stores.
: As I can only assume the pics of these watches were taken after the
: 1st exec ones , I am going to assume this catalog was printed in
: November or December of 1962 so pics taken 2 or 3 months prior
: to printing ie Sept / Oct 1962


: Now this is where it gets strange , as these hands are different ?
: And I was initially led to believe that these were 2444 hands
: that ‘someone’ put on watches during service as the original
: ‘full lume’ hands were no longer available. I have found
: however a 100% untouched 1st execution watch with serial number
: in the 489xx range with these hands. Which leads me to conclude
: that in the 1st production run of the 3646 and 2446 (see serial
: ranges above) there were 2 different hand designs . One of the
: worlds leading experts in Vintage Heuer confirmed the
: correctness of these ‘Thin stripe lume’ hands for the 1st
: production run , as did a well renowned watchmaker that used to
: work for Heuer


: And there are even (up to now 5) pieces known and confirmed to be
: 100% genuine by one of the worlds leading experts in Vintage
: Heuer, that were originally delivered with a RED instead of
: white Chrono hand.

The ‘Full lume’ and the ‘Thin stripe
: lume’ , are both correct for the 1st production run

: But do we call these 1st Executions and 2nd Execution ? , If I use
: my own definition of an execution they would be 1st and 2nd ,
: but I would settle for ‘1st and 2nd generation hands’ I will
: however leave that up to the wider collector community to decide
: .

: There are several other kind of hand types found on watches that
: fall within this 1st production serial number range . I do not
: know at this time if I would call them correct or incorrect ,
: fact is that these hands (thin mirror edge larger lume dauphine
: hands etc) are not documented anywhere but maybe someone that
: has handled a lot of these watches can make that call ?

: Personal note: I do not believe the ‘Thin Stripe Lume’ hands
: are exactly the same as for the 2444 and other pre-carerra
: watches but this needs further investigation

: For me this concludes the investigation of the 1st production run
: of the 3646 and 2446.

: Now the 2nd production run that, as far as I know, start with
: serials

: 3646 : 51700
: 2446 : 52700

: Investigating these is a bit harder as (afaik) there is no printed
: material showing these 2nd production run 3646’s and 2446’s
: , so I did my best by taking the biggest sample with parts in
: common

: Dial 3646 : 1st the 3646 received a newly designed V92 movement ,
: now sporting a 45 minute counter instead of the 30 minutes
: previously used (I would call these 3rd Execution 3646 because
: of the hand and movement change ?)


: Dial 2446 : seems to have stayed the same and is unchanged for the
: 1st production run

: Hands: There are several other kind of hand types found on watches
: that fall within this 2nd production serial number range “Thin
: mirror edge larger lume dauphine hands” in various shapes and
: sizes and variances between 3646 and 2446 , these are not
: documented anywhere but maybe someone that has handled a lot of
: these watches can make that call ?

: Predominantly we see these types of hands on the 3646


: and these hands on the 2446 (I would call these 3rd Execution 3646
: because of the hand change ?)


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