A very rare, attractive and highly complicated high-frequency split-chronograph pocket watch, produced by the famous Swiss watch brand Heuer, founded in 1860. Reference launched in 1965. Nickel-chrome plated openface (Lépine) case, diameter 57mm, 19.5mm thick, matt white dial, hinged caseback. Hand-wound Valjoux caliber. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock, 1/10-second split chronograph with central chronograph and split seconds hands, and 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock.
The present lot is an outstanding example of watchmaking art from the era when the measurement of time was carried out mainly mechanically. Until the 1980s, Heuer was considered one of the leading manufacturers of technical watches, primarily chronographs, timers, and stopwatches, produced both in wrist and pocket formats, and also as dashboard instruments. Pocket chronographs are one of the brand’s preferred specialisations, achieving significant success in this field, as evidenced by numerous inventions and recognised mastery in the creation of high-frequency models. From about the 1920s, Heuer began to use high-end Valjoux calibers in its collection. The caliber of the present example belongs to the same line that was used in the legendary Rolex Ref. 4113 split-chronograph wristwatch of the 1940s.
Pocket chronographs are one of the brand’s preferred specialisations, achieving significant success in this field, as evidenced by numerous inventions and recognised mastery in the creation of high-frequency models.
Ref. 11202 was launched in 1965 and, if we look at the catalogues of the brand, almost immediately – by the end of the 1960s – production was discontinued. The 1965–1966 Heuer catalogue notes that this reference offers a doubled balance frequency and therefore a measurement accuracy of 1/10 of a second, which, in combination with the split-seconds function, seems extraordinary. Outwardly, this reference differs from the usual 1/5-second reference 11201 by the presence of an additional outer red 1/5-second scale shifted by half a division relative to the internal 1/5-second scale, which allows for 1/10-second measurements. Another unusual feature of Ref. 11202 is the Heuer logo flag placed at the bottom of the small seconds sub-dial. At the time, such a pocket chronograph was undoubtedly positioned as an expensive watch. The present reference had a catalogue price of $150 (excluding federal tax), while the highly acclaimed classic pocket chronograph Ref. 701 was priced at $56, with the most affordable stopwatch offered for $24.
If we consider Ref. 11202 as a technical watch, which in essence it was, we should admire the meticulous and very fine workmanship of the parts of the caliber, very close to prestigious-category watches. Also noteworthy is the beauty of the caliber’s design – a significant addition to the perceived value of this lot.
Reasons to bid
The Heuer High-frequency Split-chronograph Pocket Watch Ref. 11202 is a must-have purchase for a Heuer collector or technical chronographs afficionado as one of the finest representatives of the genre. It is a beautiful, very rare and highly complicated mechanical pocket watch from a world-famous traditional watch brand, one of the major historical players in chronograph and timing equipment markets. The peculiar high-mech caliber aesthetics embedded with traditional design and finishing undoubtedly adds to the appeal of this lot.