HEUER DAYTONA ‘GOLD GHOST’ DIAL
Sharing its name with Rolex, the Heuer Daytona has become one of the new must-haves for vintage watch collectors.
Item description: Making its debut in 1976, was the impressively named Heuer Daytona, reference R110 203B. A rugged stainless steel watch with integrated bracelet, sporting Heuer’s famous caibre 12 chronograph movement. The watch with typical stainless steel case with brushed surfaces. The dial in deep blue with Heuer logo and model name ‘Daytona. The dial with two sub dials at ‘9’ and ‘3’. Correct cream battons, along with cream hands. Calender at the 6.00 position. Inside of case-back stamped with the Heuer name. Automatic Heuer Cal.12 movement with gilt bridges. The watch complete with its stainless steel bracelet.
Case size: 45mm x 39mm
Condition report: Excellent overall condition. Showing just light use only. Heuer crown still in place. The case free from any major scratches or damage. The glass also free from scratches or damage. The spectacular dial with a beautiful ‘ghost gold’ patina, eminating from the centre and darkening back to the original dark blue at the edges. The cal.12 movement has been recently serviced. The timepiece may have been opened, so it should not be used near moisture or water without being checked by a qualified watchmaker. This example of a Heuer Daytona with the desirable ‘ghost gold’ dial, is undoubtedly one of the best and most original examples on the market today.
Background to the Heuer Daytona: Certainly the first watch that comes to mind when you think about a vintage Daytona watch, is probably the venerable Rolex model. However, the Heuer Daytona is a formidable name-sake, enjoying growing market interest. The Daytona is definately one of the more interesting Heuer Chronographs from the 1970s.
Introduced in 1976, the Daytona is in some ways the beginning of the end- one of the last all-new series launched to use the Chronomatic movement, Heuer’s own automatic chronograph calibre. The generation of models that followed the Daytona, such as the Kentucky, Pasadena and second series Montreal began to use Valjoux’s 7750 movement, a calibre that is still offered by TAG Heuer today as the Calibre 16.
The design of the Daytona was a bold choice for the time, with Heuer looking to move on from the very 60s Carrera and Monaco. The Daytona name was selected for two major reasons. Firstly, Heuer had a tradition of picking names associated with racing circuits, such as Monaco, Silverstone etc. Secondly, the name was associated with America, and that was where Heuer wished to be a key market for its watches during the 1970s. Additionally, it certainly added kudos to the name, the fact that Ferrari also used it on the 365 GTB/4. Interestingly, although Rolex were already using the Daytona name, they didn’t object to Heuer using the name as well. In fact, pre-launch of the Heuer Daytona, Heuer had to register the ‘Heuer Daytona’ name, and Rolex had to re-register their watch the ‘Rolex Daytona’, as opposed to ‘Daytona’.
The Heuer Daytona came in two dial types, both with a distinguishing dégradé finish, meaning that the centre of the dial is a lighter colour that gradually becomes darker as you move towards the outer edge. One dial type is in blue, and the other is in Fume (brown). Both dial types were manufactured using a golden metallic base with either a dégradé blue, or fume (brown) top colour.The golden metallic finished base meant that when heat was applied to the centre, the top colour (blue or fume) would lighten, causing the dégradé effect. Only the Daytona and Silverstone models had this type of dial finish. Apparently there was a high fall out rate when making this type of dial finish, and so it understandable that it wasn’t to be continued. The Heuer Daytona was launched in 1976 and finally discontinued from the Heuer range in 1980.
Additional notes about the dégradé dial: Both dial types have a propensity to oxidise over the decades. The oxidation process causes the dials to have what collectors call a ‘Ghost Gold’ finish. In other words, both the blue and fume colours break down over time showing the golden metallic base. In the same way, as the Rolex Submariner & GMT so-called Ghost Bezels, this is now a very desirable finish. Of importance for collectors is that this oxidation forms a pleasant graduating finish from the centre outwards. When this act of oxidation is blotchy, it is considered a negative aspect to the dial.
Background to Heuer: The Heuer Watch Company was founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer. He opened a watchmaking workshop in St-Imier, a village in the Swiss Jura region. Heuer watches soon became recognized for a high level of accuracy and workmanship. By the 1930s, Heuer was specialising in chronographs, and stop watches, becoming known as a producer of timepieces sporting events. Heuer continued with this theme, and by the 1960s had brought out various timepieces for use within the car racing world. Today, Heuer is particularly remembered for their Heuer Monaco model, which was made famous by Steve McQueen when he wore it the 1971 film, Le Mans.
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