The race between Zenith, Seiko and a Heuer-led consortium to create the first automatic chronograph in 1969 is well-known amongst watch enthusiasts, and it lead to some of our favorite watches of the era. But while Zenith’s and Seiko’s resulting movements more or less remained exclusive to their respective brands, Heuer’s partnership with several other manufacturers meant the wealth was shared, and several brands would use the same movement — the Caliber 11 — in different watches. What we have here are three examples of that movement sharing, albeit with the later and improved Caliber 12.
Zodiac Automatic Chronograph
What we love: This Zodiac is called a “Poor Man’s Heuer” not just because it uses a Heuer movement but because it has the same case, dial and hand design as the Heuer Carrera of the era. What this means is you essentially get a Heuer with a lower price tag, and an opportunity to drop some knowledge if another watch enthusiast asks why your Heuer says Zodiac. What’s more, we love the use of color on this one: matte grey sub-dials paired with a shimmering silver main dial and a light orange seconds hand that provides a wonderful accent.
From the seller: Stainless steel case is in excellent condition with no signs of over-polishing and only minimal signs of use and wear. Dial is in fantastic condition with beautiful puffy lume plots and matching hands. Unsigned crown. Unsigned case back.
What we love: So maybe you do want an actual Heuer-branded watch. Many people do! And you aren’t just paying the premium here for brand-naming, either. This Carrera comes with an original “beads of rice” bracelet and a dial that has patina’d to a unique and beautiful lavendar color.
From the seller: Excellent case that shows light wear from use.The serial and reference numbers have been worn off the band. All lume plots are present and have aged to a warm creamy hue with matching hands. All Lume glows brightly when exposed to UV and falls off quickly.
What we love: Breitling, being one of the contributors to Heuer’s consortium, naturally had it’s own take on the Caliber 12. In typically Breitling fashion, the watch came with a chunky case adorend with a rotating bezel and a boldly-designed black and white dial with red and orange accents.
From the seller: With very nice condition-original black dial with contrasting white “race track” pattern containing registers for elapsed minutes and hours. With original fluorescent orange hands and dial details. Recently fully serviced and left unpolished as acquired.