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Vintage Heuer Discussion Forum
The place for discussing 1930-1985 Heuer wristwatches, chronographs and dash-mounted timepieces. Online since May 2003.
-: With the launch of Rich's wonderful registry for vintage
: Monacos, it seems timely to share some thoughts and pose some
: questions on the subject of registries for our vintage Heuers.
: As many of our readers know, a few of us have been playing with
: the serial numbers (and the smaller sample registries) for a
: while now . . . this is a huge subject, that holds great promise
: for our community of collectors. But there are also a lot of
: questions to be considered -- we need to do this right, if we
: are going to do it at all . . . and I will admit that at the
: moment, I'm not sure what is "right" for this
: registry. So we need to determine, as a community, what we want
: to do regarding a registry (or registries).
: Here are some thoughts and some questions . . . I don't think that
: we need to debate or answer the questions now, but we do need to
: start considering some of these issues.
: Who is Doing What? As of this moment, Rich has launched his
: registry for Monacos; a great start with lots of entries (and
: Rich has the interest in, and available technology for, doing a
: registry for Silverstones) . . . I have created a small,
: sample registry for the "no name" chronos of the
: 1940's and 1950's; you can have a look at it here to get an idea
: of what a registry might look like --
: http://www.onthedash.com/test/SerialNumbersB.html . Of course,
: you will need to keep in mind that we follow the serial numbers
: on the movements for these older chronos, and then we switch to
: serial numbers on the cases from the 1960's onward. Yes, all
: this gets confusing. I also have what I call my "Cheat
: Sheet" with approximately 100 serial numbers from the
: 1960's and 1970's chronographs, which is an attempt to cover
: some key dates / transitions in some of the most important
: models . . . sorry, this "Cheat Sheet" needs to remain
: private for a while longer, while I develop it further . . . but
: I can tell you that with only 100 entries, we can learn a lot
: about these chronographs. I can only imagine what a fantastic
: resource it will be with the first 1,000 entries!! another
: prominent collector has started a sample of what a registry
: might be like for the 1960's and 1970's Heuers. All these early
: projects are using different formats, etc. But the key point
: here is that we are all cooperating and sharing information . .
: . we have not even discussed coverage, format, style, naming
: conventions, technology, support, data entry, etc., but we are
: sharing ideas and information, at least on a preliminary basis.
: In a sense, the little registries are trial runs for the Big
: The Big Question -- What is the Purpose of a Registry? This is
: the big question, for all of us. At a minimum, we might develop
: a simple page, so that a person can see, for any particular
: year, the range of serial numbers that was used. We see these
: types of sheets, for the Breitlings, Rolexes and Omegas. Simple
: and useful, but no detailed information. At the other extreme, a
: watch owner could submit a serial number, and receive complete
: "build information" about his watch . . . Of course,
: this is impossible, given the fact that the Heuer factory does
: not have this information. Between these two extremes, we have
: some options: Do we want to compile a database of every Heuer
: that wishes to be registered, with various features being
: identified for each watch submitted? What do we do when a
: blatant "Franken" is submitted for registration? Do we
: identify the current owner, so that "title" may be
: checked, or is this limited to the watches themselves, with no
: ownership information? Is a primary purpose to detect the
: "fakes" or are we seeking to authenticate, with a
: stamp of approval?
: And Who Is This "We"? Another question is who will
: operate this Registry? The dream might be one centralized
: registry, with a panel of experts to pass on the authenticity of
: the watches and approve the entries (and some sort of
: "staff" to do the routine data entry work)? Of course,
: there could be multiple registries, by period or even by model?
: Could there be a role for TAG-Heuer, in supporting or operating
: a central registry? Of course, the scope of the "we"
: must depend on the scope of the project. It will take a real
: crew if we are seeking to register every surviving Heuer;
: producing a list of years and ranges of serial numbers is not
: much of an effort at all . . . we could do that on the back of
: an envelope, by the first of November . . . maybe!!
: Here's What I (Think I) Know. There has been much recent interest
: in the serial numbers. Ever since a few of us started trying to
: "break the code" of the numbers, we are seeing more
: and more information flowing from these numbers. Notice that
: many ebay auctions of Heuers are now including serial numbers .
: . . this is a recent development. Serial numbers are becoming a
: valuable part of our vocabulary, with more and more information
: being developed every day. Every day, I receive questions by
: e-mail about vintage Heuers. People want information about their
: watches -- dating, authenticity, valuation, etc. I am finding
: that the "Cheat Sheet" is a valuable tool in assessing
: the vintage Heuers. Give me a photo of the dial and tell me the
: serial number, and we can learn a lot about many of the models.
: And a Couple of Concerns. At this early stage of the game, I do
: have a couple of concerns: I am concerned that if we are too
: ambitious, and the registry project is of too large a scale (or
: under-supported on a technical or human level), the registry may
: not be sustainable or it may crumble under its own weight. For
: every number shown in my sample registry of 1940's and 1950's
: chronographs, I have three chronos more waiting to be entered .
: . . it is very labor intensive, at least unless the project is
: supported by a good database. And I don't know how to do
: databases! So we must be realistic about what we are
: undertaking. There are also some policy questions: the frankens;
: the controversies; etc. When the novice collector has just paid
: $8,000 for the Chronomatic Autavia, with a case from 1974, and a
: Cal 12 movement, he will not be happy with whoever is operating
: the registry. Yikes!!
: OK . . . these are just a few preliminary thoughts . . . sorry for
: the rambling and lack of organization in these thoughts. . . in
: my view, there is no urgent need to address all these questions
: now . . . but it is probably timely to begin thinking about
: these issues. And we should think about the Big Question: Why do
: we want to undertake this project?
: Thoughts? Thanks!!