The List




The List


Heuer Silverstone


There must have been few jobs around in the 1960s and 1970s that were easier than the one that involved being responsible for naming new Heuer sports watches. Step one – realise that Heuer has associations with motorsport. Step two – think of a suitably famous European racetrack. Step three – name watch after racetrack. Step four – repeat as necessary. Step five – retire to restaurant for three Martini lunch.

This actually became quite a successful marketing ploy, though, emphasising the brand’s connections with a glamorous sport, which helped to shift units and, with the Monaco and Monza, at least, unwittingly providing watches for its descendant - Tag Heuer - to reissue and reinvent, some years later, for a post modern client base eager to own recreations of the brand’s iconic timepieces.

Which leads us to a lesser known variant of this theme: the Heuer Silverstone, which was named after the iconic British race circuit, and which has earned its place on The List by virtue of its sleek 1970s futurist aesthetics and its rarity (especially in our favoured blue dial form, as worn by the Swiss Formula One driver, Clay Regazzoni) meaning that ownership is generally restricted to those with the good taste and time to undertake the task of seeking one out.

Launched in 1974, the Silverstone was fitted with Heuer’s calibre 12 automatic movement with 17 jewels, which was a development of the calibre 11 that had been used in the original Monaco some years earlier. The main improvements over the earlier movement were a superior winding system and a faster beat rate of 21,600 bph.

The overall design of the Silverstone falls somewhere between the flamboyance of the Monaco and the more austere, classical appearance of the Carrera, enabling it to be one of the few sports watches from Heuer that, in blue dial form at least, can be worn with both casual and formal clothes without seeming incongruous.

The case itself is fairly large, especially for a watch of this era, at 42 mm excluding the crown, but the smooth lines and highly polished finish hide its bulk well, and it is not overpowering on the wrist, or particularly heavy. The crown is sited, unusually, on the left hand side of the watch; a fact that Heuer’s marketing department seized upon, stating in promotional literature that it was a reminder that ‘this chronograph never needs winding’. The truth was somewhat more prosaic, though: the placement of the crown was a technical necessity related to the modular nature of the chronograph.

The Silverstone’s low profile in the popular consciousness, which has, no doubt, partly been a consequence of Tag Heuer’s seeming reluctance to manufacture a reissue, means not only that values are lower than equivalent Monacos, but also that they have a degree of exclusivity that is rare in mass produced watches. There can be few other timepieces that can offer the same combination of rarity, versatility and thoroughbred good looks at this price, so we can only advise that you seek one out now before the market realises that they are significantly undervalued.