LeJour Chronograph
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LeJour Chronograph

The 1970s were a time of great change in the watch industry. They were a decade marked not only by advances in technology, but by innovation in design as well. Avant-garde designs like Gerald Genta’s creations for Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, the Royal Oak and Nautilus, were blueprints for the funky styles that would follow.

And in the world of chronographs, Heuer was experimenting as well. The svelte cases of the 1960s, typified by the long-lugged Carrera, gave way to the cushion case of the Autavia, or the stocky square case of the Monaco. Throughout the 70s, as Heuer populated its collection with watches powered by the Calibre 11 or Chronomatic movement, almost all of its chronographs would be equipped with the new cushion cases.

As for the thousands of cases that Heuer churned out for manual-wind chronographs, they didn’t lay disused—many were sold to private labels or distribution companies for export.

One of those companies was LeJour.

Though best known for being a distributor of French brand Yema, known for their popular regatta timers, LeJour also distributed watches made by other brands. In the late 1970s, LeJour entered into such a relationship with Heuer. Many of the watches LeJour sold for Heuer had the distinctive profile of the Carrera, leading to their being called “poor man’s Carreras.”

It’s uncertain how this arrangement began, but some speculate that as Heuer rolled out chronographs powered by automatic movements, companies like LeJour were able to snatch up the cases for manual-wind chronographs for pennies on the dollar. By the 1980s this relationship between LeJour and Heuer was formalized. Heuer produced versions of their chronographs, like the PVD-coated Pasadena, which LeJour then sold under its own name.

This particular chronograph, dating from the 1970s, has a lot going for it that would make any collector of vintage chronographs happy.

The looks are there - a distinctive speckled reverse-panda dial with flashes of red, which has gained an incredible patina over time, especially across the luminescent elements. Inside the handsome stainless steel case with long, gracefully curved lugs beats the ever-dependable Valjoux 7733 handwound chronograph movement.

All that's missing is a big name on the dial and the price tag to go along with it.

Details

SKU: TT01220

Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Valjoux Calibre 7733.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition with minimal signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and patina to the luminescent elements. Unsigned crown.

Includes one 19mm leather strap.

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