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The Heuer 1000 – A Vintage Quartz To Melt Hearts

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Sometimes the greatest watches are those which fly so elegantly under the radar that it takes a conscious effort to recognise and acknowledge how they complement our life. If we want to acknowledge these watches we have to ask ourselves however one question; what need does it fulfil which elevates it to an irreplaceable asset?

While the Heuer 1000 was not the first proper dive watch on the block (that title undoubtedly belongs to the Rolex submariner) it was the first watch which managed to share the vision of the perfect dive watch with the people who arguably needed it most.

In 1979 at a trade fair for sporting goods and fashion Jack Heuer noticed that there was a call for a more affordable water sports watch. A watch which could be branded yet did not compromise in functionality.

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Born was the idea for the Heuer 1000 range. An idea which not only went on to save the company from a crisis, but also formed the future design language of the brand.

The design itself is clearly styled along the Rolex Submariner, and Jack Heuer himself admits to that. The reason for that is simple, the Submariner works. It performs by making sure to incorporate just enough features to do its job, yet restrains from an overwhelming complexity. That is true up until one point which helped the Heuer 1000 to gain momentum over the submariner; the movement.

True to their conservative nature Rolex incorporated a mechanical movement. Jack Heuer instead opted for a quartz movement. The quoted reason for that is that it would avoid wearing out the winding crown. This was found by customers to be a common weakness even for the best mechanical pieces, exposed by the poor power reserve and accuracy mechanical watches hold in comparison.


Next to their undeniable reliability (reliable enough by the way for James Bond in “The Living Daylights”), quartz watches manage to challenge our appreciation of watches. It is easy to forgive a design flaw if the movement has some stunning yet hardly noticeable feature. When purchasing a quartz watch however the true selling point is the actual watch itself. A fine polishing can no longer distract from the question at hand, does this watch do its job? And for the Heuer 980.013 that is a very simple answer; yes.

The slim case and the weight benefit from the quartz movement make the Heuer 1000 not only a durable but a highly wearable watch to own. The thin lugs and the jubilee bracelet manage to capture the design language of the 1980s and carry a nostalgic notion which is only complemented by the wonderful patina as best highlighted on the dial.

The Heuer 1000 is not the watch for everyone watch, but ironically it was made to be worn by anyone and everyone. It was made in a time where functionality stood first, and horological complexity second. It was made in a time where you could proudly bears the word quartz on your dial, and there are few other watches which carry that word in such style. An undeniable success story to this day, this is a watch which demands an open mind, but is all the more rewarding once you let it in, as it is sure to surprise you in ways you could not have imagined before.