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Author Topic: Did Heuer ever make watches for Zodiac? or Internet Mythology 101  (Read 5021 times)

Offline Butch

  • My postings are my personal opinons based on 25+ years of collecting Zodiacs and the reference materials in my possession.
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NO!

Whew, I feel better now. At least to my knowledge they did not. In 20 years now I have not turned up any documentation that ever confirmed, nor even suggested that Heuer ever made any watches for Zodiac. And when I have asked those on the Internet the perpetuate this myth they always ask me if I am blind, the watches are identical.

I believe that by the 1950's (if not before) the Swiss watch industry had already splintered into companies that specialized in cases, movements, and dials. Most Swiss watch manufactures would contract these specialists for the parts they needed, and then brought the parts in house for assembly. If there were no exclusivity agreements signed then these specialist companies were able to resell their products to other companies after re-branding them for the new customer.

This is why you see chronographs that look similar from other companies such as Zodiac, Heuer, Baylor, and many others. Another example of this is the super compressor deep diving watch. Zodiac had the Super Sea Wolf. Luxor had the International. Edox had the Diamatic, and Gruen the Precision.

So, Heuer, just like Zodiac, bought their cases, movements, and dials from these specialist companies and assembled their own, individual models in house. Anyone having reviewed the Zodiac literature that describes their extremely large manufacturing facility should ask themselves, why would Zodiac, a medium sized Swiss watch company, need another company to make watches for them? Here is an outtake of said literature.


"In 1945 business had grown to such an extent that the other brother (Maurice Calame) took over as commercial director. The company was classified as one of the leading medium sized watch companies, but its premises had again become too small. The inauguration ot the new factory, Bellevue 25 in Le Locle, did not go unnoticed. Its bold architecture - Le Locle is not far from La Chaux-de-Fonds, the birthplace of Le Corbusier - in an eyecatching position above the town and its station, is evidence of a certain brave spirit of enterprise.

The same went in 1966 for the large extension and the inauguration of a new building adjoining the earlier one: an ultra-modern factory much commented on in the Swiss press, particularly the specialized press from which we have taken the following: in the last five years the watch industry's average rate of increase was 8%. During the last four years Zodiac doubled its sales, which is equivalent to an annual growth rate of 25%.

This growth was the result of a substantial effort in terms of production and the use of modern machines, while profits achieved through rationalization were systematically reinvested in quality, for which there were 92 control stations during the course of manufacture. Zodiac's level of quality, confirmed by the Watch Testing Office - the manufacturers' bogy - was 50 % higher than the Swiss average."


Now, I am certainly not infallible. If you would like to bring some evidence to the table that disputes any of this, I am not only happy to listen but even willing to make any needed corrections to this, should that occasion arise.

I would like to leave you with one final thought. If Heuer made the chronographs for Zodiac, can someone please show me the Heuer version of the model # 4576 Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Three Register Chronograph?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2014, 09:36:42 am by Butch »
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