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Zodiac was a company created by Heuer

Started by poulbrix, September 08, 2015, 05:20:16 PM


I too brought it the the vendors attention, and this is what i got back

"Dear jmh86325,

I appreciate the kind comment. I respect that you're trying to correct me - but as far as I've researched, Heuer did in fact produce watches for Zodiac.

Here is one of many excerpts online:

Collectors Weekly: What about the Heuers that were sold under other brand names?
Stein: During the '60s and '70s, Heuer produced watches for several other companies. Heuer made a line for Sears Roebuck that they marketed under the Tradition brand. Today these are known as the poor man's Heuers. Heuer also made a line for Abercrombie & Fitch for adventurers, explorers, and people like that. Heuer, Breitling, and Omega were good watches, but they were really targeting Main Street. A normal Heuer watch might have sold for $200, so they weren't generally considered luxury items.

In fact, back in the days when there were hundreds of Swiss watch brands, second-tier brands like Zodiac wanted to have their own line of chronographs to put in their catalog to go along with their regular watches. Instead of making them, they paid Heuer to do the manufacturing.

As a result, today you can find a Zodiac that will be almost identical to the Heuer that came off the same assembly line and used the exact same components. Of course, instead of saying Heuer on the dial it will say Zodiac. In similar condition, that watch would now sell for 30 percent of the price of a Heuer. By the same token, a certain Heuer-made Dugena might cost $500 today while the same watch branded as a Heuer would cost $3,500."

so there you go!... if its on the internet it must be true :twothumbsup


I saw that auction too and laughed   :lafing

As for the article he is basing that on, we have already been down that road with Mr. Stein.  He admitted that his statement of "facts" are based on a "private" conversation that he had with someone that he cannot provide any proof of or concrete corroboration/evidence of the claims therein.  When pressed further, we were labeled as "just causing trouble" and "not knowing what we were talking about"; ie that we were stupid and should not question an expert.  Talking to them was almost like confronting a cult, and their reaction was how a cult would behave when questioned.

His "facts" have zero validity, but this is the internet so even the mindless can have minions.....


What grinds my gears is that everyone in those days used the same set of casemakers, the same suppliers of dials and hands, and the same ebaucheries. Similarities prove nothing.

The original Carrera, for example, used a stock case by Piquarez, who sold cases to everyone in those days including Rolex. Here's a quote from an interview of Jack Heuer:

"Interviewer: Who did Heuer work with on the design of the first watch- for example, Singer for the dial, Piquarez for the case?

Jack Heuer: For the design we would work with a limited amount of suppliers, like the two who you mentioned. They would suggest the case based on some new tools they had created for stamping out the base shape of the case. You normally would not ask for a new shape to avoid having to pay the tool cost, but select a model from their existing collection of  stamping shapes."

Zodiac (and everyone else) used similar suppliers.

Companies also formed coalitions. One such was the "Community of Precision Watchmaking", which I've written about before on this site. That group included (among some others): Ebel, Girard-Perregaux, Eberhard, Doxa, Zodiac, and Favre-Leuba (not Heuer). That group was formed in 1957 and was responsible for working with A. Schild to create autowinding versions of the AS 1687, and also high-beat versions, which all of the above marketed in that time.

Companies made watches for each other all the time, but there's nothing about a Heuer chronograph with a Valjoux 72 in it that makes it fundamentally different than a Zodiac with a Valjoux 72. Just as the Heuer Carrera 1964 Re-Edition of the middle 90's is not much different than an Omega Speedmaster Professional, both of which use the same Lemania 1873 hand-wind chronograph movement, and both of which have dials and cases from the same suppliers.

I wonder if any of these experts have ever actually been to Switzerland. Zodiac had a factory, which is still there and which still says Zodiac on it, but it was simply an assembly plant where they also regulated and tested finished watches. Guess what? That's all Heuer had in those days, too.

One thing Heuer had that Zodiac did not: Jack Heuer, who really was a great marketing genius. He was the brains behind making a deal with Enzo Ferrari to plaster the Heuer logo all over Formula 1 race cars in the early 70's, and that's what made people of my age want one. But then were also moved by those old Zodiac ads guaranteeing accuracy to a minute a month, but while Formula 1 was still cool after quartz watches became popular, a minute a month was no longer impressive.

The notion of Zodiac being a lower tier than Heuer made me giggle. The original steel Carrera, based on a ad that Chuck Maddox put on his web site, was priced at $95 if it included the 12-hour counter. That's exactly the same price as a tiny square Universal Geneve 2-hand dress watch in steel, which I have in its original box with price tag:

A Rolex was only a bit more ($50 or $100 based on model). A JLC automatic of that era was about $300. A 1964 Longines Flagship in steel was $150 in 1965. And a Clebar chronograph in the 1966 Zodiac catalog is $110-120 for a hand-wind 12-hour model.

Rick "but those, you know, would be facts" Denney

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