The Heuer Carrera would have to be one of the most iconic timepieces ever created. Designed by Jack Heuer in the early 60’s, the Carrera line still exists till this day with early models becoming some of the most desired vintage watches in the market.
With the Carrera, legibility underpinned all of its design cues, with Jack Heuer taking an obsessive stance on stripping away all that was unnecessary and presenting only the most important information on the watch dial. The result was a clean chronograph that has stood the test of time, still looking relevant today.
While there are many fans of the Heuer Carrera out there, this example is perhaps the rarest Carrera ever made: the Ref. 7753 produced for the Belgian Air Force. Yes, you heard right. Most people, and that includes collectors, do not even know this exists.
In the late 1960s, the Congo Crisis was a huge period of political upheaval and conflict, just after Congo became independent from Belgium. As a result, Belgian forces were utilised and investments were made in the military, including what you see here today. We know that there was a very small 250 unit order for the watch, but the interesting thing is that there are less than 10 known examples in the world today. I am confident that there are more, but I would also assume that a lot were destroyed as they were used in action.
This Heuer Carrera 7753 was produced and issued to the LuM-Faé (Lucht Macht – Forces Aériennes) as denoted by the caseback, which were the Belgian Air Force. Not only is this piece unique by its engravings on the caseback, but it features a unique matte black dial with luminous Arabic numerals and thick luminous hands. This is a consistent design that we see through any military watch in the world and to see one in a Carrera case is simply just stunning.
While the big bad German Heuer Bund is the most well known military piece from Heuer, it is important to note that they produced watches for quite a few militaries, including the Israeli Defence Force, the Kenyan Army and of course, the Belgian Air Force. While most will associate Heuer with racing, their military history is perhaps just as colourful.