Within the world of vintage chronographs, there is one brand that consistently ranks as one of the most influential, and it is none other than Heuer. Founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer – who is recognised as registering a patent for his own chronograph movement in 1882, the brand's credentials are indisputable. While brands like Rolex and Omega often make claims pertaining to the chronograph, it was Heuer that lay the groundwork for other brands to build on.
One such model that Heuer used to build that framework was their ref. 345. Released in the early '40s, the ref. 345 predates the model names that Heuer was known for, such as the Monaco and Carrera. During the '30s, Heuer was well-versed in creating pilots chronographs with two registers. By the mid-'40s, Heuer had decided to branch into three register timepieces with the ref. 345, to cater for those that needed the extra functionality. To achieve this, Heuer powered the ref. 345 with the rare Valjoux cal. 71 movement.
On offer here I have a beautiful black gilt dial ref. 345 complete with its original radium filled hands, and radium painted military-style Arabic numerals. Hinting at the importance of its ease of use, the ref. 345 also came with an unusual mushroom-top shaped pusher – to ensure users wearing gloves did not need to take them off just to operate the watch. In addition to its excellent condition, this timepiece also bares a Portuguese import stamp, hinting at its provenance and previous life.