In the 1960s, Heuer was THE chronograph brand, its Carrera, Autavia, Camaro and Monza wrist timers seen on the wrists of race car drivers and well-heeled enthusiasts alike.
But being the leading brand, they were more expensive than a lot of armchair racers could afford. This gave rise to the so-called “Poor Man’s Heuer”, those chronographs that resembled Heuers and, in some cases, even made by Heuer for other brands. Many of those brands had names lost to history—Clebar, Aristo and Tradition—while others lived on to the present day in one form or another. We've been working hard for the past few years to source and present the best examples of these stunning and budget-conscious timepieces, but the one we have for you today really is truly a different kind of awesome; a Hamilton "Carrera" Dato!
At first glance, this chrono shares a number of design elements with the other "Poor Man's Heuers" we have featured in the past; a trim 36mm steel case with sharp, flat lugs, barrel pushers, and matte inverse panda dial. What sets it apart is the date feature, a true rarity in any Carrera - Poor Man's or otherwise. Heuer brand Carreras had their date function located at 9:00 in lieu of a subsidiary seconds register, an asymmetrical layout that is either loved or loathed by collectors. By placing the date at 6:00, the balance of the dial is maintained, making this Hamilton an arguably better looking version than the name brand!
Internally, this piece features the robust Valjoux 7734 manual winding chronograph movement, a workhorse unit used widely by Heuer in the 60s and 70s. With values on early Carreras reaching new heights as of late, the value proposition for Poor Man's versions continues to gain strength. But aside from all of that - aside from the connection to Heuer, the motorsports pedigree, and the evewr-increasing value of vintage sporting chronographs, this is an outright stunning timepiece with an excellent movement, one you can wear with pride, regardless of the cost.
In other words, this is one time being “poor” isn’t a bad thing.
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