Between 1966 and 1968, Heuer made chronographs and stopwatches for the International Motor Speedway, with the distinctive “Wings and Wheel” Speedway logo on the dial. We see the Wings and Wheel IMS logo on the dial of five different Heuer timepieces, as follows:
- two register Heuer Autavia chronograph (Reference 3646), with a unique silver-white dial, in the second execution Autavia Reference 3646 case [shown here]
- Heuer Carrera 45 Dato chronograph (Reference 3147S), first execution, with silver dial and registers [shown here]
- Heuer Carrera 45 Dato chronograph (Reference 3147N), second execution, with black dial and white register [shown here]
- Heuer Carrera 45 Dato chronograph (Reference 3147S), second execution, with silver dial and silver register [shown here]
- Heuer 52 millimeter stopwatch, with 3-minute capacity and 1/100 second indication, Reference 503.220; shown on page 4.1 of Heuer’s 1968/69 Heuer catalog.
It appears that the four models of “Wings and Wheel” IMS chronographs were produced in very limited quantities, with fewer than 12 of each of the four models being seen in the hands of collectors or on the market in recent years. The “Wings and Wheels” IMS stopwatches seem to have been produced in greater quantities, although we have seen fewer than 30 of these stopwatches in recent years.
Market Prices for the Heuer IMS Wings and Wheel Timepieces
The Autavia and Carrera chronographs with the “Wings and Wheel” logo of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway sell at a substantial premium to the standard production models of these chronographs. In June 2017, Christie’s sold one of the IMS Autavias at a price of $199,500, and in the same auction a pair of the stopwatches, in a rubber case, sold for $18,750. [You can see these timepieces here.] At Phillips “Heuer Parade” auction, a Heuer Carrera 45 Dato chronograph (Reference 3147N), second execution, sold for 32,500 CFH.
The Autavia with the IMS logo is a unique model, as there is no standard production version of the Autavia with this same white dial. Comparable two-register Autavias with black dials (Reference 3646, second execution case, known as the “Mario Andretti Autavia”) might sell in the range of $15,000 to $20,000. The standard issue Carrera 45 Datos typically sell in the range between $8,000 and $12,000. The Reference 503.220 stopwatches might sell in the $200 to $300 range.
Dial with Fake Logo Sold on eBay
In an eBay auction that ended on May 25, 2019 (eBay item number 333202294075) a dial for a Carrera 45 Dato, Reference 3147N, shown below, sold for $1,575. Oddly enough, the eBay description included the following – “I have been told by some experts that the Indianapolis Logo has been added and is not original. Please bid accordingly.”
Based on analysis of photos showing Heuer chronographs with authentic dials, and discussions with individuals familiar with the process of making these “custom” dials back in the 1960s, I am confident that the “Wings and Wheel” logo was not printed onto the dial by the company that did this work for Heuer. Rather than the logo being printed on the dial, it appears that the logo has been painted onto the dial, a process that was never used in the dials made for Heuer. Also notice that the wings are positioned too low on the dial (with a gap between the end of the wing and the minute recorder), and the logo has been painted on top of the “T Swiss” marking at the bottom of the dial (whereas the genuine IMS Carrera dials are marked “Swiss”.
Shown below is an authentic “Wings and Wheel” Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo that has been printed on the dial of a Carrera 45 Dato. Notice that the logo is almost touching the chronograph minute recorder and the dial is marked “Swiss”, rather than “T Swiss”. Close examination of authentic “Wings and Wheel” logos reveals several “telltales” of the correctly printed dial. There is no need to describe these here; the differences between the authentic printed dial and the fake painted dial are easy to see.
Here is an interesting posting describing the use of pad transfer printing to make watch dials.
With someone paying over $1,500 for this Carrera dial, we must expect that it will be made into a watch and offered for sale. Our best advice to anyone purchasing an Heuer Autavia or Carrera with the “Wings and Wheel” Indianapolis Motor Speedway dial – examine the watch or photos very carefully. There is a clear difference between a painted dial and a printed dial, and in this situation that may be the difference between a watch worth over $30,000 and a watch that is just about worthless, at least to most collectors.
. . . and Looking Back
Special thanks to a 79 year-old woman, who was affiliated with the company that printed the special dials for Heuer, back in the 1960s, and to a 76 year-old man, who was then affiliated with Heuer. Your recollections and explanations of how these special dials were made were absolutely fantastic!!