Of all the chronographs that Heuer has made over the last 158 years, the Temporada must be one of the strangest. And of the six versions of the Temporada, the Reference 733.809 S (“Racing” version) is the strangest. But before we get to the “weirdest of the weird”, we’ll start with the more mainstream Temporadas. For a comprehensive overview of the Temporada, including some excellent photos, see the article by Michael Stockton on Fratyello Watches.
Overview of the Temporada
Consistent with Heuer’s theme of naming its chronographs after racing venues or events, the Temporada got its name from the races held in Argentina, during Formula One’s off-season. Depending on the source, these races may have been held in the 1940s, the 1950s or the 1960s, or perhaps all three of these decades.
Introduced in 1972, the Temporada was entirely different from the other chronographs offered by Heuer at that time. We must assume that most of these differences arose from Heuer’s objective of producing chronographs that would be less expensive than the Autavias, Carreras and Monacos that stood at the center of Heuer’s line-up.
The defining feature of the Temporada is its fiberglass case, which utilizes monocoque construction, the body of the case essentially being a cup that holds the movement. So rather than accessing the movement by removing the case-back, you get to it by removing the acrylic crystal and then removing the movement through the front of the watch.
The bezel is as unique as the case — a chrome-plated piece, with an undulating shape and a brushed finish. Let’s mention again that everything about the Temporada is weird.
Temporadas are powered by the Valjoux 7733 movement. Dimensions are 42 millimeters across the dial, and 41 millimeters from lug to lug. That’s right, the lugs end rather abruptly, giving the case an almost round shape.
The Temporada was first shown in Heuer’s 1972 catalog.
Current Market. For the longest time, the Temporadas were ignored. Whether this was on aesthetic grounds, or perhaps because of confusion with the Easy Rider models, they remained an affordable entry level vintage Heuer chronographs. Recently, there has been more interest in these watches, but they remain relatively affordable, by vintage Heuer standards. The market for these is thin however, and relatively choppy, so it would not be unusual seeing one offered at $800 and a similar one at $2,800.
The “Racing” Model
In 1972, Heuer introduced the Caliber 15 movement, the “economy” version of the Caliber 12 movement that had been introduced in 1969. Three modifications made the Caliber 15 movement less expensive than the Caliber 12 — (a) the Caliber 12 uses a Glucydur balance, and the Caliber 15 uses a brass balance, (c) the Caliber 12 uses Incabloc shock protection, and the Caliber 15 uses a KIF system, and (c) the Caliber 12 has fine (micro) tuning in its regulation (through two screws on the balance bridge), and the Caliber 15 does not provide for micro regulation. For a detailed look at the Caliber 15 movement, have a look HERE.
To promote its new Caliber 15 chronographs, Heuer published a pamphlet covering these models.
While this pamphlet was dedicated to the Caliber 15 chronographs, on the inside back page we see an unusual sight — a strange version of the Temporada chronograph. It’s almost as if Heuer had a page of the catalog left over, so they decided to add this one stray, and very strange, watch.
If the Temporada is a weird watch, with its monocoque fiberglass case and undulating bezel, then the Racing model is the weirdest of the weird. To go full 1970s with the watch, Heuer added a checkerboard racing pattern to the center of the dial. The registers move from the rounded rectangles of the standard models to more conventional circles, but there are circles in the circles.
Current Market. Assessing the market for the Racing Temporada is difficult. Over the past five years, I have seen exactly one of them offered for sale, and that’s the one I bought. I believe that given the scarcity, and the over-the-top style, the Racing Temporada should merit a premium over any of the standard models. If you like it, and you see one, then grab it! You should not expect to have a second chance!!