Founded in 1892 in New York City, New York, by David T. Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch, Abercrombie & Fitch (or “A & F”) was an elite outfitter of sporting and excursion goods, particularly noted for its expensive shotguns, fishing rods, fishing boats, and tents. By 1917, the Abercrombie & Fitch occupied a twelve-floor building at Madison Avenue and 45th Street, where it stocked exotic sporting equipment that included hot air balloons, yachting pennants, portable trampolines, treadmills for exercising dogs, throwing knives, shirts of chainmail, leopard collars, and everything a person could possibly need for falconry.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Abercrombie & Fitch operated two large “destination” stores, in New York City and Chicago, and A & F called on Heuer to produce a line of chronographs for the retailer. Representatives of Abercrombie & Fitch met with senior executives of Ed. Heuer & Co. on a regular basis, and Abercrombie & Fitch sought the very best models of the Heuer chronographs. In many instances, standard chronographs from the Heuer catalog were sold with the Abercrombie & Fitch name across the top of the dial, replacing the Heuer shield.
In some instances, however, the representatives of Abercrombie & Fitch went beyond the models in the Heuer catalog, to suggest innovative models that Heuer could develop for Abercrombie and then add to its own catalog. The most well known of these models are the Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer, which Heuer then offered as its Mareographe, and the Abercrombie & Fitch Solunar, which Heuer offered with the name Solunar and the Heuer shield.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Heuer produced some Autavias and Carreras for Abercrombie & Fitch. These models have the “Heuer” shield across the top of the dial and the “Abercrombie & Fitch” name on the bottom of the dial, on some models, wrapped around the hour recorder. Because the Heuer name appeared on the dial, we refer to these as “co-branded” watches, rather than “private label” models.
In addition to the chronographs, Heuer produced a full line of stopwatches and dashboard timers that were offered either under the “Abercrombie & Fitch” name or co-branded with both the Heuer and the A & F names on the dial.