OnTheDash has been online since February 2003. We refreshed the graphics in 2009, but the site has been running on the same software for the past 15 years.
Today, we are introducing an entirely new OnTheDash. The visual design is new, but more importantly, the software that runs the site is entirely new. With this new software, we have incorporated some amazing new features for our readers, whether readers who are new to vintage Heuers or our top experts. We are confident that the new OnTheDash 2018 will serve as a state-of-the-art platform for further development of the site, in the years ahead.
While use of the new OnTheDash should be intuitive, in this posting we will provide a quick overview of some of the key features of the new site.
It’s All About the Database
The heart of the new OnTheDash is a database that covers approximately 575 models and executions of vintage Heuer chronographs, from the mid-1930s through the mid-1980s. For each of these 575 models and executions, we present up to 30 fields of data – color of dial and registers; style of hands; case material and construction; movement; complications; dimensions; serial number range; catalog dates; price when new; etc. So visualize this database as a spreadsheet with 575 rows and 30 columns . . . for a total of approximately 17,000 fields of data.
Here is a small portion of the spreadsheet showing the fields in the database.
Keep in mind that this graphic shows only a small section of the database; the complete spreadsheet would be approximately 40 times the size of this section.
Some sections of the database are derived from our existing reference tables, and some sections of the database are entirely new (for example, the chronographs from the 1940s). Yes, the redesign of OnTheDash was a time consuming project, and building this database probably accounted for a full year of the work. Keep reading, and you’ll see why I believe that this was time well-spent.
Finding Watches is Easy, with the “Watch Finder”
To address the needs of a broad range of users – from the reader discovering his first Heuer watch to the long-time collectors — the new OnTheDash offers three different ways to find watches.
The page where you can find these functions as the Watch Finder, and here is the link — http://www.onthedash.com/watchfinder/
The Watch Finder offers three different ways to find the watches that are included OnTheDash – you can browse, you can select features, or you can do a full-text search of the database.
Watch Browser (Family Trees)
As we have been doing for the last 15 years, OnTheDash present the models of watches and chronographs in “family trees”. Some models have many branches, with even more branches under the branches, and some models only have a couple of branches.
Let’s say that you have just found a Montreal chronograph, and want to do some research to get more information about your watch. The starting point is always the Index page of our chronographs, which covers 38 models or groups of vintage Heuer chronographs.
You click on the Montreal in the main chronograph index, and that will take you to the two main branches of the Montreal tree — the ones powered by the Caliber 12 movement and the ones powered by the Valjoux 7750 movement.
Your watch matches the configuration of the Caliber 12 model, so you click on that one. This click will take you to the Index page for the Montreal Caliber 12, where we see seven different models.
Your watch matches the left-hand watch on the top row, so you click there, and arrive in the Gallery for the Montreal, Reference 110.503 — Blue Dial, Applied markers.
Once you have arrived in the Gallery, you will find complete information for your watch, with the summary description on the right-hand side and complete information in the “baseball card” at the bottom of the Gallery.
A second approach to finding watches on the new OnTheDash is based on selecting the features that are of interest to you. You select the features that you want to search; the database then returns the watches that meet your criteria. For example, you can find all the chronographs:
- with a particular complication
- made of a particular material
- made in a specific year or era
Let’s say for example, that you saw an interesting looking automatic Autavia GMT on the web, and you want to learn more about these watches. You simply select Autavia, Automatic and GMT with “Select Features”, and the Watch Finder shows you the six models made by Heuer.
Click on any of these six models, and you will be in the Gallery for this model.
Experts may also find that the “Select” function is the fastest way to find a specific watch. If you want to find information about the Black PVD Monaco, just select Monaco and black-coated case, and the database returns one watch.
The Search mode allows you to do a full text search on the entire OnTheDash database. So imagine all the text in the OnTheDash watch database, with its 20 to 30 fields for approximately 575 models and executions. Type “Jagger” in the search box, and the search will show you the two models that were worn by Mick Jagger.
And remember that when you use the Search box, you are covering every field in the database. So if you want to see all the models that might have serial number 141xxx, just put that in the Search box and Watch Finder will show you the six models that might have that serial number.
But think about all the 17,000 fields of data in the OnTheDash database, and you will realize the potential of the Search function. Here are some simple examples of the types of searches you can use:
- Reference 3336 chronographs 
- chronographs with orange dials or accents 
- chronographs associated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 
- the Heuer worn by rebel troops in Angola  or worn by the Belgian Air Force 
- Galleries with photos from Analog Shift 
- the gold Carrera with “Orly” on the dial 
The “Search” mode will be a useful way to browse for certain watches and will also provide the quickest route to a specific watch.
Knowing What You are Looking At
The old OnTheDash had hundreds of Galleries showing thousands of beautiful photos of the vintage Heuers, but it was difficult to know what you were looking at. The new style of Gallery addresses this by providing complete information about the watch, while you are looking at it.
Every Gallery includes complete information about the watch that you are viewing.
As you scroll down the Gallery, a summary “card” providing key information about the watch floats down the side of the page.
And when you get to the bottom of the Gallery, you will see the “Baseball Card”, an area showing complete information about the watch.
Going from the Watches to the Words
Another weakness of the old OnTheDash was that there was no good way to link from our Index pages (which show multiple executions of watches) and the photo Galleries (which show samples of a single execution) to blog postings, reference materials and other information about the watches. We had photos of watches and we had words, but it was difficult to connect them.
The new OnTheDash addresses this by allowing us to link from the Index pages and Galleries to postings about the watches, whether included OnTheDash or on other sites. For example, scroll down to the bottom of our Index page showing the eight models of the Skipper, and you will find some related references – in this instance, postings on Hodinkee, HeuerChrono.com, and OnTheDash.
We can also add links from descriptions of individual watches, from Galleries, and from index pages. So whenever you are looking at watches, we can get you to the relevant words, whether a catalog, an auction listing, or a blog posting.
Blog Postings and Notes
While the watch database is the most significant new feature of OnTheDash, in addition to covering the watches, the new site includes all the blog postings from the previous version of OnTheDash, as well as a lot of new postings. You can access all that content through the red Menu.
In addition to the usual blog postings, the new OnTheDash includes a new type of posting, which we are calling “Notes”. The idea of these Notes is to provide a format for quick postings, sharing an interesting watch, a new addition to OnTheDash, a community event, or some other news for the community. The Notes will usually be shorter than the full blog postings, have the smaller square “hero” at the top, and will often direct our readers to interesting new content, OnTheDash or elsewhere.
You can search the full-length blog postings and the Notes using the blue search screen (shown below). This search will also cover the postings grouped by subject matter — Military Timepieces, Racers Wearing Heuers, Related Brands, etc.
But remember that this search is not covering the database of watches. To search for watches, use the Watch Finder function, as described above.
We’re Just Getting Started
We are all excited about the new OnTheDash 2018, but maybe the most exciting aspect of the new site is being on a modern content management platform. Adding three or four new watches to a Gallery used to be a full night’s work, but now we can do that in just a few minutes. Many members of our community have allowed us to use their photos OnTheDash, and hosting these contributions has just gotten much easier.
Some sections of the new OnTheDash are set up as shells, for example, the section on Military Timepieces. On the new platform, it will be much easier complete these sections, perhaps even with postings from members of our community.
Our Community. Thanks to all the amazing folks who have participated in the creation of OnTheDash 2018. First and foremost, to all the members of the vintage Heuer community who have contributed their time and energy. Some of you have provided images of a single watch; some have allowed me to pull from your archives of beautiful photos; some of you have spent weeks and months in the effort to catalog these old watches.
Whether it’s the photos, the information, a blog posting, or the moral support, your contributions are greatly appreciated. I am honored to sit somewhere near the center of this spider’s web of vintage Heuer enthusiasts, pulling the pieces together into some sort of site that we can all enjoy.
TAG Heuer. Thanks to TAG Heuer for providing the “down payment” to get this project started, back in 2014. As any home buyer or venture capitalist knows, the early money is often the most critical. Your generosity allowed this pauper to end up in a mansion! Thanks also for collaborating in the launch of the new site.
Wondersauce. Huge thanks to the absolutely amazing crew at Wondersauce, the digital design agency that created OnTheDash.
The style and functionality of OnTheDash 2018 reflect a deep understanding of the purpose and content of the site, and the community of watch enthusiasts that uses the site. This understanding of watches and watch collecting was helpful in building the perfect site for our community.
Our four-month project turned into a four-year project, but your commitment to the project and to the highest standards of professionalism never wavered. Whether you were fueled by the humble payments or the deep passion for beautiful watches and beautiful websites, your your work was always amazing.
I offer the highest praise when I recognize that the OnTheDash team at Wondersauce is comprised of “watch guys”, and even more importantly “Heuer guys”. Thanks for creating the website that our community and these watches deserve!