Heuer Regatta – the “5 dots”

Again, the start of an regatta is a hot thing, all the boats crossing behind an invisible line and try to be on this line at the starting signal. The visibility of the time needs colors – so the dots are colored and the subdials like on the Skipper too.

At first there were the stopwatches produced as yachting versions with different countdown times: 5, 10 and 15 minutes. As some stopwatches for some reasons were put on the wrist with straps it was a matter of time to put the function in wristwatches.

There are 2 “big” methodes of showing an countdown of 5 or 10 minutes before an sailing regatta starts.

1. Visualisation in a subdial with different register (colors, numbers, special bezel)

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such as: Skipper, Yachtingraf etc
credit: K.

2. Visualisation with 5 dots with different colors (mostly white/red/blue)

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Heuer Regatta
credit: Stewart | heuerville.co.uk

It is realized with a coloured indicator disc turning as countdown and showing the colors from start of the countdown to the start of the race.  Simple and very good readable.

The “5 dots” Yachtings

1914 – that means exact 100 years 5-dots! …some historical facts

1914_Berna

Model registration. No 24714 dated September 4, 1914
credit: Joel Pynson

The countdowns are shown as normal subdials on the dials of these yachting stop watches or with special hands showing the minutes. On the different possibilities of showing the countdown with the rotating indicator disk with the 5 dots (holes) showing the change of color for every 1 minute of the 5-minutes countdown was developed (and registered as patent with model registration above) by Berna 100 years ago.

1913_berna_patent

Swiss patent CH65942 filed by Berna Watch Co on August 12th 1913 for a ‘totalisateur’.
credit: Joel Pynson

The patent for the first 5-dots in 1913 was given to BERNA WATCH Co., St.-Imier. It was in 1914 the first sold yachting stopwatch with 5-dots changing the colors for the starting sequence of a regatta.

The first known Berna “in flesh” we know and that´s shown on Marks page should be from around 1930´s, as the spare-parts compartment was added under the influence of Leonidas.

Now we need some business facts!

Berna was created in 1864 and became Droz et Cie in 1887. Berna than was the name of one of their watch models. Around 1905 the company changed its name to Frabrique d’Horlogerie Berna S.A. and later in 1908 it became Berna Watch Co.

Berna_Watch_Co__Inserate_FH__30__Oktober_1909_A_700x212

Watch-manufacturer Ferdinand Bourquin (1845-1903), sun of Julien Bourquin (1815-1897) as founder of the watchcompany around 1841, officially registered the name “LEONIDAS” in 1902 as brand for watches. He built different stopwatches and got some patents (for instance here).

1911/12 Leonidas was bought by Constant Jeanneret-Droz, the new name of the factory was: “Leonidas Watch Factory, Jeanneret-Droz”.

What a history!
Interesting fact and link to another famous watch-builder of (yachting) watches
: Constant Jeanneret-Droz is one of the three sons of Jules-Frédéric Jeanneret (1830-1892) – the founder of the company which is the predecessor of Excelsior Park. First the brothers had a own manufacture named “Jeanneret Frères” and split around 1900. Constant did his own manufacture and take over the Leonidas and the brother of Constant – Henri Jeanneret-Brehm – founded his own manufacture too at the same time: the later Excelsior Park. Excelsior was the name for the stopwatches and later for repeater watches and became the name of the company around 1918. In the cooperation with Gallet they created some great yachting watches.

1916 Constant Jeanneret-Droz died and his sons Charles and Ernest Jeanneret became the owner of “Leonidas Watch Factory, Les Fils Jeanneret-Droz”

Due to economic issues Berna was bought in 1928 by Charles Jeanneret, one of the owners of Leonidas. They kept using the Berna brand mainly for stop watches and chronographs. In the 1950’s the Berna brand name disappeared when Leonidas joined Heuer later.

In the 1930´s Leonidas shows their first yachting timer on a advertisment and here is the first branded Yachting Timer from around 1950, realized with a caliber Venus 120 (using since 1949) modified with a regatta module they developed for it.

Marks Grail - Leonidas Yachting Timer

First Leonidas branded 5-dots-stopwatch
credit: Mark

1964 the companies Leonidas Watch Factory and Ed. Heuer were merged to “Heuer-Leonidas S.A.” – with Jack Heuer as president. Some time after that watches was produced under the brand HEUER-LEONIDAS. After the merge with TAG in 1985 the brand LEONIDAS was not used anymore.

So this prove the great historical skills of Heuer for building yachting timers.


Source and inspiration for the company history line:
For a long time Marks “Grail” was the early Leonidas Yachting Timer – seems to be the first regatta timer with the 5 dots on the dial in the former history of Heuer. Maybe he changed his mind after the discovery of the earlier Berna Yachting Timer in August 2014 and have now 2 grails 😉

Source of the text and pics: big thank to Mark Reichardt and Joel Pynson to figure out the first 5-dots stopwatch from Berna. Read all on Marks page here.



1960´s – the Felsa 4000N movement and the first Heuer 5 dots Regate

The grandmother of the 5 dots is the Aquastar Regate with the Felsa 4000N movement. It is modified with a special drive wheel for the colordisc.

credit: Mark

Aquastar Regate (Felsa 4000N)
credit: Richard Askham

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This watch was branded with the Heuershield too, starting with the partnership from Heuer with Aquastar in the middle of the 60´s.
Since then Heuer sells 5 dots Regatta-watches under his brand, all produced by Aquastar and later with using the Autavia-Cases by their own production.

Aquastar_Felsa_12

Aquastar Regate Heuer – the fist Heuer 5 dots
credit: Jeff Stein | onthedash.com

And Heuer starts the marketing for that Aquastar Regate, labeled with the Heuershield.

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credit: onthedash.com, Jeff Stein

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credit: onthedash.com, Jeff Stein

The proof of using a Heuer watch for the regattas seems to be the find of an Aquastar Heuer Regate “Intrepid” on eBay in 11/2014. The serial on the back are in line with other known Heuer Aquastars, the main hands may be changed but the seller said: <<According to the person I bought this from: “He confirmed that his father received the watch as a gift from Heuer.  His father was one of the crew members on the trial horse for the Intrepid.  His father was a skipper on the 1967 Constellation.>>

Here you find the known serials of the rare Aquastar Heuer Regate with the modified movement Felsa 4000N:

Heuer Aquastar Regate (Felsa 4000N)Special
401577
401593
401930
401977
402381INTREPID
402812
403606
404450
406457
406759
501982

1970´s – the Lemania 1345 movement (build in Aquastar Regate, Tissot, Omega, Heuer, Lemania)

Beginning of the 1970’s one of Lemania’s star designers Albert Piquet developed the regatta caliber 1345 for Aquastar, based on their patent for a 10 minutes countdown timer. The regatta caliber 1345 is derived from the 1341 movement, and is the successor of the first regatta movement, the caliber Felsa 4000N (by the earlier 5 minutes count-down timer patent from Aquastar from the 1960’s).

After the introduction of the Aquastar Regate the Lemania 1345 movement comes available for other brands as well. Several case versions of the Regatta Yachttimers are sold by Aquastar and Tissot. In the 1980’s also Omega, Heuer and Lemania itself used the 1345 movement in different regatta watches.

Whats going on with Heuer?

In 1983 the first 5dot-Regattawatch was launched – the 134.505, with a 10min countdown shown with the 5 dots. Two versions: black and nickle dial. And they launched the hottest of the Heuer 5 dots – the 134.601 Regatta in a Autaviastyle case. That one comes in 3 colors: black PVD, green military PVD (134.602) and grey (134.603).

1983

1983 catalogue
credit: onthedash

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The “Military Regatta” – green PVD Heuer Regatta
credit: HH

Stewart from heuerville.co.uk shot the whole sentence of countdown and you find the pictures here.

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Heuer Regatta 134.601
credit: Stewart | heuerville

1983_2

1983 catalogue
credit: onthedash

Two other 5 dots are launched – the wrist-stopwatch 202.515, a nice and good to wear on the wrist Regatta-Timer with 30metres waterresistance. Interesting is the fact, Mark told me – it seems to be an Lemania builded watch which is labeled by Heuer and Aquastar.

aquastart1970

Aquastar AQUASURF
credit: aquastar.ch

And the only stopwatch with 5dots was launched: the Yachting Timer 658.915 with 62mm size. Btw this timer also come to the market labled with Lemania.

lemania_02_800

Danish Lemania Regatta Brochure
thanks a lot to Jan!

More about the Yachting Stopwatches from Heuer you find here.

1984 Heuer shows in a catalogue the whole world of Heuer 5 dots Regatta watches.

1984

1984 catalogue
credit: onthedash

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Heuer Regatta family

The Autavia-case Regattas in the three colors with color-fitting steel bracelets and the two versions of the more elegant Regattas: the 134.505 with goldplated bezel and black dial and the 134.500 with steel bezel with goldplated screws and silver dial. This are equal to the Lemania Ref. 2001, 2006 and 2007 – just without the bezel and different bracelets.

Interesting too is that there is (08-2014) one of the reference 2007 without bezel but with Heuer-Shield on the dial available on chrono24…

lemania_05_800

Lemania Regatta brochure
Thanks a lot to Jan

 

Other brands

With the same principle of the coloured indicator disc some other yachting stopwatches are invented: Memosail with Valjoux 7737 working with a disc showing numbers and the word “START”, Yema build a watch with a very nice indicator disc as subdial in the later Yachtingraf Valjoux 7733S.

And then?

Starting in the 1980´s with the digital quartz movements there were some yachting watches available by Seiko and with the upcoming renaissance of the mechanical movements the luxury brand like Audemars Piguet, Bulgari, Girard-Perregaux and of course Tag Heuer etc. brings some fancy yachtings on the market.

There are some nice companies too specialized in yachting watches only like Alpina, Atlantic, and TNG producing all the time good readable regatta watches.

You can read much more about the vintages and the “new stuff” on the site of my friend Mark Reichardt – he is collecting lots of material since years about Regatta-Timer from Vintage to the new ones

More to read?

Additional informations you find in the link-section on the right. Richard Askham shows the working of the Felsa 4000N and  the movement details of the Heuer Regatta on his blog very well.

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