• Upcoming updates
    Over the next couple of weeks we will be performing software updates on the forum. These will be completed in small steps as we upgrade individual software addons. You might occasionally see a maintenance message that will last a few minutes at most.

    If we anticipate an update will take more than a few minutes, we'll put up a notice with estimated time.

    Thank you!

1889 Heuer Swiss single roller chronograph for Thomas Russell & Son

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
I have previously described the Heuer chronographs in my collection here.

I believe this watch has the same mechanism as the first, and oldest, I described in the initial thread; it is from the same period (1888-1890) and I have reason to believe it is my oldest example.

Like the previous example it is cased in a 0.935 silver open face case and is a ¾ plate movement.

20190627 001.jpg 20190627 002.jpg 20190627 013.jpg

I expect it to have been built on a Charles Hahn et Cie ébauche, as identified by Graham for the earlier example. I have not removed the movement from the case, but I am confident that all of the chronograph mechanism is beneath the dial. I would expect the movement to be stamped with the same serial number as the case, #8197. This number is significant as I have been told by Tag Heuer, that this number, on early examples, indicates that it was the 8197th case engraved since 1860, The case of the example described in the earlier thread was #8315 and the movement was stamped with the same serial number. Hence I infer that this movement is probably earlier than the previous one. Tag Heuer have confirmed that the production in the thirty years to 1890 was over 8000 and therefore a date of 1885 to 1890 is likely.

A further common feature is the three bear Swiss hallmark which was initiated in response to the British 1887 Merchandise Marks Act and resulted from a meeting of the Swiss Federal Council meeting on 24/12/1887 (see David Boettcher). Although difficult to be absolutely certain, I believe that each hallmark carries a small 'B' indicating the Bienne Assay Office.

20190627 004.jpg 20190627 005.jpg 20190627 005-3.jpg

All four examples that I have carry the Heuer 'Blossom' trade mark that was registered 28 March, 1888.

20190627 005-2.jpg

What makes this example different is that it carries the signature of Thomas Russell & Son, Liverpool. According to my notes Thomas Russell & Son (Thomas Robert Russell & Albert Holgate Russell) traded at various addresses from ~1860 to mid 1890s, although I believe the partnership between Thomas and Alfred ended earlier ~1870. The Liverpool Museum records the name was still registered at 12 Church Street in 1893. It is suggested that they became importers of Swiss watches at the beginning of the 1880s. While subsequently they are known to have purchased Longines movements and cased them in the UK, this is an example that was purchased as a complete watch cased by Heuer. I have no evidence as to whether it was received already signed or that this was added after receipt.

20190627 007.jpg 20190627 011.jpg 20190627 010.jpg

Although it is working and shows no obvious signs of significant wear nor abuse, it is not without issues. The control of the centre second hand is functioning as it should, but the minute counter is not advancing. Slightly more worrying is the missing jewel and the associated sheared off head of one of the screws retaining the corresponding chaton.

20190627 007-2.jpg

As a result, since receipt, the watch has only been subjected to a very small wind which produced a 20 minute run.

Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Keith R...

Forum statistics

Latest member
Encyclopedia Pages
Total wiki contributions
Last edit
How To Open A Pocket Watch Case by Kent