The Story Behind The Watch
The Carrera 3147 “Dato” is a rare and unique piece of the 1960’s Carrera tapestry. In modern horology, you’ll typically find largely opposed crowds when it comes to the inclusion of a date window, with many feeling that its utility is outweighed by the sense of imbalance it imparts on the watch. At the time of the 3147’s introduction, however, date windows were seldom seen on sports chronographs, which gave this model a level of appeal that other contemporary offerings couldn’t (or wouldn’t) match. Jack Heuer, ever the champion of balance and legibility, also thought hard about the date window’s location, ultimately settling on a spot just south of the applied 12 o’clock marker (which was shortened specially for this dial variation). For me, the preserved symmetry of this location and the inclusion of red font on the date wheel made this a “must have” in my small collection of vintage Heuers.
The story itself is nothing particularly remarkable, and (as with most of my acquisitions) can be chalked up to simply being in the right place at the right time. On a nondescript day, a friend of mine (@watchpatina on IG) texted to say he received an inbound solicitation from someone who wanted to sell an old Omega Seamaster, which ended up being an incredibly desirable Omega Seamaster 2913-6 SM3oo that he secured for an absurdly low price. My first thought was happiness for him. My next thought was to feel like I’d missed out, and my final thought was a desire to match him stride-for-stride (I have a…competitive…personality). I fired up Craigslist, cycled through only a few cities, and remarkably, came upon an active advertisement for this very first execution Heuer Dato.
The seller was a homicide detective in Memphis who originally hailed from Denver – my hometown as well. While talking about our respective backgrounds, the seller mentioned that the watch was given to his grandfather as a retirement gift after twenty years at a Denver-based company (prominently shown engraved on the caseback). The seller had inherited it in the 1990’s and thrown it in a drawer, as it never appealed to his taste. Thankfully for all parties, he re-discovered the watch about a month before posting the ad and took it to his local watchmaker for a service before selling it on.
For me, this is a special piece on multiple levels: (i) it was originally given to a man who lived and worked very close to where I grew up, (ii) this is the first 3147S I had even seen before, and (iii) the watch I wore in my wedding was a Carrera 3647S, which I subsequently sold and regretted. I won’t make that same mistake again, especially given the decidedly increased rarity of this silver-dialed beauty.
The Nitty Gritty
First execution Datos are extremely rare, and as noted above, this is the first 3147S first execution that I’ve ever seen personally. The condition of the watch is quite good in many respects: the lume is fully present and has aged to a pleasant patina, the caseback engraving still remains incredibly sharp, and the angular lugs are razor sharp, retaining their original iconic lines. The only two issues are the replacement crown (regrettably swapped out when it was serviced prior to the sale) and a bit of oxidization on the hour and minute hands.
The Dato is powered by the cam-actuated Landeron 148 movement, which unfortunately lacks a quick-set date. As such, I rarely use the Dato to mark the applicable date, and instead simply admire the colorful splash of red that the date window provides.