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Heuer’s Calibre 11 and 12 powered chronographs from the 1970s are easily divided into three generations. The first generation was comprised of three models, with the Autavia and Carrera carried forward from the 1960s and the Monaco representing a new model that looked ahead to the style of the 1970s. Introduced in 1971, the second generation of Calibre 12 chronographs, which included the Calculator, Montreal and Silverstone, captured the wild style and exuberance of the 1970s, with oversized cases and bright colors. In 1977, Heuer would move to the third generation of Calibre 12 chronographs, with models that combined the sporty styles of the 1960s with elegance that made the chronographs dressy enough for any occasion.
Launched in 1978, the Verona collection represented Heuer’s most elegant, classically inspired watches of the 1970s. The round case had simple lines and traditional lugs, reminiscent of the very first Carreras from the early 1960s, and dial colours were limited to black and gray. The use of bi-metallic cases, made of stainless steel and gold, gave a nod to a popular style of the 1970s, but this feature was restrained and consistent with the elegance of the collection.
Being from the late 1970s, however, the Verona collection was not just about automatic chronographs, as there were also two quartz options in the range -- a three-hand analogue quartz watch (with traditional hands) and a Verona “Twin” range, which combined a digital screen and “analog” hands.
The Verona was only in the Heuer catalogue for a couple of years, from 1978 to 1981. The Calibre 12 chronograph and analog quartz watch were phased out in 1979 and replaced by the “Twin” digital series, with these models produced until around 1981.
Verona is a relatively small city in the North of Italy, about halfway between Milan and Venice. It’s a beautiful location that once held a strategic role in the Austrian empire, and of course is the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in the city of Verona today stands “Juliet’s Balcony” on Via Cappello.
During the late ’70s Heuer named two watches after well-known Italian cities-- the Cortina and the Verona. Both cities were attractive destinations for the jet-set clientele that Heuer was seeking to attract and may have been especially popular in the European markets where Heuer was trying to increase its sales. The use of the Cortina and Verona names also represents some shift away from the motor sport theme of the earlier part of the decade, where the Italian cities of Monza and Modena were chosen because of their connection to Ferrari’s Formula 1 team. Heuer chronographs were always popular among the motorsports crowd, but the jet setters travelling to the best resorts were another attractive market for the brand.
After a decade of bold, generally over-sized cases that were designed to house the larger Calibre 12 movements, the Verona represented a return to the classic style of the 1960s (as seen in the Carrera).. At 38 millimeters, the Verona was slightly larger than the 1960s Carrera (at 36 millimeters), and the Verona was a softer, rounder take on the first generation Carrera, with its more angular lugs.
The narrow, rectangular hands of the Verona are typical for the era. The hands are similar to those used on the Kentucky and Manhattan collections, also from the late 1970s.
The rectangular hour-markers are prominent and feature a small lume dot behind each index. These markers are longer than those used on other, earlier Heuer chronographs and mirror the design of the hour and minute hands.
All versions of the Verona use a brushed 38mm stainless steel case, with the depth of the case changing depending on the movement. The case that houses the Calibre 12 automatic movement is the thickest of the collection, with a plexi crystal that stands above the bezel, with the electronic movements allowing the use of thinner cases and flat mineral crystals.
The case of the Verona has a small notch where the crown sits, making it easier to pull out the crown.
There are four Verona chronographs that are powered by the Calibre 12 movement – with there being two styles of cases and two colors for the dials. Cases are either stainless steel or bi-metallic (stainless steel and gold), with dials being either black of gray
Reference 110.213G – Stainless Steel Case with Gray Dial
The silver dial shown above has a subtle vertical grain and is matched with black sub-dial and chronograph hands and dial markings. The hour and minute hands and the hour-markers also feature black edges.
Reference 110.213N – Stainless Steel Case with Black Dial
The Black dial has a glossy finish and white hands and highlights, including the hour and minute hands as well as the hour-markers.
Reference 110.215G – Bi-Metallic Case with Gray Dial
The Verona’s bi-metallic case is stainless steel, with gold-plated highlights on the bezel, crown and pushers. The hands also have a gold colour to them, with black painted edges, matching the style of the hour markers.
Reference 110.215N – Bi-Metallic Case with Black Dial
On the black-dial version of the bi-metallic Verona, the hands and markers have painted white edges, to provide optimal contrast to the dial. The hands and markers have gold inserts, to match the gold accents of the case.
In the late 1970s, Heuer offered three-hand quartz watches (with “analog” hands) in several of its collections, including the Carrera, Kentucky and Verona. The quartz range of Verona watches mirrors the Calibre 12 chronograph models of the Verona in offering four variants – stainless steel and bi-metallic cases, with either black or gray dials. Each version has a date at 3 o’clock and is marked with “Quartz” printed on the dial. The cases for the quartz watches offer slimmer profile than the Calibre 12 chronograph
Reference 361.213N – Stainless Steel Case with Black Dial
Reference 361.213G – Stainless Steel Case with Gray Dial
Reference 361.215N – Bi-Metallic Case with Black Dial
Reference 361.215G – Bi-Metallic Case with Gray Dial
In the late 1970s, Heuer offered “Twin” versions of several of its models, with these watches including traditional “analog” hands for the time-of-day and a digital display for chronograph, calendar or alarm functions.
We see two versions of the Verona “Twin” -- the 1981 catalog includes a chronograph (with “Chronograph” printed on the dial) and a second, [shown above] that offers an “Alarm”. The 1981 catalogue refers to two chronograph models:
The digital versions of the Verona use the same 38mm case and have the flat mineral glass of the quartz range, rather than the raised plexi crystal of the automatic chronographs. The other design point of note is that the hour markers are mounted on the inner bezel rather than directly onto the dial.
There are three movements offered in the Verona range:
The Verona is distinctive among the Heuer chronographs of the 1970s, with its classical, elegant design. Featuring a round case and traditional curved lugs, with dial choices in black or gray, the Calibre 12 automatic chronograph follows the lines of classic chronographs from previous decades. The bi-metallic cases were “on trend” with the style of the 1970s, while maintaining the clean look of the stainless steel models.
In this period, Heuer extended its lines of automatic chronographs to include both “analog” quartz watches (with three traditional hands and a date) and “Twin” watches (with both analog hands and a digital display), and these models rounded out the Verona collection, for customers who wanted a more modern electronic watch or chronograph.