Ask any serious collector: condition is everything. There’s something truly lovely about handling something a half century old whose exterior belies that time. Some collectors prize originality, some prize beauty, and some cannot do without either. Most show-stoppingly well-preserved Carreras are beginning to dissapear. The heat in their popularity and recent collectibility is seeing most pieces snapped up. However, if all you want is a Bauhaus, early Heuer design, this 73321 fits the job description.
The Valjoux 7733 utilized here powered a wide-range of two-register chronographs in the early 1970s. Many of these were sold by Heuer, with a case, to be repurposed for small brands. The similarity to some Zodiac, Dugena, Arsa, and countless others is not accidental. Although not materially different, there’s something meaningful about the original Heuer-sourced design. That meaning is deepened in the knowledge that this chronograph evolved into the now-iconic Carrera.
If condition were truly everything, this Carrera would sell above Paul Newman’s own Paul Newman. As brand and story also have a role to play in valuation, this pre-Carrera is a little less dear. Even a bit of a value, one could say. The watch is likely unserviced and unworn. It comes with its original box, tag, and caseback sticker. The seller has chosen not to service the movement as it has hardly run. This can be changed at request. The watch itself shows only the kind of aging you would expect a dial to show in a cool, dark drawer. If you want a more colourful Carrera that looks like you just pulled it out of a safe after fifty years, this is your opportunity. And that opportunity doesn’t even come at an insane premium.
Find this 73321S Pre-Carrera here from Wrist Icons for 7000 EUR.
*Edit: ‘Pre-Carrera’ is an incorrect description for this chronograph. This model was sold in 1970, concurrently with the Carrera, and likely dates after it. Thanks to @a.complicated.man on Instagram for the correction.