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Heuer watch once gifted to motorcycling legend Mike Hailwood smashes auction estimate

Heuer Mike Hailwood

A Heuer fine watch that once belonged to nine-time motorcycle Grand Prix World Champion Mike Hailwood has fetched £56,312 at Bonhams’ Autumn Stafford Sale.

The watch, which had been gifted to Hailwood by Heuer’s former chairman Jack Heuer, went for more than four times its estimate at the sale held at the weekend.

Bought by a private watch collector, the rare and sought-after 18ct gold circa 1971 ‘Carrera’ 1158 model, included a personal engraving to the caseback: “To Mike Hailwood for a successful 1973 Jack Heuer”. 

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Known as the ‘Montre de Pilote’ or ‘Driver’s Watch’ due to its chronograph, or stopwatch, which proved popular with racing drivers, this Carrera featured a ‘champagne’ dial, applied gilt hour and minute markers with black accents, black subsidiary dials for 30 minute and 12-hour recording, a black chronograph hand and a calendar function

The Heuer was gifted to ‘Mike the Bike’ by Jack Heuer in 1973, after the champion racer had swapped two wheels for four and was competing in Formula 1, driving for Team Surtees, run by fellow multiple Motorcycle Grand Prix World Champion turned racing driver John Surtees.

The inscription is a likely reference to Hailwood’s bravery in helping to rescue an unconscious Clay Regazzoni from his burning Ferrari at that year’s South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, after the two had collided on the second lap of the race.

Heuer said of the 18ct gold Carrera 1158, of which only 150 pieces were ever produced, and which was his favourite model: “These watches have a deep emotional meaning for me, as we have lost drivers to racing accidents”.

Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams Global Head of Watches, said; “The Heuer Carrera holds a special place in the heart of Heuer collectors as it crosses the boundaries between watches and motorsports which was one of the pillars of the Heuer Brand at the time.

“To have had such a positive affirmation with this great result just shows the recognition of a great motorsport hero in a symbol of the period. It was an honour for us to be able to offer this watch.”

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder