I walk into my empty apartment after a long day of work. Tired, but with a resolve to finally sit down and write about the watch that I spent over four years chasing. The watch has been in my collection for a while now, but I haven’t found the urge to write about it. Perhaps I needed more time with it. Perhaps I just got lazy.
I wore another watch during the day, but feel compelled to wear this watch as I finally write about it. I methodically wind the movement and set the time, as if this simple act will imbue a sense of purpose upon both me and the watch. I have to admit – it’s working. The watch, as you are already aware, is a Heuer Carrera reference 2447SN.
It’s not an earth-shattering opinion to say that the Heuer Carrera reference 2447SN is one of the holy grails of vintage Heuer. Within this top-tier, you have the usual suspects: the Skipperera (such as this six-figure example), the first execution “Big Eyes” 2446 Autavia (such as the example shown here, which set a world record at $200K in January 2017), and finally, the “Chronomatic” Autavia, which was the first automatic chronograph sold by Heuer and exists in only 50-100 pieces. And while there are a small number of ultra rare Carrera references that have fetched high prices at auction (such as the 2447NT, like this one that sold for $44K at Christies in December 2017), the 2447SN remains (likely) the most desirable of the 2447 variations to the average collector.
I’ve always had an inexorable attraction to the Carrera. It is a model that I’ve owned in disturbing numbers and was the watch I wore during my wedding (this 3647S, which was my first Carrera). I’ve been blessed to own both hyper rare Carreras and oddball Carreras during my collecting journey, but there was always one reference that eluded me – the 2447SN. It’s not that the panda dialed beauties were the rarest (they aren’t) or never came up for sale or auction (they do), but there was something romantic about the pursuit of an SN for me, and paying the ever-increasing toll for one never felt right. Instead, I waited patiently, with the hope that the watch would eventually present itself through a less-typical avenue.
My lucky moment finally arrived on a random Saturday morning after making my toddler a gourmet breakfast (of frozen waffles), brewed a pot of coffee, and took a seat at the kitchen table to catch up on any changes to the watch world since I’d laid my head on the pillow the night before. To my amazement, a 2447SN with bracelet had been posted on the forums that same morning for a very reasonable price. In fact, the price was nearly half of what European Watch Company (“EWC”) had been asking for a 2447SN just weeks prior. There was only one picture, but in a quick comparison, I realized that it was the very watch that EWC had recently sold. I feel compelled to note that when you see a watch that just sold for $35K (or around that figure) listed for sale at half of that price, alarm bells should be ringing. If it’s too good to be true, it generally is. Except the times when it’s not.
I reached out and expressed interest in buying the watch, but stipulated a phone call prior to wiring any money. Shortly after, I received a call from the seller. As it turned out, the seller was a Blancpain collector who had sold two vintage Fifty Fathoms to EWC, and in exchange, had received a combination of cash and the 2447SN. As he explained, he took the Carrera because he was curious to try one in-person, having heard all about Heuer but never having worn one before. After only a couple of wears, he said “I’m a dive watch guy and don’t like chronographs because I always feel like they could break at any moment.” He decided to sell the Heuer just two weeks after the trade and listed it at a price that would allow it to sell quickly. The seller had likely done quite well in the Fifty Fathoms sale and didn’t care about squeezing every last dollar out of the trade, and I just happened to be the person next to a computer when he decided to list it.
When it arrived a couple of days later, I felt an odd feeling…one of normalcy. Sure, I was very excited to open the FedEx box and put my 2447SN on the wrist, but I suppose it’s what some athletes feel after finally winning a championship or realizing a personal goal. In many ways, the pursuit of the goal was the most gratifying part of the journey, rather than the ultimate realization. This was a watch I had dedicated countless hours to tracking down, and after over 1,300 days, the hunt had reached it’s conclusion. Sure, there are other grails to track down…but this was a big one, and adding it to my collection left an odd void behind.
I know what some of you are thinking at this point: does his initial reaction mean the 2447SN isn’t worth its “grail” status? Here’s your answer: Absolutely f***ing not.
Thanks to the generosity of some terrific friends (who are also Heuer collectors), I was able to wear and experience the 2447SN a handful of times before buying one. This isn’t something that’s typically afforded when buying vintage watches online, and because of those experiences, there wasn’t much intrigue involved in the purchase. While this addition may have been less “exciting” than some of my other pursuits, it has been extremely satisfying to close the book on the Carrera that eluded me for so long.
The Nitty Gritty
The 2447SN was introduced in 1968/1969 and exists only in a “second execution” dial variation. This particular example was sold with its original Gay Freres “double grain” bracelet and original end links, which are seldom available for sale individually (and are quite expensive when they do surface). Relative to first execution dials, the non-scaled second execution dials featured larger sub-dials and shorter, striped hour markers.
The case on this example is very sharp, potentially lightly polished at some point over the decades but with the original angular lugs still crisp. The lume plots on the dial have shriveled slightly, but exhibit a pleasing shade of patina. Funnily, a friend of mine reached out after seeing my “incoming” post on Instagram to say that he had previously owned this 2447SN and had sold it to EWC to fund another watch. The vintage watch collecting circle is smaller than we realize.