When John Parramint left school in the early 1960s, he started working on the assembly line at Lotus Cars straightaway. At that time, Colin Chapman's street car division only made 10 to 15 Elans and Europas per week, and when it came to validating those Smith gauges, test drivers had to invest in their own equipment.
As found out, Parramint spent £57 of his own money on a Heuer Autavia 2446C soon after starting work at Lotus. The high-end watch wasn't a luxury purchase for Parramint—he needed the timepiece's tachymeter bezel to verify the accuracy of the speedometers on completed cars. That was a lot of money for a quality inspector, but still less than what an Omega Speedmaster would have cost at the time. And since the guys at Team Lotus were wearing similar Heuers, he figured it would do just fine for measuring the cars' speed in a measured mile—in those days, speedometer tolerances of -or-minus 10 percent were deemed acceptable by the state.
Parrament left Lotus in 1969, but continued to wear the watch exclusively until the late '80s, when he picked up a Rolex Datejust. He's kept his original Heuer this entire time, and recently decided to put the vintage chronograph up for auction.
The watch is still in good overall condition, albeit with light scratches on the bezel and the bezel insert, deeper cuts on the lugs and a large crack on the plexiglass. Complete with its box and papers as well as a later, but original Heuer bracelet, this hand-wound Valjoux 72-powered tachymeter wonder is estimated to fetch on Saturday. Knowing how desirable vintage Heuers have become lately, all I can do is wish good luck to you all!